5 Ways to Defunk Your Brain 

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Hello lovelies!

So some drama recently happened and it sent me into a funk. Which sucks because Jonathan is home now and it kind of stole the joy from that.

This doesn’t happen often, but sometimes it just hits me wrong and I cannot find motivation to do much. Concentration is hard, I just worry and over analyze things that were said. I’m an empathetic peace maker personality, so my brain just goes on and on trying to solve issues sometimes and it’s hard for me to let go and trust that God will work in hearts and solve the issues that grow between people. 

Most things people say negatively about me I can shake off and it doesn’t bother me. But when it’s someone I really care about it can be difficult to just shake it off. 

I was in no mood to write a blog post. My original ideas for writing just didn’t fit well and I couldn’t focus enough to write them. So I figured why not use this opportunity to help get myself (and hopefully you if you need it) out of this funk!

So here it is:

1. Pandora

It doesn’t have to be Pandora, but play your favorite music. What works best for me is putting on classical music. My favorite is my Ludovico Einaudi station on Pandora. Seriously, it’s amazing. I put it on and start doodling, it helps a lot. It’s also good for getting your creativity and imagination going. I listen to this while writing as well. The best thing about classical music is there aren’t lyrics (don’t get me wrong, I love singing but some moods you just don’t need lyrics because then you’re endlessly skipping songs because they may be too happy or too sad or whatever. So classical is usually a good option) 

2. Reading

If you are a reader sometimes grabbing your favorite book and disappearing into your imagination is a good solution to the mind funk. I prefer fiction in this case, but if you enjoy reading self help books or other non fiction, go right ahead! It’s all about finding what will work for you specifically. 

3. Go for a walk

Sometimes one of the best ways to get out of a funk is to get outside in the fresh air. You can even listen to your music while doing this one and that helps even more. (also, if you have an adorable child, cuddling with them helps as well) 

4. Draw

If you are artistic at all, or even if you’re not, you could always try doodling, painting, coloring or even some kind of small craft or puzzle. I’ve found doodling and coloring to be pretty therapeutic. Especially while, you guessed it, listening to classical music. (Apparently I really enjoy that) I even recently started a bullet journal and that is pretty therapeutic as well.

5. Baking/cooking

This may not be the healthiest option, depending on what you’re baking or cooking, but I find it therapeutic sometimes to just pull  out a recipe for something and start working. 

Well, I hope these help you like they’ve been helping me. And yes, that does say I had chips, pizza and ice cream. I’m not perfect haha life happens. The important thing is this funk won’t last all week and I will back to eating healthy tomorrow. 

Adventures in the kitchen: Creamy Pumpkin Soup recipe

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Hello lovelies!

So, around this time of year I start craving pumpkin and cinnamon EVERYTHING as well as soups. I know it’s still slightly early for autumn recipes, but when I was at the store and I came across a tin of organic pumpkin I decided a creamy pumpkin soup sounded wonderful.

My first ever job was working at a bookstore and cafe, it was actually one of the funnest jobs I’ve ever had, but at this cafe we served a tomato bisque soup that was AMAZING so, I’ve tried to recreate the creamy taste a few times over the last few years and hadn’t figured it out til recently, but now that I have I use it as a base for all my soups (for the most part) it is super simple and delicious!

So I will run over how to do the base so you can do this with whatever soup you want really, just add in the ingredients you like.

Creamy Soup Base:

1 stick of butter (half would work too if you’re watching your fat intake. I’m not however, so bring it!)

1/2 – 1 package of cream cheese (the 80z ones. It depends on how creamy you want it, with more cream cheese it’ll be thicker)

Water, almond milk or regular milk or even chicken broth if you are going for a more savory type soup, around a half cup or even a whole cup, it really depends on how thick you want your soup. Less liquid will make it thicker, more liquid will make it thinner.

Mushrooms, onion, garlic, brussel sprouts, whatever you’d like to add.

Tomatoes, pumpkin or any other kind of flavor you want.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on low to medium heat, after the butter is mostly melted add in your mushrooms and any other veggies you want so you can saute them a bit and bring out the flavors more. If you were making a tomato soup from whole raw tomatoes this is where you would chop them up small and cook them with the butter til they’re nice and melty.

Now add in your cream cheese and let it melt while you mix it gently in with everything else.

Now is when you would add in your pumpkin or other canned purreed veggie/fruit/what have you.

