Thursday, January 31, 2013

Non-Scale Victories #2: Pepsi Next, you are my friend!

button




I'm linking up again with KTJ and Lex to recognize my non-scale victories.  Katie does a great job of explaining them so I'm going to borrow what she wrote about them.


"Too many of us base our success just on the number we see on the scale, but there is so much more to it! All the little changes we make are helping us make a healthier lifestyle. Whether you lost weight this week or not, let's celebrate your non-scale victories! So whether you said no to that birthday cake in the office, ran a 5k, or tracked your food every day this week. . . it is time to celebrate!"


So let's get to it!


Pepsi Next, you are my friend!


If you know me in real life you know I love me some Mountain Dew.  But let's be honest 170 calories in one can is a lot of empty calories that I'm not getting any benefit from.  I have been doing a really great job of not drinking Mountain Dew during the week, and limiting myself to just one can of soda per day.  Not going to lie, I am addicted to the caffeine.  And not because I need the pick-me-up it offers most people but simply because it's been a part of my diet for so long I get a headache when I don't have it.  Seriously, I can drink Mountain Dew right before bed and have no problem falling asleep!


Cutting soda cold turkey is HARD!  So rather than trying to do that I've just made the change to a better alternative.  Pepsi Next is only 60 calories per can and has lower sodium and sugar content than Mountain Dew (or other regular sodas).  I'm not saying it is healthy because it's not, but it is better than Mountain Dew for the most part.  Thanks to my new friend I can still get my daily dose of caffeine but with a little less of everything else.


I see this as a stepping stone to cutting back on my weekly soda intake even more, like less than one a day.


Talk to me...


What is one of your non-scale victories for the week?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Random Thursday: Top 5 Worst TV Shows...


It's that time again, Random Thursday!


This week's topic is the top 5 worst TV shows.


Not going to lie I Googled "Top 5 Worst TV Shows" because I couldn't think of shows I thought were horrible off the top of my head.  So I'm just going to pick 5 shows to comment on that were found on Wikipedia as some of the worst TV shows.


The #1 worst show I think based on the short description alone is All My Babies' Momas.  Yeah, doesn't that sound horrible based on the title alone?  Thankfully the show never made it to air!  It was to be a reality show starring Shawty Lo (never heard of him) and showcasing his lifestyle as the father of 11 children fathered by 10 different women.  Makes me cringe just thinking about it.  Again, thankfully the show never made it to air so the world was spared from this!


I'm not going to say whether I think this show is good or bad because 1) I have never watched it myself and 2) I know some of you do watch the show and I'm not up for upsetting people with an opinion of something I have never watched.  The show?  Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is one of those shows I have heard a lot of people watch and find enjoyment in it.  Not much I can say about it because I personally have not watched an episode.  If it's your thing than go for it, doesn't hurt me any!  Who knows, I may watch it some day and like it.


Next up is Jersey Shore.  Not going to lie, I watched multiple seasons of this show.  Even set up my DVR to record it should I not be around to see it.  I think this show falls in the same category as Buckwild which is in its first season on MTV.  Those that live in New Jersey and are Italian may take offense to how poorly they are being portrayed.  I think know the same thing is happening with Buckwild, just ask Emily over at Living & Learning


.My Super Sweet 16 is another one of those MTV shows that I will admit I watched.  Honestly, watching this show made me roll my eyes and scoff at the "problems" of these teenagers revolving around their sweet 16 birthday party.  To me these teenagers were already spoiled and thought they were king/queen of the world and having a portion of their lives filmed making them "famous" only added fuel to the fire.


Finally, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila once again, another show (VH1 I think?) I watched for some strange reason.  Basically a trashy version of The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  I don't know what more to say about this one other than I can't believe I watched it!


Talk to me...


What do you think one of the worst TV shows is?


Next week's Random Thursday topic is embarrassing celeb crushes.  Be sure to stop by to see who mine are!

Weight Loss Wednesday - 1/30/13

Start Date: 1/3/13

Today’s Date: 1/30/13

Weight Lost/Gained This Week: -1.6

Total Weight Loss For January: 2

Overall Total Weight Loss: 4

I'm not doing my normal weight loss Wednesday format (successes, struggles, lessons learned, goals) because this morning I had quite the conversation with Lex regarding my weight loss.  It really got my wheels turning so what I want to say about my weight loss won't fit into my standard form.  Not sure when I will get this post up but hopefully soon.

But I do have to say I am happy I saw a loss this morning.  And I'm happy to have a 2 pound loss for January.  That's half of the goal I had set for the month.

Here's to making February my month, kicking ass and taking names on this weight loss journey!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Things First: Best Friends, Concerts & Celebrity Crushes

First Things FirstIs it really Monday already?  The weekend goes by much too fast as I am sure a lot of you can agree.  But with Monday comes another edition of First Things First with Halie and Hallie.  This week we will cover my first best friend, first concert, and first celebrity crush.


First best friend...


I had a rocky time in elementary school so my first best time didn't come until middle school.  Sarah was my best friend for about 4 years.  High school came and we were okay our freshman year but after that we drifted apart.  Her decisions and actions didn't sit well with me.  She was manipulative and wanted her way or no way.  But for my middle school years she was what I needed.  I'm the kind of girl who is super close with one other person and then every one else is just a friend.  I went through the rest of high school just being part of a larger group but not really holding on to one person more closely than the others until my friend Lacy.  We too have since gone our separate ways and I now have Chelsea.


First concert...


The first concert I remember was seeing Toby Keith at the Wisconsin Valley Fair one summer with my mom and brother.  I don't have a lot of memories of the concert as I was pretty young (think single digits or very low double digits).


First celebrity crush...


