Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Disappointing upgrades

Have you ever become convinced that you absolutely MUST have something?  Like it is all you can think about and you just have to buy it.  But then you are a little disappointed with it?

Well that happened to me this month.

One problem I had been having was on days that I brought in clothes to go to the gym at lunch I was carrying 4 bags into the office.  My laptop bag, my purse, my lunch bag, and my gym bag.  And when you have a big coat on and have to walk about a mile to the building carrying 4 bags on your shoulder isn't easy.

At first I wanted to get a messenger bag for my laptop so I could put it across my body and not have it constantly falling off my shoulder.  But I was also annoyed at how small my gym bag was.  I could barely fit everything in it and wanted something with a little more room.  So when Katie blogged about how awesome her new gym bag was I wanted it.  I thought I could maybe even fit my lunch bag and my computer in it to consolidate everything to 2 bags!  And I had always wanted something from lululemon!  And it was on sale for $30 off!  But it was still $70 which is expensive fore a gym bag if you ask me.  I kept adding it to my shopping cart online and then talking myself out of it.  But then it got to the point that I just had to have it so I bought.

I was so excited about it and tracked it during it's week long journey to my house.  I was so excited to see the lululemon package on my doorstep!  But when I opened it I was a little disappointed.  It wasn't as big as I thought it would be.  My laptop couldn't fit in it.  In fact it was only a little bigger than my current gym bag and maybe not even as cute?

(My old bag is the blue one on the left and the new one is the purple on on the right)
I can fit my lunch bag in it and I do love that it has a longer strap and a separate compartment for my sweaty clothes.  But honestly I'd rather have my $70 back.  But it was on final sale so it is un-returnable.  Lesson learned.

Then this happened to my love- my old iPhone 3Gs:
I admit I had been jealous of Siri.  And Facetime.  I really wanted those things.  But I was going to wait for the next iPhone release.  Unfortunately my screen was shattered now so it made sense to upgrade.  I got the new white iPhone 4s.  And you know what?  It isn't that much better than my old one.  Siri is kind of mean and not as useful as I thought she'd be and I still have yet to use Facetime.  Also on my new phone it doesn't tell my what % battery power I have left.  It just shows an icon.  I don't like that.  I'd rather have my $200 back.

Maybe it is because January has completely blown my budget between HOA dues, car problems, taxes due, 2012 trip planning and everything else.  Oh well, it's just money and I'll have to find a way to make it work.  But now I know, sometimes it's better to just hold on to your cash than throw it away on something you think you just HAVE to have.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Blog Swap

Sometimes I am hesitant to sign up for blog swaps.  But when I saw this Book Blog Swap was being hosted by someone I had been following for a while I thought why not?

Thanks Heather and Katie!  I can only imagine how hard it is to coordinate a swap like this!

I got paired up with Heather from Life with Heather.  She was a fabulous partner and so easy to communicate with!  Our Goodreads accounts came in handy as we used those to figure out what to send each other.

Are you on Goodreads?  I just got on there so I need some friends to see what you all are reading!  My "to-read" list is already overflowing, but how will I know about the next best thing without y'all??

Heather sent me a book that has been on my "to-read" list for a while!  I love Chelsea and I can't wait to read this!

Thanks for being such an awesome book swap partner Heather!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I love my bodybugg

I know some of you had wanted me to do a review of my bodybugg.  This isn't a full review, but I will tell you I love it.  I don't even notice I am wearing it anymore and I have learned SO much from it!

I do not use their "program" online.  I have the one that syncs to my iphone and I find it easier just to keep track of my calories in with my "lose it" app and only use the bodybugg to track my calories burned.  I had already set up a spreadsheet that I track all of my workouts in.  (I am obsessed with spreadsheets.  I even made one when I tried online dating to keep track of all the different guys I was talking to.)  So I just added a tab to that spreadsheet where I put in my calories burned (from the bodybugg), my calories consumed (from the Lose it app), and then have formulas to tell me my deficit and keeps a running total and also how much weight I should have lost if 3500 calories really does equal 1 lb and all my tracking is correct.  Here is what it looks like:

As you can see I came out strong on Jan. 1 and burned over 3,000 calories!  That has still been my best day yet.  I ran 6 miles and did tons of housework that day.  Since then I have ran 6 miles again but didn't combine it with all the housework and only burned about 2600 calories.  I have yet to break the 3,000 calorie mark again.  Here is what the online tool said about that best day:

As you can see the online tool doesn't match exactly what my iphone had told me which happens a lot.  I try to stick with what the iphone says.  I think it doesn't include the estimate for the time I am not wearing it (when showering). But I'd rather underestimate than overestimate.

