December 30, 2014

End of the Year Hibernation

Y'all...I've missed you! I am so sorry that I've been MIA pretty much the whole month of November and December but a lot has been going on that I can't wait to fill you in on. First, as most all of you know, Will and I are getting married in June! With most of the planning complete, we are taking the next 165 days to prepare for not just our wedding but our marriage. To me, planning for our marriage is far more important than planning our actual wedding day.

June is also the month that our lease were we currently live ends. It's  been a wonderful place for us over the past two years, but it lacks storage space and the square footage that we feel we need. With that in mind, we knew that neither one of us wanted to worry about having to find another place to live so close to our wedding day and want to be "settled" before the big day so in December we both felt it was time to start our search.
After countless hours of browsing the web and back and forth email conversations to people, we came across and viewed a townhouse in the heart of Dilworth that is just PERFECT! It's  location is ideal for us, has great amenities (such as a bigger kitchen that I love) and I could go on and on about how excited I am that we came across this gem but will save that for another post. Long story short we said YES to the townhouse and can't wait to move into our new home at the end of January! Below is a sneak peek of the kitchen...
 
So finding our first married home was a huge task that we had to worked through and are glad to have checked off our to-do list. Did I mention we had to also find someone to take over the remainder of our lease term, and plan for and schedule a moving truck and movers? Yeah, that took a chunk of our time and attention as well.

December was also filled with wedding related tasks like setting a date for my bridal shower, narrowing down location options for the bachelorette party and working on a few DIY projects. Towards the beginning of wedding planning I was overwhelmed and felt very stressed knowing all that was needed to be accomplished. I still get stressed at times, but have been taking more time to enjoy every moment I have of this stage in life. It's not everyday that you plan your own wedding and I want to look back and be satisfied with the process as a whole.

Towards the end of the month I got a lot of my Christmas shopping done and packed my bags so that Will, Miller and I were ready for a fun filled week-long vacation spent in Greensboro (where my family lives), Clayton (where Will's dad family lives) and Raleigh (where Will's mom family was) to celebrate Christmas.
 
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and a time of year that I always look forward to...one of the main reasons is for the mere fact that I love spoiling family and friends with well deserved gifts. Some completely random. Some handmade. Some expensive. Some right within the budget. But all are thoughtful. Gifts are not what makes a Christmas one to be remembered, but the time spent celebrating the birth of Jesus and quality time with loved ones is what makes the heart of Christmas really standout amongst all of the other holidays.

So that's what I've been up to and why I've been MIA lately and hope you understand! I really do hate going even a day or two without blogging but like most everyone, I have to do my best at prioritizing and reminding myself of what matters most at the end of the day. I'm looking forward to seeing all that God has prepared to show me in 2015 and am ready to get back on the blogging bandwagon <3

December 24, 2014

Dr. Oz's 5-Day Plan To Feeling Great

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Will and I got to Greensboro last night and are here to celebrate Christmas early with my family! We've had a BLAST so far celebrating and I can't wait for the next few days as we head to Raleigh to spend the rest of the holiday with both sides of Will's family. Although there are never enough hours that we get to spend with all of our family, any time we can get is something we are both very thankful for.

Another thing I am thankful for is Christmas! Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because of all the yummy foods, the time spent with loved ones and celebrating Jesus.I haven't really given much any thought to all of the calories that I will be consuming over the course of the week. And even though I will probably sleep like a baby most nights throughout my vacation, I'm sure I will feel the need to go on a much need jog (or four) around the block when we get back to Charlotte.

Thankfully Dr. Oz has created a simple plan that's geared towards improving 5 key areas of your health: metabolism, immunity, brainpower, sleep habits and how you age. Take a few minutes to read over the plan and who knows, maybe you will learn something new like I did!

Day 1: BOOST BRIAN POWER

EAT
Celery. It contains luteolin, a nutrient that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent the plaque buildup in the brain that can lead to Alzheimer's.

DRINK
White tea. It contains theanine, which has been shown to increase the  brain wave activity associated with improved attention.

DO
Cook with coconut oil. It has a type of fat that's immediately shuttled to your blood for your brain to use as fuel.

Day 2: REV YOU METABOLISM

EAT
Chili peppers. Capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot, can boost your metabolism by more than 20%. Eating lean protein like chicken and turkey can use seven times more energy to digest than consuming fat or carbohydrates.

DRINK
A glass of water. When your body doesn't have enough water, your metabolism slows down.

DO
Strength-train. Doing so builds muscle, which helps you burn more calories. Do resistance training at least twice a week for 15 to 20 minutes.

Day 3: STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNITY

EAT
Garlic. It boosts your immune system by increasing the production of disease-fighting white blood cells.

DRINK
Anything with Vitamin C. Try orange, grapefruit or papaya juice. Vitamin C is crucial to helping your immune system function well. People with Vitamin C rich diets have shorter colds with milder symptoms.