The first celebrity I can remember crushing on was probably Patrick Swayze after seeing him in Dirty Dancing, Tom Cruise after seeing him in Top Gun, or Kevin Bacon after seeing him in Footloose.  Or maybe all three? ;)  I saw all of these movies when I was in 5th grade probably.


Talk to me...


Tell me about one of your firsts from this week.

Weekly What? #1

If you use the weekend as a way to catch up on blogs because you're a bit too busy during the week to read them all then this post is just for you!  No, I'm not trying to sell you anything even though it may sound that way. ;)

button


The Weekly What? is a new link up that Allie (Tales of a Twenty Something), Jenn (Party of One), and Ricci (A Beautiful Mess) are hosting.  The point is to write a post that summarizes your week of blog posts so those weekend blog readers have one stop to see everything you wrote for the week.  This way they can find the post they missed, or read them all!

Sunday


I am a huge lover of country music and love to share music I love with others.  That's just what I did when I posted about Justin Moore, one of my favorite artists!  There are music videos and lyrics I love so I definitely suggest checking this out.


Monday


I blogged about my first giveaway participation.  I'm a sponsor of Rebekah of All That Glitters and I have pulled together with my fellow sponsors to give away some great items.  You still have 13 hours to enter for your chance to win (1) $15 iTunes gift card, (1) $10 iTunes gift card, (1) month of AD space from KJT Weighing In, (1) Mustache necklace, (1) month of AD space from The Mustache Diaries, and (1) pink polka-dot iPad cover from Boutique Auctions.  Sounds awesome doesn't it?  Go enter!


I was so excited about blogging about my first giveaway participation that I didn't care I already had another post for Monday.  So it was two-for-one in a way.  I also linked up for First Things First with Hali and Hallie.  Read about the first thing I do when I get home from work, my first pet, and my first cell phone.


Tuesday


I decided Tuesdays would become Book Talk Tuesday over here on Living n Learning by Amy.  I love to read and I love when I hear about good books to add to my "to-read" list.  I may not post a review every week but if I'm going to post a book review then it'll be on a Tuesday.  I started off Book Talk Tuesday with a review of American Assassin by Vince Flynn.  Be sure to check it out because I had a hard time putting this one down!


Wednesday


Wednesdays around these parts is Weight Loss Wednesday so go check out how I did for the week in terms of weight loss.  I write about my successes, struggles, lessons learned, and goals for the next week.


Thursday


Another two-for-one post day this week.  I felt a bit flustered because I didn't have these posts prepared ahead of time and didn't get time to blog until the evening so these were late posts.  But thankfully you're reading the Weekly What? so you can go back and read them if you missed them.


I participated in the Random Thursday link up for the second week in a row.  This week you get to learn what I would do if I found $100 .


I also participated in the first week of Non-Scale Victories link up with Katie and Lex.  Read about what I considered a success that had nothing to do with the number on the scale.  Katie does a great job of explaining non-scale victories and why they're important here.


Friday


Finally we made it to Friday!  Another link up post, but I'm really loving them so I don't care how many this has been this week.  This time I'm linking up with Allie and Brin for Pit & Peak.  Read about exes, headaches, and girls night out to find out which one(s) are pits and which one(s) are peaks!


You're now all caught up on what's been going on around here. :)


Hope you've had a fantastic week and are ready to start a new one!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pit & Peak Exes, Headaches & Girls Night Out

button



It's that time of the week again for Pit & Peak with Tales of a Twenty Something & Bold Butter Baby!


The rules for Pit & Peak are to write a post about the Pit (low part) and Peak (high part) of your week, grab the button (see above), and link up your post on one of the posts done by the lovely hosts.  Easy enough right?


Pit


I kind of have two pits this week.


The first one being Monday I found out my ex (2+ years ago the relationship ended) is "in a relationship".  Can someone please explain to me why this made me feel so down when I found out?!  It definitely didn't help that it's that time of the month (TMI?) for me so I'm a little extra emotional.  I have been single these last two years with two guys that I thought there would be something with but of course men were men and what started out well didn't end well for me.  Not huge heartbreak but just "ugh, why are men like that?!" feelings of disappointment.


The second pit being that I seem to get a headache every afternoon at work.  I wish I knew what was causing these headaches other than work.  I'm thinking it may be the super warm temperature of the room I work in all day every day.  I have no idea how I am going to figure out what the cause is, or what I would do if I did figure it out if it's something that I cannot change.


Peak


My peak for the week is I made plans to go out with one of my good friends either tonight or tomorrow night.  We haven't seen each other in a couple of weeks now so it will be good to see her and have some drinks.  Also, I need a good girls night out thanks to above mentioned pit of the week involving the ex.


Talk to me...


What was one of your peaks for the week?

Non-Scale Victories: Breakfast & Lunch

button



Two link ups in one day?!  Yup, I went there.


This is the first week for the Non-Scale Victories link up with KTJ and Lex (be sure to check them out!) and I am so excited for this.  Non-scale victories are just as important as the scale victories.  And honestly sometimes the non-scale victories keep us going on our journeys.


I had to think long and hard to come up with a non-scale victory because I haven't been putting as much effort into my weight loss as I would like to, or should.  I have no one to blame but myself for that of course.  But I was able to come up with something.


Every day that I have gone to work so far this week (I had Monday off) I have eaten breakfast and packed a lunch.  At my previous job it was so easy to "forget" to pack a lunch and decide to go out or order in.  I don't have the luxury of having food nearby and I don't have a lunch break so it forces my hand to pack a lunch.  But it is a good thing!  Packing my own lunch is easier on the bank account and  once I get my butt in gear can be healthier.


Talk to me...


What is one of your non-scale victories for the week?

Random Thursday: If I found $100 I would...

Another Random Thursday is upon us which means I am linking up with the lovely ladies above.Last week I did my very first vlog about what is in my purse.  Be sure to check it out if you haven't already.  No vlog this week (at least not from me) but I am going to tell you what I would do if I found $100.