You can also see I had stayed up late that Sat. night and burned some calories around the 1-2 am time frame which contributed to that 3,000+ calorie day.

I've also learned that just adding little activities to your day adds up a lot.  On the days I work from home I burn way less calories than days I go in to the office.

Work from home day: (total 2343)
Office day: (total 2518)
You can see the big spikes are when I worked out, but look at the spikes I had coming in to the office at 9, lunch at noon, and leaving the office at 7 on the office day.  I can't believe how much those little bursts of activity add up!  I also worked out harder on the work from home day so my activity spikes aren't as noticeable on that graph, but still.  I only ran 3.5 miles on the office day vs. 4 miles on the work from home day and I still ended up burning almost 200 more calories on that office day!

Also on days I don't work out at all I am LUCKY to even get to 2,000 calories burned.  All this time I thought 2,000 calories was my baseline, but that is not the case if you do nothing all day!

So far I have only lost 3 lbs. but that is exactly on track with what the numbers say I should have lost.  I had a bad week this week and actually had my first day where I had a calories surplus!  But at least now I am aware of how on track or off track I am! 

Another thing it tracks is steps per day.  You know how they say you should get 10,000 steps per day?  I never get that except on the days I do my long runs.  Never.  Not even close.

All this new information has made me take the stairs more, park further away, do more housework, and spend less time sitting.  Even the difference in calories burned sitting vs. standing is noticeable.

I'll keep you updated and probably do more posts about the bodybugg, but I wanted to let you guys know what I had learned so far from it!  I love numbers and analyzing things looking for patterns so this is perfect for me!!

Oh and if you are interested in getting a bodybugg, they do have a refer a friend program where you can get a discount if I refer you (and they give me a credit so maybe I can buy some extra armbands?).  Just go HERE and you are supposed to get an extra $20 off your bodybugg!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesday- WW Crockpot Chicken Chili

That is the pin that inspired me to make this Chicken Taco Chili and I am soooo glad it did!  Seriously this is the best thing I have ever made in the crock pot.  It made 10 servings and froze some to save for later in the month, but I ended up eating them all that same week I made it.  And almost made it again the next week!  Best part?  1 serving is only like 200 calories!

Here is my version of the recipe:

Crock-pot Chicken Taco Chili

1 onion, chopped
1 16-oz can black beans
1 16-oz can kidney beans
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
10 oz package frozen corn kernels
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes w/chilies
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
24 0z. (3) boneless skinless chicken breasts
Combine beans, onion, chili peppers, corn, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top and cover. Cook on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. 

I added some low-fat sour cream and cheese to the top and OMG it was so good!

Here is how my version turned out pre-toppings:

It's seriously so good and so easy to make y'all!  You must try it!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Working Girls Monday

Ever wonder what your favorite bloggers do for their day jobs?  Nikki has started a great series that highlights a different blogger's career every Monday and today I am guest posting over on her blog about my job- the one I have that allowed me to mark off #3 on my 30 Before 30 List- get a job I love!

Thank you for letting me share a little bit of my working life with your readers Nikki!

Working Girls 
P.S. Wondering how I'm celebrating MLK day today?  I'm in the office. Working.  So try not to rub it in too much if you got the day off today :) 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Snippets- Jesus is Jonah

Hope you all had an amazing weekend!  This week at church we were in Jonah chapter 2.  At the very end of chapter 1 Jonah get swallowed by the big fish.  He spends 3 days in there before he asks God for help!  That seemed like a long time to me.  But thinking about it, I know I do the same thing in situations.  I'll give up hope or think I can fix it on my own sometimes or even be mad at God for the crappy situation I'm in and focus on other things instead of turning to Him.

Anyway, we mainly focused on Jonah's prayer to God during the sermon.  Here are some of the highlights from my notes:

- True repentance is like waking up from a dream. Your pride has been stripped away.  You see everything more clearly.

- If God strips away one of your idols and gives you a glimpse of how futile life is without Him before you die, that is His mercy!

- An idol is something you love, crave, or trust more than God.  (romance, money, career, kids, anything!)

- Jonah felt abandoned by God.  Was he? NO!

- God is after obedience that grows from desire.