DO
Schedule a 30-minute walk. Make an appointment to work out. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have fewer colds than those who don't (or hardly ever) break a sweat.

Day 4: SLEEP LIKE A BABY

EAT
Wheat germ. These small flakes are high in vitamin B6, which can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Try having 1 tsp. on yogurt or cereal about an hour before bed.

DRINK
Cherry juice. Tart cherry juice is rich in melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your internal clock. Drink an 8 oz. glass (try it with seltzer) two hours before going to bed.

DO
Wear an eye mask. It's important to block out extra light. Even the smallest sliver of light can stimulate your nervous system and disrupt your beauty sleep.

Day 5: SLOW DOWN AGING

EAT
Walnuts. They contain biotin, which helps strengthens nails and may help thinning hair. They also have omega-3s, which may help reduce wrinkles.

DRINK
Drink Oz's "green drink". It's packed with anti-aging antioxidants. Mix 2 cups of spinach, 2 cups of cucumber, 1 head of celery, 1/2 tsp. of ginger-root, 1 bunch of parsley, 2 apples, the juice of 1 lime and the juice of 1 lemon in a blender. Makes 3 to 4 cups. 

DO
Check your vitamin D level. A new study shows, women with high levels of vitamin D will have about five extra years of cell division. When your cells can't divide, the effects of aging become more noticeable.

If you repeat the daily tips, by the end of three weeks, they will more then likely become habits!

The plan above by Dr. Oz was featured in Woman's Day Magazine.

December 8, 2014

The Kitchen: The Most Important Room in your Home

I've never been one who loves to cook. At least not yet and that's just a fact. I think it has something to do with the anxiety I get having to follow a bunch of directions all at once, having to deal with a kitchen that's dirty and feeling like I don't have enough room to spread things out. I'm very much a type-A individual and stress out when things in my home aren't neat and tidy. I do however love to read cookbooks and am fascinated by cooking as a whole and after reading through The Kitchn Cookbook, my perspective and willingness to step outside of my comfort zone has gone up...a lot!
My desire to also be a wife and future mother that serves and provides for my family is something I want to do a wonderful job at. I know I still have time but it's better now then never to step into the kitchen right?! This is where I want to backup for a quick second and talk about The Kitchn Cookbook that I recently read...and no, it's not your typical cookbook. And if you asked me, I would tell you that it's a book that I feel should be purchased by any and everyone.

The Kitchn is a cookbook that offers 150 easier then you think recipes and serves as a guide to organizing your kitchen, and includes helpful storage tips, gives real-life inspiration from actual kitchens, and so much more! I love how Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine describes the cookbook as being "essentially a road map for organizing the busiest room in your house, stocking your pantry, and implementing simple tweaks that will make cooking faster, more delicious, and more fun." 
The Kitchn
The Kitchn
It's so true! The kitchen for the most part always seems to be the busiest room in any house I've ever been in. It's a place where families gather. It's the first and last room I visit each day. And it's an area that has multiple purposes. And the different ways you can decorate and organize are endless! From the pictures which are Pinterest worthy, to the writing style, little lessons on ways to stock your pantry and planning meals, and the elements of a good gathering, this cookbook has it all. It brings to life all the things I worry about and has helped me understand that taking risks, even if it's inside the home, can be so worth it!

Let me know what you think and if you know of any other cookbooks I should add to my Christmas list ;-) Hope y'all have a great rest of your day!

Photo 1, 2, 3, 4

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, all opinions are my own.

December 1, 2014

Oh Hey Monday + A Thanksgiving Recap

Ah, is it really Monday, y'all? I don't know about you, but it's extremely hard for me to get back into work mode after a long and relaxing Holiday. This year was nothing short of wonderful. Last Wednesday, which happened to also be my 26th birthday, Will and I headed to Greensboro where we saw Trans Siberian Orchestra play and celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. Over the course of the three days that we were in Greensboro, we were also able to sneak in some time to go Christmas shopping (every year I buy new Christmas decorations), participate in our first ever Black Friday (we even purchased a new TV!) watched Father of the Bride (because I mean our wedding is in June) and took a lot of naps throughout the day. We pretty much laid low the whole time but it was needed and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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When we got back to Charlotte on Friday, we gave Miller some extra one-on-one time and even had our own little date night to finish celebrating my birthday. Will treated me to a day filled with things I enjoy most...breakfast and coffee at 7th Street Public Market, a little shopping, followed by dinner at a new restaurant and going to see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1. I thought the movie was really good and can't wait for Part 2 so Will and I can go see it!
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This week will probably feel like it will never end, and I can already tell I have the case of the Monday's. But one thing I have to look forward to is a Girl's Night Out celebrating Swoozie's coming to Charlotte! THIS Wednesday from 5:30-7 PM, you can come stop by to meet one of my best friend's Caitlin and enjoy a night filled with mingling, sipping on yummy drinks and of course shopping! Oh and enjoy 20% off store wide when you RSVP to charlotte@swoozies.com! I hope to see you there.
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