Honestly, this question could be answered differently depending on the circumstances that the $100 is found.  If there is absolutely no one around I would probably keep it because turning it in to the police really wouldn't do any good.  How would they know who the money belonged too?!


If I was keeping the $100 I would probably put it towards my Amazon account so I can buy more Kindle books!  You can never have too many books in my opinion.  And can I just say that I have been loving buying a new book whenever I want one without it affecting my bank account?  (Thank you gift cards!)


But now if I found the $100 somewhere like work, a store, or on the street where someone walked by recently (or I saw the money fall) I would certainly ask around and try to return it to its rightful owner.  The trouble with that is there are some dishonest people out there who would try to take ownership of the money even if it is not theirs.


This was a tough question to answer.  You want to say you'll do the right thing but would you really?  Hard to say, at least for me.


Hope to see you all next week to find out what I think are some of the worst TV shows!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday - 1/23/13

Start Date: 1/3/13

Today’s Date: 1/23/13

Weight Lost/Gained This Week: -0.2

Total Weight Loss: 0.4 (2.6 including weight lost prior to 1/3/13)

Week Successes: During the work week (M-F) I have been doing extremely well with only drinking one 12 oz. can of Pepsi Next (60 calories and less sodium) rather than a can of Mountain Dew.  I am still getting my daily dose of caffeine but with fewer calories and sodium (one can of Mt. Dew is 170 calories).  I think this is a definite plus to my diet plan.

Week StrugglesWeekends, you are not my friend!  I drank Mountain Dew like it was going to never be around again.  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but I did have 1-3 a day.  Hangs head in shame.  Weekends are just too lax for me and I do whatever I want.  Doesn't make sense for someone who wants to lose weight right?  But all I can say is bad habits are hard to break.

Lessons Learned: Saying you want it is not enough, I have to actually behave like I want it.  Isn't there the saying actions speak louder than words?  Yeah, that is exactly what I need to remember.  Saying I want to lose weight, or that I am trying to lose weight does not speak near as loudly as drinking 64 oz. of water every day, not drinking Mountain Dew (or limiting it to one), and then keeping this all up on the weekend.  It is time to get my actions in gear so that they are going along with what I am saying.

Goals for Next Week: Workout twice for 30 minutes.  Just saying "work on being more active" is not getting me any where so I'm thinking a more concrete goal to work towards will be helpful.  And I also want to drink 48 oz. of water a day.  Lately I have been doing well with the drinking 24 oz. a day so I want to bump that up a bit.

Talk to me...


What was your struggle, success or lesson learned this week? (Weight loss related or whatever you choose.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Talk Tuesday: American Assassin

If you know me in real life you know I absolutely enjoy reading just for the fun of it.  I have a page for "Good Reads" which shows off the books I have reviewed on my blog (which aren't many so far).  I decided I'll make Tuesdays into the day I post my reviews.  It may not be every week but if I'm going to post a review that's the day of the week you can find it.  I hope those of you that enjoy to read like I do enjoy this idea.  I know I am always looking for new books to read and love finding them on blogs where the bloggers offer their opinions.

I started the Mitch Rapp series after seeing a photo on Twitter by Ms. Sara (check out her blog here).  I am already on book #7 of 13.  I'm really enjoying them!  So, here we go with the review of the first book!

American Assassin by Vince Flynn

Here's the synopsis from goodreads.com:
Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world . . . and then tragedy struck.

Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics has left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protégée, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command—men who do not exist.

What type of man is willing to kill for his country without putting on a uniform? Kennedy finds him in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Two-hundred and seventy souls perished that cold December night, and thousands of family and friends were left searching for comfort. Mitch Rapp was one of them, but he was not interested in comfort. He wanted retribution.

Six months of intense training has prepared him to bring the war to the enemy’s doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am attack. Rapp then moves onto Hamburg with his team and across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn’t know is that the enemy is aware of his existence and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.

As action-packed, fast-paced, and brutally realistic as it gets, Flynn’s latest page-turner shows readers how it all began. Behind the steely gaze of the nation’s ultimate hero is a young man primed to become an American Assassin.

As I mentioned earlier, I am really enjoying these books.  I have never read this kind of book before but it sucked me in and I did not want to put it down.  To be honest there were some scenes in the book I was thinking to myself, "Please don't last too long!" because they were a bit graphic but there aren't a lot so it was bearable.  And it helped that they didn't last long so it was easy to read through it and move on.

These books remind me of TV shows.  You read about the story from all angles and view points, the good guys and the bad guys.  And at the end it comes together and you're reading about the action from all angles.  It really keeps you interested throughout the whole book because you never get stuck with one story line too long.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone if they came to me for a recommendation if they're into this kind of stuff.  Or even to try something new because that's just what I did and now I can't stop reading these books!

Talk to me...


Do you enjoy reading like I do?


Kindle owners or those with Kindle apps would you be interested in swapping books? (It's free and the books that can be lent are returned to you within 2 weeks.)

First Giveaway!

This month I have been sponsoring the wonderful Rebekah at All That Glitters.  This morning she did a post on her sponsors and we're all pulling together to giveaway some awesome items; iTunes gift cards, ad space, a necklace, and an iPad cover!  (My first time being a part of a giveaway!)  Be sure to enter for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sooo you may notice that I don't have the awesome Rafflecopter widget where you can enter right on my blog.  Must be something with Wordpress, or I'm doing something wrong when trying to put it into my post.  But the good news is you can still click the link and enter!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First Things First: Work, Pet, Cell Phone

Another week of First Things First with Hali at Penguins, Pasta & Polka Dots and Hallie from Life: Oceanside.  This week it's all about the first thing I do when I get home from work, my first pet, and first cell phone.