SO, for this particular soup, here is what I used:

Butter

Cream Cheese

Canned Pumpkin

Brussel Sprouts

Green Onion

Red Onion

Cinnamon

Salt and pepper (to taste)

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Start just like the soup base directions above, melt butter and saute veggies

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Melt butter
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Chop up green onions
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Add to pan with butter

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Chop up brussel sprouts
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Add to pan
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Chop up half the red onion (or whatever onion you would like to use, I don’t discriminate.)
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Add in the red onion and the cream cheese
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Add in your half cup of almond milk. Isn’t it pretty?

Time to add the pumpkin!

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Add in whatever spices you want. I used cinnamon, salt and pepper

Tavo and I both loved it! we hope you do as well

5 steps to becoming a more organized person 

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Hello lovelies!

So, as you may have picked up on from previous posts, I’m not the most organized person. My house feels like it’s constantly a mess and I don’t have much of a schedule going.

But I’m in the process of changing that. I would like to be an organized person with a house that is at the least semi clean all the time so I can invite people over spur of the moment or if my mother in law dropped by I wouldn’t be completely mortified (which is one of my major motivators!) but mostly it’s for me. I don’t like chaos and stress and that’s what I feel when I have a messy home 70% of the time.

I just recently read this quote and it resonated with me so much and I decided I needed a change:

“Clutter is a stealer of joy and contentment. Your home should breathe happiness into your family’s story, not slowly suck the life out of you.” – Melissa Michaels

So here are 5 steps I am taking to become a more organized person:

  1. Planning my day

The last few days I have been trying this and it is working pretty well! I sit with a notebook first thing after my workout and write down the things I want to accomplish that day. Feed rabbits, do laundry, feed the cats, etc., It helps get my brain thinking of things I need to accomplish instead of getting sidetracked playing candy crush while watching supernatural (seriously, I’m not sure what it is, but I love playing that stupid game while listening to a tv show. I get antsy when I sit and watch anything so playing candy crush or crocheting helps me actually listen to what is being said, I didn’t used to be like this, not sure what changed. Unless it’s a really intense movie [or Game of Thrones] then my focus is 100% on it.)

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2. Creating a schedule

I bought one of those big desk calendars (like this Monthly Desk Pad Calendar ) and stuck it on my wall downstairs so it’s the first thing I see when I come downstairs in the morning on the way to the bathroom. I’m doing color coded tasks, so like blue would be laundry, red would be change the litter box etc. Tasks that could be done other days as well if they needed to be, but I have designated days so I know they will get done. Other tasks are more monthly, like moving the couch and vacuuming underneath it, or cleaning out the fridge. Sunday’s will be my meal planning day. I know all these things have to get done but I easily get distracted doing other things, even important things and then don’t get these other things done until much later and by then the chore is harder to accomplish and takes more time. Like waiting for two days to wash dishes instead of doing them any time there is a dirty dish. Which brings me to point 3.

3. Always have an empty sink/clean kitchen before heading to bed

I’ve been trying to at least have the dishes washed, if not the entire kitchen clean before I go to bed. It is so nice to wake up to a clean kitchen, it just feels so much nicer than waking up and thinking “ugh, so much work to do…” helps me start off on a more positive note.

Tavo has been eating more meals in his high chair lately, he is loving it, and it helps contain the mess in the kitchen rather than him roaming the house while he snacks. I’m hoping to start doing more meals around the table, it’s easy for me to take my food and sit and watch something while I eat instead of sitting at the table for meals. We are working on that. But my main focus at the moment is making sure the kitchen is nice and clean every night and working towards having it clean after every meal.

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First time trying yogurt, he loved it!

 

4. Giving myself a break

Not necessarily a physical break, but I mean like if I am tired and forget to finish all the dishes one night, I don’t beat myself up about it, I just make sure I do them in the morning. In the past I have berated myself and felt like I just ruined my progress, but it needs to be sustainable. If I can’t do this the rest of my life, then I’m never going to get anywhere, so if I beat myself up on a day when I don’t do it exactly how I like and it de-rails me then I’m not getting anywhere, so I give myself slack. I’m slowly learning and building good habits, just like with my eating and exercise, it’s all a process and I will get there eventually, it just takes a little time.

5. Make time for what you love

While there are some people who genuinely enjoy housework that isn’t something we all love 100% of the time, I know I don’t. I don’t really mind doing housework, especially if I have some awesome music playing, but it’s not something I like spending every moment of every single day doing, so planning my time and figuring out which days I do certain chores, spreads it out more to give me time to do things I love, like write, and read. Once it becomes a more stable system then I have a nice clean environment to do the things I enjoy doing and it flows so much better.