- Jesus + Nothing= Everything...on the flip side...Everything - Jesus= Nothing

- Irreligious people don't think they need salvation from anything.

- Religious people know they need salvation but that it comes from themselves (something they are/do)

- True Christians know we need salvation and that it comes from God not from ourselves

- The Gospel is the only thing that gives you both humility and confidence at the same time.

- Jesus is Jonah because he went through what Jonah went through (in a way but way worse) for us.  He endured God's wake up call for us.

I will admit I shed a tear or two during this sermon at one point.

Back story- On Friday I had a little mental breakdown about yet again being the 3rd (or 13th or 21st) wheel on all the trips with my friends this year.  There are NO other single girls going on the two trips we've planned so I'm freaking out about who will I share a room with?  who will I ride with?  who will I split food with?  who will I ski with?  I honestly don't mind being single that much, but when it comes to trips and New Year's Eve (because of all the kissing.  I swear it's worse than Valentine's day.) it drives me to tears.  Well Friday I shed a lot of tears over it.

So at one point in the sermon, the pastor is trying to describe the relationship between God and His people.  There was some word that when translated meant something like "from the womb" and he apologized and said people without kids might not get it, but the thing it is most close to is the way a mother or father loves their child.  He said when he hears his kids crying...then he paused and said "well 9 times out of 10 they are crying over something that has nothing to do with reality...but those times they are really hurting or in pain, I would do ANYTHING...ANYTHING to make it go away.  And that is how God feels about you."

So automatically I am thinking about my breakdown on Friday and why won't God just let me find my husband so I won't have to cry about this crap anymore.  Why can't He just take away this pain??

But the more that I've thought about it over the weekend I'm starting to think that maybe this cry on Friday falls into one of those 9 times out of 10 cries that has nothing to do with reality.  I am hurting emotionally but over things that may not even matter and will probably work themselves out.  It had nothing to do with reality.  Only what I was worried about in my head. Yes, if I had a husband I would have a built-in partner for everything and would never have to worry about those things again.  But maybe I really shouldn't be worried about them in the first place.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesday- Blessing Bags

Last year I read the book Same Kind of Different as Me. It totally changed my view on homelessness.

A few months ago, I saw this pin on Pinterest:

They called them "Blessing bags" to give to homeless people instead of feeling guilty and just avoiding eye contact or giving them money which is apparently the last thing you should do.

I see homeless people a lot more here in the Triangle than I have any other place I have lived.  In downtown Raleigh I have had a man follow me until I gave him some money.  I don't really like giving money because I am afraid they are either conning me and not really homeless or they will use the money on drugs or alcohol.  So I decided to make these "Blessing Bags".  Here is how mine turned out:

I included shampoo, body wash, wash cloths, lotion, a comb, tissues, deodorant, gloves, crackers, candy, toothbrush, toothpaste, chapstick, advil, antibacterial wipes, band aids, a dollar in change and an encouragement card and a list of area resources for the homeless with addresses and phone numbers.

I ended up making four total and last week I gave the first one to an older man with a cane on a popular mall exit in Durham.  I said "I hope you can use this stuff...I just tried to think of things you might need."  He seemed a little weirded out at first by the bag, but then said "Oh yes mam. Thank you."

After making the bags, researching homeless resources in the area (there are a ton!) and thinking about it some more, I think after I pass out all these bags I might just do encouragement cards with a list of homeless resources and maybe a McDonald's gift card.  I mean there are a ton of places in the area where they could get these things and more.  Maybe they just don't know about them or don't want to try to get help there (because I'm sure they had drug and alcohol policies)?

One of the best local organizations I found was the Durham Rescue Mission.  They had a great page that gave tips on how to help the homeless:

1. Never give cash to a homeless person

Well intended gifts are often used to purchase drugs or alcohol.  If a person is hungry, buy them a sandwich or beverage.

2. Talk with the homeless person with respect

Take time to speak in a friendly, respectful manner.

3. Realize the homeless and their problems are not all the same

Remember those who are homeless may be homeless for many reasons, such as addictions, domestic abuse, poverty, lack of job skills...the list goes on.

4. Share God's love whenever you can

The Lord would have us to share His love and salvation with everyone we come in contact with each day.  Those who are homeless often feel isolated and lonely.  They need to hear that their shattered lives can be mended through and in Christ.