First Things FirstFirst thing I do when I get home from work...First I take my shoes off in the entry way.  Then I head upstairs to put my purse, lunch bag, and computer bag down at the end of the couch.  I take my jacket off.  And then I unpack my lunch bag which means putting any dirty containers by the dishwasher and putting my ice pack into the freezer.  And of course I say hi to Bo!




[caption id="attachment_233" align="aligncenter" width="225"]BoWaiting Bo waiting for me to walk into the house[/caption]

First pet...The first pet I had was a Gordon Setter named Babe.  My parents actually got her after getting married before having me.  I don't have any pictures on my computer of Babe since pictures at that time were not digital.


First cell phone...I think I have had a cell phone since the time I was 12 years old.  It started out as a pay as you go phone and it was up to me to pay for the minutes.  That was back in the day when texting was free!  Gosh do I miss those days.




[caption id="attachment_234" align="aligncenter" width="300"]old cell phones 2 Remember these?! My 1st looked like the one with the arrow pointing to it![/caption]

Definitely plan to link up again next week!


Talk to me...


What is one of your firsts from this week?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

God Bless Outlaws Like Me

One of my absolute favorite FAVORITE country artists is Justin Moore.  I thank my lucky stars that I have seen him in concert twice now. The first being at Country Fest in 2011 (after I turned 21!) and more recently in October 2012 at the Resch Center in Green Bay (which I wrote about here).  Being one of my favorite artists I wanted to share some of his music with you like I did with Kip Moore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mmm...mmm...mmm
While I had heard Justin's music on the radio prior to seeing him at Country Fest it wasn't until I saw him perform that I fell in love.  Shortly after Country Fest Justin released his second album which I purchased on iTunes immediately and just fell even harder.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One story I want to share with you is about his song "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away".  In 2011 our family dog Duke became sick and we needed to put him to sleep so he wouldn't suffer any more.  We did this the day before his 10th birthday, a week before my 21st, and two weeks before Country Fest.  On our last drive home with Duke from the vet (after putting him to sleep) Justin's song "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" came on the radio and touched a place in my heart in ways it hadn't before.  In particular, these lyrics:

"If heaven wasn't so far away
I'd hug all three of those girls we lost from the class of '99
And I'd find my bird dog Bo and take him huntin' one more time."

Hearing Justin sing that song live got to me again at Country Fest and I had tears running down my face as I sang along.  I mentioned in my recap of the concert in Green Bay I lost it again there.  While those lyrics mean the most to me the whole song is awesome and I think everyone can find a way to relate.  Here's the video for it, which I love as well (of course).



I think I might need to move to the south because I absolutely love Justin's southern drawl.  And if I can find me a man that's like what is described in Justin's songs I would be a happy woman. ;)  I'll let the music (and videos) speak for themselves though.



Be sure to check him out the next time you want to some good country music.  His albums are titled Justin Moore and Outlaws Like Me.  I will leave you with some of my favorite lyrics (maybe of all time) from "Outlaws Like Me".

"I curse the sun, I pray for rain
I’d run a mile to walk through pain
I’ve seen the worst and I’ve seen the best that I can be
God bless outlaws like me"

Pit & Peak: Week 2

button


I'm linking up again with Tales of a Twenty Something and Bold Butter Baby for Pit & Peak.


The rules for Pit & Peak are to write a post about the Pit (low part) and Peak (high part) of your week, grab the button (see above), and link up your post on one of the posts done by the lovely hosts.  Easy enough right?


Pit


I've thought about it since last night (when I meant to do this post) and I really couldn't come up with something I thought was really a low point of my week.  I'm definitely not complaining about that though and am incredibly thankful for that.  So I chose the fact that I weighed in 0.7 of a pound heavier this week for my weigh in as my pit.  This is definitely something that is in my control though so I'm not going to stay too bummed out about it.


Peak


The peak of my week actually last all week long for me.  I was able to observe and learn how to do something new at work.  It helped the days go by faster which was awesome.  And now that I have observed for a week I will get to do the new task this week with someone supervising me.  I am more than ready to be doing more at my job so I am pretty happy about this.


Talk to me...


What was one of your peaks for the week?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Random Thursday: What's in My Purse (vlog!)

I decided to jump on this link up wagon after seeing Meaghan's vlog version this morning (while I was putting off getting out of bed).  I sometimes have a hard time coming up with things to post about because I over think what my readers (hellooooo out there) want to see from me.  I am finding I am really liking the link ups because they help take some of the guess work out of posting.  And you get to meet new bloggers and you get new viewers thanks to the link up.

So here I go, jumping on the Random Thursday link up wagon!

This week is "What's in my purse..." and I'm taking a cue from Meaghan and am going to do a vlog version of it.  This is my first (eeek!) so be kind to me please.







Hope you enjoyed my first vlog!  So sorry I took forever to do that, 15 minutes is a long time...


Be sure to watch for my next Random Thursday post next week.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday - 1/16/13

Start Date: 1/3/13

Today’s Date: 1/16/13

Weight Lost/Gained This Week: +0.7

Total Weight Loss: 0.2

Week Successes: I have been doing an excellent job of eating breakfast and tracking it (using MyFitnessPal).  Breakfast is such an important meal and I am making sure I eat it every day, something to be proud of considering I didn't always eat breakfast.  I seemed to think in high school that it was okay to not eat breakfast and just drink a Mountain Dew.  Even in college I sometimes didn't eat breakfast.  Because of my hours at work (10a-6p) I have plenty of time to make and eat breakfast every morning.  And you know what?  I am loving it!  I feel better when I eat breakfast and it leads to better decisions during the day.

Week Struggles: I am still struggling with getting back to the gym (or being active period).  I am really enjoying the time in the morning to read blogs, make sure everything is okay with my own, and just be a bum in bed.  If I want to continue doing that I can just set my alarm a little earlier or I can just do all of my blog work at night/on the weekend because let's be honest here, I LOVE sleeping in later.