Those are the major changes that I’ve made and I’m working on building them into lasting habits. I know I can do this, because I’ve accomplished so many other things I’ve set my mind to and I’m determined to do this. I want to be an organized person, I want to be a hostess, I want to have cute little “tea parties” and have my gal friends over to talk and hang out, but I don’t want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to tidy up ten minutes before people arrive, or spend the entire day before stressing because my house isn’t ready yet. It’s unnecessary stress that I can avoid by planning my day’s better so that is what I am doing.

Hopefully these tips can help you as well! so far they are working for me, but I’m just at the beginning of my organizational/planner person journey. I will try to update later on how well these have been working for me.

x

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Outfit of the day: Floral Print Romper With Long Flare Sleeves

Book review: Prophecy by Elizabeth Haydon 

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(Post contains amazon affiliate links)
Hello lovelies!

This book was just about as good as the first one, again, I will try to avoid spoilers but be warned, there could be some!

Prophecy: Child of Earth (Rhapsody, Book 2)

Written by Elizabeth Haydon  

Prophecy is the sequel to the book Rhapsody : Child of Blood (click here if you want to read my review on that one), it follows Rhapsody, Achmed, Grunthor and Jo as they establish their roles in the new land they have found themselves in.

Elizabeth Haydon is fantastic at describing the environment and all the little details which helps create an in depth picture of the character’s surroundings and feelings. I’m totally awed by her ability to transport her readers into another world. (I only hope I will be able to be half the writer she is!)

Rhapsody travels with Ashe to meet with the dragon Elysynos, then she tracks down Oelendra the Lirin Warrior and previous owner of Rhapsody’s elemental fire sword, Daystar Clarion and begins her training in preparation for when she will inevitably fight the ominous F’dor.

Meanwhile, Achmed and Grunthor discover an ancient buried city left by the Cymrians and meet The Grandmother, which of course uncovers even more questions but they have to wait until Rhapsody returns to fulfill the prophecy.

And that’s as much story as I will give away at the moment. This book is available on Amazon Kindle so, go buy it and read it and let me know what you think! (though I suggest you read Rhapsody first)

The book answers many questions that were brought up in the first and asks a few more that I’m sure will be answered in the next and ends with a wonderful cliffhanger. I’m eager to read the next book and I’m hoping Elizabeth Haydon doesn’t go the route of George R.R Martin and kill off too many main characters *fingers crossed*

 

Weight-loss while breastfeeding 

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Hello lovelies! 

I know I’ve been pretty focused on weight-loss and health posts lately, but this is going to be another one, so bear with me!

Today I’d like to break down how I’ve been losing weight while still breastfeeding my son. 

First off, I’m not a doctor and you should always check with your doctor or health care provider before trying anything if you have concerns. Being healthy is priority, dropping weight can take a long time or a short time, it depends on the person and the work put in and I firmly believe that work begins in the grocery store and the kitchen. All of this is based solely on my own experience.

Second, I did wait til Joktavious was eating solids before I started really focusing on weight-loss, so he wasn’t exclusively breastfeeding when I was dropping serious weight but he still nurses pretty frequently.

I started my journey in November 2015 at 210lbs

Here’s a list of what I did:

-Cut back my sugar intake-

I stopped buying barbecue sauce because I had no self control and was putting it on everything. I stopped buying chocolate. I stopped buying any kind of drink from the store besides water or the occasional kombucha drink (and I would choose the one with less sugar). If I wanted chocolate I scoured pinterest for paleo fudge recipes and I would have a piece or two. Honestly I don’t have too many days where I crave chocolate anymore and when I do having a cup of homemade hot chocolate or a dark chocolate almond milk smoothie does the trick. (yesterday we had s’mores, we used Justin’s Peanut Butter cups and organic graham crackers, it’s better but still sugar so we don’t do it all the time) 


-Cut out bread-

I stopped buying bread, occasionally we had pizza or burgers but it was rare.

-Cut out processed food-

No more bags of chips, ginger brew, burgers every couple days, subway, lots of junk we had all the time. There were occasional “junk days” but at the beginning I was really strict and tried to mimic some of our favorites in healthier ways. It’s really paid off too, we still have pizza or burgers occasionally but we have healthier options and don’t feel the need to have junk as often as before.

-Water-

I drank lots of water, as much as I can. I shoot for at least 64oz a day if not more.

-Walking-

I really didn’t kill myself with exercise, I mostly just walked in place in my living room. Started at 6,000 steps a day and worked up from there. I try to shoot for 10,000 now. It’s only recently that I’ve added in more intense exercise.

-Cut my portion size-

I didn’t start out counting calories or anything, I just realized I was eating a lot so I cut my portion size down some and shrunk my stomach. I eat way less now, I track my calories just so I know roughly what I eat. I eat anywhere from 1000-1300 a day. Depends on how much I do. If I’m hungry I eat, if I’m not, I dont.