5. Pray for the homeless and [organization's that help the homeless]

God can use your prayers to bring many who are broken in heart and spirit to Himself.  As you pray for those who are homeless pray for [local organizations that help the homeless].  [Their] staff is on the frontlines each day reaching out to share the love of God with men, women, and children in need.

6. Take precautions for your own safety

Always be aware of your surroundings when reaching out to the homeless.  Stay in areas where other people can see you.  Don't take unnecessary chances.  Some men and women living on the streets are criminals and/or fugitives from the law.  Use good judgment.

7. Encourage the homeless to get help

The homeless [can] find a hot meal, safe-shelter, clean clothing, vocational training, biblical counsel, job placement, as well as free dental, eye, and health care [through organizations that help the homeless].  Most importantly, they will find a loving, caring staff ready and willing to help them back to a productive life.

8. Support [local organizations that help the homeless]

Thoughts??  How do you interact with the homeless?

Monday, January 9, 2012

You know I love a challenge!

One of the blogs I have been reading for-evah (seriously since I started blogging back in '08) Heidi over at Life in Pink blogged today about this 10 lb. challenge she signed up for.  Well, sign me up too!  I had an awesome week with my bodybugg last week and always need more motivation to stay on track!  The goal is to lose 10 lbs. in 12 weeks.  And you can win prizes- Yippee!

If you want to sign up too, just go over HERE

Bring it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Snippets- I am Jonah

We started a new sermon series at church this week on the book of Jonah.  It's another one of those stories you kind of sort of know from Sunday School maybe.  Or Pinocchio.  Or is that just me?

Anyway the sermon this week was FANTASTIC.  They don't have it posted yet, but when they do post it, you can find it here and I highly recommend it.

I took two pages of notes, but here are just a few snippets:
  • Rebellion is simply saying NO to God. What area of your life are you saying NO to God in?
  • There will always be a ship to Tarshish.  Or in other words, if you are ever even thinking about disobeying or saying no to God, the devil will always make it easy for you because that is exactly what he wants.  
  • What if your enemy is laying a trap for you?
  • That "peace in your heart" you had over a situation you know is wrong, but you are doing it anyway could be Satan numbing your conscience.
  • It starts with small acts of disobedience and goes down to total devastation (this is so true!)
  • God sends storms to break His people from self-reliance.
  • Jonah is willing to obey God UNTIL it costs him the things he loves and/or fears most.
  • Real obedience is when you would give up EVERYTHING to maintain your relationship with HIM.
  • He even referenced Daniel when Shadrac, Mishac, and Obedigo (I probably massacred their names) went in to the fiery furnace.  His question to us was- Would you rather be in the flames with God or out of the flames without God????
  • The storm is not God's retribution, it's God's restoration.  In other words He didn't send the storm to pay him back, he sent the storm to bring him back.

I am telling you.  You should go listen to is if you get a chance this week.  Just look for the one about Jonah.  It should pop up tomorrow sometime.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend and were able to spend time with the Lord.  Between this awesome sermon and the Daniel study and a few little things going on, I felt God talking to me all over the place.

If you are looking for a church in the Triangle area, I highly recommend coming to visit during this series.  If last night was any indication of what God is about the teach me...it is going to be awesome.

And if you want to follow along even more, there are lots of study guide resources HERE.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pinterest Inspired Wednesdays- PB&J cookies & Closet clean out

A guy at my work brought in some cookies his wife had made that had a dollop of jelly in the middle right before Christmas.  They were so good!  I forgot to ask him what kind of cookies they were so I searched on Pinterest for something that looked similar.

These looked similar and sounded easy enough to make, so I made a batch the week after Christmas right before I started my strict "no cheat" diet. They were no were near as good as the ones that guy brought in, but they were pretty tasty.

Here is what they look like on Pinterest:

They were super easy to make!

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon strawberry jelly
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1½ tablespoons whole milk

First you stir together the flour and baking powder in a small dish.

Then you blend together 3/4 cup of the peanut butter and wait...oh my.  I just read the ingredients again.  See where it says 1/4 cup butter.  Umm yeah...I put a whole stick in there because I freaked out that the butter was supposed to be softened and put it in the microwave to hurry it along.  It ended up melting a little and made a mess, so I threw the whole thing in there!  Oh my.  That is double the butter! HA!  No wonder I had a little trouble.

Anyway, Blend together the peanut butter and butter on medium speed and then add the sugar and brown sugar to the mix. I used Splenda (but I'm sure that didn't make a difference thanks to the whole stick of butter I used!  Beat until smooth.  About 5 minutes.