Lessons Learned: Dinner and desserts do matter!  Not that I am contributing all of my weight gain this week to the dinner and dessert I had last night before bed but it certainly was part of it (along with not working out).  I am doing really well making good choices for breakfast and lunch (because I am in charge of it) but once dinner rolls around I'm not the one cooking or even deciding what to make.  I always think this whole weight loss thing would be easier if I lived on my own.  But honestly I cannot wait to be living on my own to lose this weight.  And guess what?  I am in charge of what goes into my mouth!  I can do a better job managing my portion sizes and saying no to desserts (not always but most of the time).

Goals for Next Week: I am going to carry over my goal from last week since I didn't really make any progress on it, be more active!  Whether it is walking Bo after dinner or hitting the gym in the morning before work I need to be more active.  My job is really sedentary so I have to rely on workouts to burn calories.

Talk to me...


What was your struggle, success or lesson learned this week? (Weight loss related or whatever you choose.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I want a Fit Bit One!

Yesterday morning as I was checking Twitter I saw that Halie at Penguins, Pasta & Polka Dots was hosting a giveaway with some other blogging ladies.  I had to check it out.  Once I did I just had to enter which meant putting off getting ready for work.  Don't worry I wasn't late or anything. ;)

So what did I enter to win you might be thinking.  As Halie puts it, a pedometer on steroids.  The Fit Bit One not only tracks the number of steps you have taken, distance, and calories burned but the stairs climbed.  That's just during the day!  At night it measures your sleep cycle, helps you learn how to sleep better, and wakes you in the morning.  Sounds awesome, right?!

If I win I would receive the following:
The One™ tracker

Silicone and metal clip

Wireless USB dongle

Charging cord

Sleep wrist band

Free Fitbit.com membership – includes ability to log and track activity, food, sleep, water, body mass, weight, and more.


The giveaway is open until Monday January 21, 2013 at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday January 22, 2013.  Hopefully it's me! :D  This would be a great tool to have for reaching my goal for the year of reaching my goal weight before the end of the year.

First Things First: Planes, Jobs, & CDs

I'm linking up with Halie at Penguins, Pasta & Polka Dots and Hallie from Life: Oceanside tonight for First Things First.  This week is: 1. First thing I wanted to be when I grew up, 2. First time I flew on a plane, and 3. First CD I owned.

First Things First


First thing I wanted to be when I grew up...

Growing up I remember I always said I wanted to be a teacher but I have never pursued that avenue in life.  As I got older it never was something that interested me.  I think I said I wanted to be a teacher growing up because it was an easy answer to the famous question.

First time I flew on a plane...

The first time I flew on a plane I was probably about 7 years old and I was headed to Disney World!  It was a family vacation (mom, dad, and brother plus my uncle).

First CD I owned...

The first CD, or the most memorable first CD, I remember owning is one of the NOW! CDs.  I can't remember which number it was any more but I remember getting it as a gift from an aunt along with my very own personal CD player.  Gosh, that seems so long ago now considering where we are now with personal music.

I plan to link up again next week!  The questions will be: 1. The first thing I do when I get home from work, 2. First pet, 3. First cell phone.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Liebster Award

 liebster


Rebekah nominated me for the Liebster award yesterday and I could not wait to type up this post.  Thank you so much Rebekah!  Be sure to check her out at All That Glitters.

The rules for this award are as follows:

This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers...the award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.


1. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.


2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.


3. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.


4. Go back to their page and tell them about the award.


5. No tag backs. :)


11 Random Facts about Myself


1. I only write and use a fork with my left hand.  Everything else I do right-handed.

2. My favorite color is red.

3. I love to bake.

4. I drink raw cow's milk.

5. I have one dog, Bo.

6. I love my iPhone and am not sure how I waited so long to get one.

7. My best friend lives over 700 miles away from me.

8. This is my 4th blog (and hopefully my last!).

9. I love sweatpants and hoodies, always in them when I'm at home.

10. Country music is my favorite.

11. I am still driving my first car that I go when I was 16.

11 Questions from Rebekah


1. What is your favorite nail polish color? I really like Dive Bar by Essie.  It's a dark blue/green color.

2. What is your favorite season? Tough question.  Spring or Fall I suppose because it's warm enough to not need a jacket but cool enough that I can wear a hoodie.

3. Do you like Instagram or Pinterest better? Why? I'm going to go with Instagram because it is all about the pictures.  Pinterest, while totally awesome, is about what's behind the pictures (i.e. the instructions on how to do something).

4. What was/is your favorite subject in school? English was my favorite subject when I was in school.  I am good at English and it usually meant reading books which is something I enjoy doing.

5. Lipgloss, lipstick, or neither? Lipgloss!  When I use it that is.  I'm more of a chapstick (Burt's Bees) kind of girl.

6. What are you favorite types of blogs to read? I love them all!  Beauty so I can learn new things about makeup and hair, lifestyle so I can learn and get ideas for my own, food and fitness so I can get new ideas and motivation/inspiration.

7. What is your favorite pattern? (chevron, polka dots, etc.) I don't have a favorite pattern...unless you count camouflage. ;)

8. Have you ever made anything from Pinterest? If so, what was it? Sadly I have not made anything from Pinterest but I have plenty of recipes pinned that I want to try, hopefully soon!

9. Would your rather drink coffee or tea? Neither!  I wish I liked one of them, or both, but my taste buds just are not having it.

10. What is your all time favorite movie? All time favorite?!  Such a hard question to answer.  Always love A League of Their Own.

11. Do you watch reality TV? If so, what shows? Yes, I do...The Bachelor/Bachelorette (not always but I'm watching this season), Teen Mom 2, The Real World, the Realworld challenge shows,and Bachelor Pad.  Hopefully that's it!