-Bored eating-

I tried to stop bored eating. It’s still hard some days. Sunflower seeds help some but I can easily eat a whole bag of those so I try to keep my hands busy if I’m watching a movie. Crochet helps, not having anything besides my water bottle within reach is good. If there’s a bag of chips I’ll devour those way too fast while bored so if we have any I try to keep them downstairs, I’ll grab a handful and put them in a bowl and leave the bag in the cupboard and it helps. But I don’t buy chips hardly ever. Figure out what works for you, we have to break our bad habits and build good ones.

-Documentaries-

A lot of times when I was walking I would watch anything and everything I could find on YouTube and Netflix or anywhere online about food, health, weight-loss and fitness. It helps me stay motivated, focused and informed on good choices. Here are a couple of my favorites:

-Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 1&2

-Hungry for Change

-Fed Up

-Food Matters

-Fittest on Earth

There are lots more, but those are good ones to get you started.

And that is pretty much it. Mostly just focused on healthy ingredients, more veggies and water and more activity.

I’m focusing on building my willpower now, I’ve come a long ways, but I would like to be even stronger in that area. Being able to tell myself no, I don’t want that cheesecake, I’d rather have a piece of fruit or go home and make my own healthier option.

Weight-loss is such a tremendous process. It’s more than just looking good, it’s a mental and physical journey with lots of ups and downs. I have to remind myself often to slow down and relax, I get too rushed thinking I have to lose x amount of weight in the shortest amount of time possible, but if you lose just 1lb a week that’s still around 50 lbs in a year. That’s no small feat!

Hopefully my experience helps someone out there, just remember health begins on the inside and works it’s way out.

July 2016 weighing in at 162lbs

Book Review: Rhapsody Child of Blood

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Hello lovelies!

So, I’m going to be painfully and  embarrassingly honest with you. I totally procrastinated way too much this month and didn’t read as much as I should have so the last two days I’ve read every moment I could in order to finish the book.
But hey! I read half the book in two days. I thought that was impossible for me but I did it.

I know this probably seems silly to some of you who are much faster at reading. I really do love reading, I’m just a slow reader. I take my time and absorb all the details. This means that it normally takes me a few months to get through a book, which is why I wanted to start doing these reviews. I want to be able to read faster but also this is an incentive for me to read more in general because I tend to put it off which is sad because I used to read all the time.

Anyway, that’s enough explanation, on to the review!

(Please note, this is the first time since high school that I’ve written a book review so, I’m hoping it is alright.)
***may contain spoilers!***

Rhapsody; Child of Blood
Written by Elizabeth Haydon

Rhapsody; Child of blood is the story of a young Lirin Singer who while on the run from a particularly sick individual known as Michael the Wind of Death (or fondly referred to as The Waste of Breath by Rhapsody) happens upon two Firbolg men who are also on the run (Though from something far sinister than Michael, if that’s even possible). In an attempt to escape, Rhapsody unintentionally uses her Namer lore and renames one of the Firbolg men (The Brother) and severs the tie that bound him to the evil he was desperately trying to escape.

Mainly out of curiosity the two Firbolg whisk Rhapsody away and pretty much force her along their trek which unbeknownst to the three travelers will take them so much farther away from home in more ways than they had ever imagined.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story but that’s part of the basic idea of the storyline.

This book and the world that Elizabeth Haydon has created is just fantastic. It is set in a medievalish fantasy world. I love how much time the author put into everything, the descriptions of the environment right down to the history and lore, it’s all so well thought out and detailed. I’m curious how she came up with it all.

I should warn you there are some sex scenes, I’m not fond of those but they are easily skipped. Rhapsody before becoming a singer had worked as a prostitute, so there are some crude references to that as well, but again, it’s fairly easily overlooked.

One thing I absolutely love is Rhapsody’s Singer abilities. The idea that music can camouflage, refresh, heal etc is awesome. I love music and singing myself so that is something I can really appreciate in the story and part of what caught my attention when I first saw the book.

It ends in a wonderfully teasing cliffhanger that really made me desperate to start the next book (next month!).

This book really is one that you can get lost in, there are wonderful characters, lots of sword fighting, heartbreaking scenes that make you want to hug the character and tell them everything will be fine and also scenes where you would love to just jump into the world and strangle the ‘bad guy’ yourself. (…or is that just me??)

Bottom line is, if you haven’t read this book and you enjoy adventure fantasy novels with a hint of romance thrown in try this one, it’s even available on Amazon Kindle!

Rhapsody : Child of Blood