Finally stir in the flour/baking powder mixture until just combined.

Then use a tablespoon to drop the dough onto a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Then use your thumb to make a little indent in each cookie and put about 1/2 teaspoon of jelly into it.

Bake for 12 minutes.

While they are baking you are supposed to mix the rest of the peanut butter and the confectioner's sugar into a frosting.  I was too lazy to do that part.

Here is what mine looked like:

These were the good ones.  Half of mine had burnt bottoms (I think one of my cookie sheets sucks compared to the other one) and the other half were falling apart as I transferred them to the cooling racks.  The good ones weren't half bad though.  It must have been all that butter!

The original recipe can be found here.

I also decided to do this:

Source: rayandjen.com via ncsuz on Pinterest

The pin says "On Jan. 1st, turn all your hangers backwards. As you wear clothes, turn the hanger around. Anything that is still backwards on June 1, donate.---definitely need to do this"

Here is my closet right now:

What have you made or done that was Pinterest inspired lately?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Goals

Here are my goals for 2012:

1. Finish my 30 Before 30 list before my birthday in August. (2 years late but hey at least I will finish)  In order to complete it here's what is left:
  • Get in the best shape of my life (working on it)
  • kayak
  • catch a fish
  • kiss in the rain
  • read the Bible all the way through (almost finished with the OT)
(I've already completed upgrade one room in my house. I need to write a post about it)

2. Run a half marathon (hopefully in April)

3. Pay off my car early.  (I am supposed to be done with payments April 2013, but I would like to pay it off early if possible!)

I also liked the idea from last year of something to start, something to stop, and something to keep.

I would like to start eating healthy on a more consistent basis.  No more cheat days that turn into cheat weeks that turn into taking the whole month off.

I would like to stop complaining so much.  I am sick of complaining.  Complaining is so unattractive.

I would like to keep running.  I took almost 3 weeks off during December from my 10K training plan and I was so afraid I was going to have to start all over.  But my body stayed in shape better than I thought it would.  I started off doing 2 miles walking/running at the lake last week.  Then I picked it back up yesterday and ran 5 miles and walked 1 for a total of 6 miles!  It wasn't super easy, but I did it.  And according to my bodybugg I burned over 3,000 calories yesterday!  I must keep running in my life to get those kind of numbers!

What are your goals for 2012?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Snippets- Less worry and more peace

I made it to church this morning.  And so did a lot of other people...it was super crowded.  Maybe it is some people's New Year's resolution to go to church more and they drug their hungover selves to church because who wants to break their resolution on day 1!?

Anyway, this morning's sermon was on Daniel.  Which is ironically what we are studying in my Bible study right now.  Today they focused on the most famous section in Daniel- Daniel and the lion's den.

(Side note- I may have heard Daniel and the lion's den story when I was little, but I certainly didn't remember it!  When we picked this study on Daniel I was like "Who's Daniel"?)

If you don't know the story either, basically Daniel is favored by the king and all the other king's men get kind of jealous of him.  They know that he has a strong faith in God so they convince the king to pass a temporary law that everyone must stop worshiping their God and must worship the king.  And if they don't they will be thrown into the lion's den where they will certainly be killed by the lions.

The king is like "Heck yeah, I'm the king, so they should worship me." (Which the preacher pointed out is like most of us.  Think about it, if you worked your way up to president of your company wouldn't you want that kind of praise and respect?)  So he signs it into law.

Well, of course Daniel refuses to stop worshiping God and so the king is forced to throw him in the lion's den.  In the morning he rushes down and cries "Daniel was your God able to save you?" and sure enough Daniel didn't have a scratch on him.

The thing that stood out for me in this sermon was "Daniel had peace about the situation because he had faith." 

I have never even come close to being torn to shreds by lions, and I don't have that kind of peace.  Heck I think I even make up things in my head that aren't even real to be worried about.  But Daniel knew no matter what God was in control and he rested in that.  I want to do more of that this year.  I want to replace fear with peace. 

Do you know how many times it says in the Bible to not worry?  to not be afraid?  In a sermon a few months ago our pastor's wife pointed out that every time you worry you are sinning because the Bible tells you not to (multiple times).  I had never thought of it like that.  Now every time I catch myself worrying I remind myself of that and remind myself that God is in control and works for the good of all those who love Him.  I need to trust Him and rest in that more.

So here's to less worry and more peace in 2012!