And the nominees are...


1. Lex at Life by Lex


2. Melanie at Happy Being Healthy


3. Sarah at Picky Runner


4. Nikki at Antos Does Life


Aww man, being new to the blogging world sucks sometimes.  I don't know that many up and coming bloggers because I am following some pretty awesome ladies that have quite a few followers.  :(  I'm just going to nominate 4 bloggers.  Hopefully this isn't against the blogging world rules!


11 Questions for the Bloggers


1. How did you come up with your blog name?


2. Cook at home or go out?


3. Summer or Winter?


4. Planner or spur of the moment?


5. Favorite recipe?


6. Favorite store and why?


7. Is your Christmas tree and/or lights still up?


8. Favorite outfit?


9. Gym or at home/outdoor workouts?


10. Favorite sport to follow?


11. Favorite smell?


Whew!  Coming up with new questions is tough.  I am looking forward to learning more about the four lovely bloggers I nominated.

And thank you again to Rebekah for nominating me!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Let's Talk Makeup!

Hello blog readers!  Hope you're all enjoying your weekend so far.

Today I want to talk makeup.  I am running low on my current makeup, which I have had for what seems like forever.  So ladies, I am looking to you for your favorite {inexpensive} makeup and any tips and tricks you have for applying said makeup.

If you follow me on Twitter your knew this was coming.  (If you're not following me I would really love it if you did :) )

MakeupTweet


Right now I am working on finishing up the following products and obviously this is what I have been currently using.

Makeup


1. CoverGirl TruBlend Minerals Loose Mineral Powder


2. CoverGirl TruBlend Whipped Foundation


3. CoverGirl Eye Shadow


4. CoverGirl Liquilineblast (black)


5. CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion (black) [the for volume one]


6. CoverGirl Eye Brightening Shadow Palette (for brown eyes)


Unfortunately, I seem to be having a problem with my eye liner.  By the end of the day it looks like my eye liner has been rubbed off from where it was applied in the morning and has been spread over my eye lid.  You can see in the picture below what I am talking about.

[caption id="attachment_177" align="aligncenter" width="227"]MakeupProblem Yes, I had to hold my eye lids down in order to take a picture of this[/caption]

I took a picture of my right eye just to show you that it isn't happening with that one.  It would appear that my left eye is a bit different from my right since I apply the eye liner the same way on both every morning.  Ladies, any ideas on how I can prevent this from happening?

Sadly, I really like the eye liner that I have been using (besides my little issue).  So, if there is anyway to prevent this from happening while using the same product I would love to hear it.

All of the other products I use I am not as attached to so I am more than okay with trying new ones.

So let me have your recommendations, tips, and tricks for {inexpensive} makeup ladies!

Pit & Peak: 1st Link Up

I'm doing my first ever link up and I am excited for it!

Allie of Tales of a Twenty Something and Brin of Bold Butter Baby have teamed up to host the Pit & Peak.  The point is that you share the high point (peak) of your week and your low point (pit) of your week.  (Can someone help me figure out how to insert the logo [picture or I don't know what you call it] for Pit & Peak into my blog post?)

Pit ~ I had to attend a visitation for a family friend that passed away unexpectedly.  I babysat two of her grandkids while I was in middle and the early years of high school.  It is never easy to lose someone but to unexpectedly lose someone is a bit tougher since there is no warning and no time to wrap your head around the fact that it will happen.  I am certainly not saying that knowing you will lose someone is any easier so I hope you don't interpret what I said in that way.

Peak ~ I seem to have fallen in love with blogging.  I have done the most posting ever in my now 4th blog this past week.  I also became sponsors for some lovely ladies so I hope to have some more exposure to gain some new readers.  Please say hi to these lovely ladies; Lex of Life by Lex, Rebekah of All That Glitters, and Allie of Tales of a Twenty Something.

Talk to me...


What is one of your peaks of the week?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Maryland Bound!

Sadly I have to wait about 7 weeks before I am truly Maryland bound but it is happening.  In March I will be visiting my BFF Chelsea in Maryland for ONE WEEK! :-D  It all became official Wednesday night when I booked my flights after getting approval earlier in the day for my week of PTO from work.

I cannot wait to visit Chelsea and see what her life is like on the East Coast.  It's a shame she's there now because her birthday is today and I would love to celebrate with her.  Although I'm sure she's okay not celebrating with me as last year she didn't enjoy the day after if you catch my drift.  ;) I will be settling for a FaceTime date with her sometime today, maybe having a glass of wine together.

In other news, I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that I also created an Instagram account for Living n Learning by Amy.  Be sure to follow me, livingnlearningbyamy.

TGIF friends!  One last day at work and then it's the weekend.  I will be going to town for a chiropractor appointment Saturday morning and probably some other errands like grocery shopping.  The Packers play the 49ers Saturday night so I will definitely be watching that but other than that I have no plans for the weekend.  I have plenty to do around the house though so that's more than okay with me.

Talk to me...


Do you have any big vacations planned for 2013 already?


Any weekends plans?


 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Things on Living n Learning

Hi folks!  I was a busy girl yesterday in terms of the blog.

I created a Twitter account just for my blog so be sure to follow Living n Learning by Amy @lnlbyamy.  On the right side of my blog you can see some of my recent tweets and to follow me all you need to do is click the "follow @LnLbyAmy" button.

I also became a sponsor of Life by Lex (be sure to check her out).  She created what you see as my ad on her blog.  Didn't she do a great job?  I was considering adding sponsorship to my own blog but after some further checking I found that the website that I would use to do this doesn't work well with wordpress.com hosted sites, which is what I have.

I also changed the background on my blog.  I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to web design so all I did was upload a picture I like.  What do you think of the new background?  It feels kind of plain to me considering the majority of my background is just plain white now.

If I could do one big picture for my entire background I would, but like I said I don't know what I"m doing so I don't even know if that's a possibility   Only thing with doing that is I would need to change the font color for the links at the top of my page and again I don't know what I'm doing.  Sensing a theme here?

Any tips you have are welcome!

Follow my blog on Bloglovin

Follow my blog on Bloglovin

Weight Loss Wednesday - 1/9/13

Start Date: 1/3/13

Today's Date: 1/9/13

Weight Loss: 0.9 (Almost a pound!)

Week Successes: My success for the week is that I cut my Mountain Dew consumption down to one 12 oz can a day rather than two (or more).  The one exception was one day last week I had one 20 fl oz bottle of Mountain Dew rather than a can.  I have also been drinking at least 3 glasses of water every day, including the weekend which is huge for me.

Week Struggles: I have been struggling with getting over the hump of getting back to the gym.  I've mentioned before how I have been paying for a gym membership that I haven't been using.  I shouldn't be giving away my money, especially when I need to be paying off my student loans and trying to save money.  I need to make my gym membership worth it.

Lessons Learned: The lesson I learned this week is that I can do whatever I put my mind to.  Drink less soda, did that.  Drink water, doing that.  So to get back to the gym all I need to do is take the time to prepare my bags and lay out (or sleep in) my gym clothes so in the morning there isn't much to do but roll out of bed and hit the road.  Something else I'm struggling with is getting up when my alarm goes off.  Need to put my mind to do that so I can't use over sleeping as an excuse for why I can't go to the gym before work.

Goals for Next Week: My goal for the upcoming week is to be more active!  While I'm not perfect when it comes to nutrition (who is?) I feel like I'm doing OK, or at least better than I have been in the past so now it's time to start being more active.  Monday I took Bo for a walk.  Last night I didn't do much because I really wanted to watch NCIS and I don't get home much before 7pm now with my new 30 minute commute from work.  But whether it's walking Bo or hitting the gym (or both?!) I will be more active this week.

To wrap this up I wanted to recommend a Kip Moore song for you all to check out.  Totally can't believe I forgot about it when I wrote up the Somethin' Bout a Truck post!  This to me is the perfect song for those times when we don't feel like being adults, maybe drinking a little too much one night and regretting it the next day. ;)

"Reckless" from the album Up All Night





Tuesday, January 8, 2013

There's Somethin' Bout a Truck

When I posted Sunday night about my "Blood, Sweat, and Beers" concert experience in Green Bay back in October I had meant to include some music of each artist.  But I got a little long-winded so I decided I should end the post before I put you all to sleep. ;)

Here are two songs from Kip Moore that I truly enjoy.













As I mentioned in my post about the concert I purchased Kip's album Up All Night and have come to enjoy more and more songs of his.  One in particular is "Faith When I Fall".  There's just something about this song that really hits me and makes me love it.  Here are some of my favorite lyrics.
Give me love when I ain't got nobody
A little hope when I ain't got none at all
Give me light up ahead on a journey
Give me strength when I'm standing
And faith when I fall

I hope you take a look at Kip Moore's music the next time you're looking for some new tunes.

Be looking for my post on Justin Moore (one of my favorites!) next.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Insurgent

Last month I posted about reading Divergent  and mentioned that I had started the second book in the trilogy, Insurgent.  Well, once I had the time to devote to reading Insurgent I once again finished it pretty quickly because I was so wrapped up in it and wanted to know what would happen next.

Here's the description of the book from Amazon.
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Sadly, the third book is not out yet.  I would recommend waiting if you can to read them once the third one is out because not being able to finish the story is just killing me.  Especially when the ending of the second book really leaves you hanging and wanting more.

Since finishing Insurgent I have read five more books and am currently a third of my way through a sixth one.  Reviews to come on soon (I think).

Sunday, January 6, 2013

28 Day Challenge Update

Last month I started a 28 Day Challenge with Lex to lose 4% of my body weight in 28 days.  This week the end of the challenge is coming up on Friday so I figured I needed to do a little update since I've been slacking on my Weight Loss Wednesday posts considering my last one was on December 19...

Well friends, it isn't looking pretty.  Rather than losing weight I have been gaining it.  Like 2.4 pounds gained to be exact.  Definitely not proud of that but can't say I'm surprised considering I haven't really been doing anything to lose the weight.

I don't think it is know it is not realistic for me to lose 4% of my weight by Friday but I do think I can see movement in the right direction on the scale if I focus on what needs to be done.  This week I'm going to focus on drinking more water and getting back to the gym.

My usual weigh in day is Wednesday so I will be weighing in then and then I will weigh in again on Friday morning just to get an official ending weight for my 28 Day Challenge.

Talk to me...


Have you ever challenged yourself and found you weren't going to succeed?


How did you handle that?

Give me some Moore, Moore, Church!

I have been meaning to write this posts for months now and I am finally taking the time to do it.  I had hundreds of pictures to go through to find clear ones to use in this post.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Chelsea, Tammy & I
 In October I traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin with Chelsea, Dan, and Tammy to see Kip Moore, Justin Moore, and Eric Church.  I mentioned it in my look back on my friendship with Chelsea as this trip was one week before Chelsea moved to Maryland with Dan.

Chelsea and I were lucky enough to have seen Eric Church perform before in January of 2012 so we were looking forward to seeing what the show would be like this time around.  Something I learned (thanks to needing to write a paper about my concert experience) prior to this concert was why there are no big screens showing the performers for those of us sitting in the back.  It's a pet peeve of Mr. Church's when people come to a show but watch the screen the whole time instead of the action on stage.

While I can definitely understand his point of view and he does do a lot of work with his show to keep you focused on the stage (like I wouldn't be anyways) it is a bit frustrating to not be able to really see when you're in the back (think second to last row...).  I was even more frustrated in January when you could clearly see the big screens but I had no idea why they weren't being used.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Me, Dan & Chelsea
 But moving on...I have also seen Justin Moore perform before as well but Kip Moore was going to be a first.

I purchased a Justin Moore t-shirt and can coozie and an Eric Church t-shirt before the show.  I walked back to the truck to drop off my purchases with Tammy who also bought a Justin Moore t-shirt and can coozie.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize I didn't have my camera with me until after we found our seats.  As you can see from the pictures though I decided on making the trip back to the truck to get it.  At least I got my exercise in that night!

As if forgetting the camera wasn't bad enough I didn't realize that I hadn't cleared my memory cards out from my vacation to Chicagoland Speedway in September.  I managed to delete one whole card picture. by. picture. before Kip Moore took the stage.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kip Moore
Kip Moore sings the songs "Somethin' 'Bout   a Truck" and more recently released to radio "Beer Money".  Sadly, I have poor picture-taking skills or don't know the correct setting to use for concerts so a lot of my pictures didn't come out clear with the low lighting. :(

I purchased Kip Moore's album Up All Night prior to the concert in an effort to learn some more of his songs besides the two I had heard on the radio.  I have definitely fallen in love with more of his music since the concert as I have listened to the album more and more.

Being the first of two opening acts for Eric Church Kip (yes, we're on a first name basis ;) ) played for about 30 minutes.

Next up was Justin Moore who I was extremely excited to see as he is one of my top 5 favorite artists.  Tammy was also really excited to see Justin Moore, especially since this was her first time seeing him (actually all three) in concert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Boots!
Between Kip and Justin music was being played over the speakers.  One of the songs we heard was Randy Houser's "Boots On".  And going out with our boots on we were!  I wore the boots I got for Chelsea's wedding while Chelsea and Tammy were wearing Uggs.

When Justin took the stage Tammy and I could barely contain ourselves.  We were just that excited!

We sang along to every song and loved all 45 minutes he was on stage.

One song in particular of Justin's that always gets to me is "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away".  I rarely listen to it on my iPod as it always makes me a little teary eyed.  That night was no different.  As soon as I knew it was coming my emotions got the best of me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Justin had the crowd light up their phones or lighters for Heaven
Chelsea put her arm around me and I put mine around her for that entire song and we gently swayed back and forth as I had tears rolling down my face as I remembered my dear puppers Duke.

I didn't let my emotions hold me down from enjoying the rest of the show though.

Finally the main event we had all been waiting for...Eric Church!  As I mentioned earlier Eric doesn't have big screens during his shows but keeps you interested in other ways.  Eric has big back drops that change throughout the show.  Rather than try to explain them to you I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

These were most of the backdrops that appeared throughout Eric's 95 minutes on stage.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once Eric was done we headed home which was only a 90 minute drive for us.  It took me about an hour to come down from that high of excitement following a concert.  When I made it home I'm pretty sure I crashed straight into bed.

Now, kudos to you if you made it through this quite lengthy recap of my Blood, Sweat, and Beers tour concert experience.  Sometimes I get wrapped up in telling the story and forget that reading it takes a lot longer than listening to someone verbally tell it.
Talk to me...

Are you a country music fan?

Who are you favorites?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 Goals

Happy New Year!!

 

Time seems to have flown by lately.  It feels like just yesterday it was December 19th and now we're already 5 days into January.  But none the less I am setting some goals for the year.  Not resolutions exactly but just some things I would like to achieve during the next 12 months.

 

1. Pay off student loans by December 31, 2013 - During my job interview I was asked where I saw myself in a year.  One of my answers was that I hoped to have most of my student loans paid off.  I was told that is a pretty lofty goal.  But after sitting down with my mom (who has a better head for math than I do) I figured out that not only is paying off most of my student loans attainable but I can actually pay off my student loans by the end of the year!

 

2. Lose 50 pounds to reach my goal weight by December 18, 2013 - I have been "trying to lose weight" for years now and am sadly farther from my goal than when I started.  I have decided to make my one of my goals for the year to reach my goal weight because enough is enough!  I need to stop making excuses and start doing what needs to be done.  I was further sparked to make this one of my goals for 2013 after reading about Lex's 2013 - A Year About Me post.  Essentially she has challenged herself to make 2013 the year about herself and her health, something I need to do as well.  She has goals for each month set and rewards, plus an additional reward if she exceeds her goals.  I have not decided if I will be doing that myself but will definitely keep you posted if I choose to do so.

 

3. Get organized! -  This final goal of mine for 2013 took a while to come to me since I feel I am pretty horrible at setting goals for myself (probably thanks to never following through on what needs to be done to reach those goals).  I am now a college graduate with nothing to worry my pretty little mind about once I am done with work each day so I have no excuse for the state of my room or bathroom that I mainly use.  I need to get organized!  Not only in the home but also in finances as I would like to sometime in the future move out and purchase a new car.  I've already started that process with setting up a budget and paying off my loans (see #1) by the end of the year.

 

Three goals are enough for me, any more and I am afraid I will be overwhelmed and things just won't happen.  I own a copy of The Spark which I seemed to have misplaced (see, I need to get organized) but once I locate it I plan to re-read the section about goals and setting them because there was some really useful stuff in there about how to break down long-term goals into medium and short-term ones that help you achieve the long-term ones (I NEED this!).

 

Another (unofficial) goal of mine is to be a better blogger.  It never ceases to amaze me how into blogging I am but how horrible I am at it.  I want to post a least once a week.  That should not be hard.  Like I said, I have nothing to worry about outside of work now that school is done so I should have no reason to not make a once a week blog post happen.

 

Talk to me...

What are your goals for 2013?