Dec 19, 2014

Friday Favorites: A Haunted Home + A Murder Mystery

1. Christmas Trees at Merrehope
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Always eager to check out things going on, we headed to downtown Meridian to see the "Trees of Christmas" at Merrehope.  Merrehope is an old, historic antebellum home that was actually the only home in Meridian to survive Sherman during the civil war. (Clearly it is rumored to be haunted!) Each year, organizations in the community decorate trees and set them up inside of one of the 26 rooms in this historic mansion.  Of course I couldn't help but tear up looking at the "Welcome Home" tree full of homecoming pictures from NAS Meridian families.

2. Serial
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Last week on our drive to/from Pensacola, we got hooked on Serial.  It is one of those things that both Rob and I equally enjoy and are frankly kind of obsessed with.  I am so anxious for our flight on Saturday to finish the remaining three podcasts.  Even though I highly suspect we won't find out the truth, I am really hoping that we do.  I hate not knowing!!

3. Southwest Lettuce Wraps
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I made these Southwest Lettuce Wraps last week because, if I'm being honest, I had a ton of left over frozen turkey from thanksgiving and didn't want to buy a lot of groceries right before we left.  They turned out delicious though and I think they might make a regular appearance in our kitchen!  They couldn't be more simple: turkey, cumin, chili powder + pantry staples (canned corn, black beans, whatever you have on hand) + fridge leftovers (red bell pepper, onion, spinach, etc) + cilantro mixed into ranch (I am currently LOVING this greek yogurt ranch from Winn Dixie of all places!)  Heat it all up and add it to lettuce wraps.  Yum!

4. Chocolate for Breakfast
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Speaking of yum, isn't indulging in chocolate for breakfast the best?!  Especially when that chocolate includes 70+ vitamins and nutrients ;)  I've been drinking Chocolate Peppermint Patty Shakeology all week and totally feeling in the Christmas spirit!

5. Home for Christmas
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Speaking of Christmas spirit we officially leave for Virginia for Christmas on Saturday!  Thank goodness that military gets free bags because traveling light during the holidays is practically impossible.  We have an entire suitcase just filled with gifts! (I wish this picture could really show how packed this bag is!)  I don't think this tiny Meridian airport is going to know what hit them when we show up ;)

Dec 18, 2014

Christmas Card Outtakes

Social media (and Christmas cards!) give off the impression of a perfect life.  No one sends out pictures of crying babies or closed eyes.  That would just be silly.  But in case you need a little dose of reality, here are a couple of outtakes from our Christmas cards.  (I was inspired by this article and knew that using the tripod, I had to have some good ones!)
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10 seconds sometimes just isn't enough time to push the button and run back!
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Cracking up, as usual.
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"Is someone coming?! I really do not want to get a call sign out of this!"
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Mouth open? Seriously?
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"I give up"
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Always goofing around!

These make me laugh.  Don't compare your behind the scenes to someone else's highlight reel!

Dec 17, 2014

WIAW: 21 Day Fix Approved Meal Plan + Why the 21DF

Another installment of What I Ate Wednesday :: 21 Day Fix edition!  I keep calling these meals 21 Day Fix approved (because they are!) but really this is just what I eat on a normal day.
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// Cheesesteak Scramble with Peppers and Onions
// Clementines
// Homemade Chicken Salad (with greek yogurt!) with cheese and bacon on toast + Grapes
// Broccoli and Carrots + Greek Yogurt Ranch
// Chocolate Shakeology
// Lettuce wrapped smoked Bacon Cheeseburger



So why the 21 Day Fix?  What is it about this program that has me so hooked that at the end of every 21 days I am ready to do another?  First of all, it works.  I have lost 18 pounds and know that my body is so much healthier and running so much more efficiently.  With that said, I am not under the impression that this is the only way to lose weight or the only program that promotes a healthier lifestyle.  It's just the program that finally worked FOR ME!

As someone who has tried just about everything, I know some facts about myself.  1. I don't do well with deprivation,  2. I have a hard time prioritizing workouts and 3. I need a lot of support.  Looking at these three facts, I know these are actually the reason why I have been successful with the 21 Day fix.

1. I don't do well with deprivation.

Until this year, I honestly believed that the only way I would ever be able to lose weight was by eating low carb.  I was low carb for four months before my wedding and lost weight but of course gained it all back immediately after the wedding because, for me, eating low carb is not sustainable long term.

I read a lot about eating clean and, while it sounded great, everything was so vague and I didn't know where to start.  The 21 Day Fix gave me the flexibility to eat foods (from all food groups!) that I liked while giving me the structure to know how much and what types of food were best for me.  Pasta, wine, cheese?  All in moderation.  I didn't feel deprived and making healthy choices became intuitive for me.  It is a meal plan that focuses on real foods and that I know I can stick with long term.

2. I have a hard time prioritizing workouts.

I am never going to be the person that enjoys going to the gym for three hours.  Heck, I make every excuse in the world to avoid the gym in the first place.  But 30 minute workouts, done at home, in my tacky non-matching clothes and messy bun?  That I can handle.  30 minutes is an amount of time that even I can't make an excuse not to fit in.  Which means the workouts get done, everyday.

3. I need a lot of support.

Let's be honest, I am emotionally high maintenance.  I do best in situations with a lot of support and encouragement.  I run an accountability group every single month for the 21 Day Fix for this exact reason.  In the "real world", no one pats you on the back every day you go to the gym or cheers you on when you quit drinking diet coke, but in my groups these things happen DAILY.  The accountability of everyone doing the same program, the support when temptation strikes, and just the sense of community in sharing recipes and motivation keep me going, day in and day out.

So when I say 21 Day Fix approved meal plan it sounds a lot more intense than it really is because this meal plan has become my normal way of eating.

Interested in trying the fix in 2015?  Let me know here and I'd love for you to join my next accountability group!

Linking up with WIAW

Dec 16, 2014

Christmas Cards of Years Past

I LOVE snail mail!  Cards in the mailbox make me happy and I swear my family could single-handedly keep the postal service in business.  So of course, Christmas cards are a big deal in our house.  My mom has been sending out Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.  Everyone always knows that my mom's card will be the first card in the mailbox.  So when Rob and I got married, doing Christmas cards was an obvious.  While I am not the first card (I let my mom keep her reign haha), I try to get mine mailed out on December 2nd every year.  We have become pros at tripod photography and it's fun to see the little changes from year to year.  Hard to believe that in three years of cards we have lived in three different states!  (Hard to say but if I had to bet, I would guess next year will be four in four.)

2012 --- We lived in Virginia and took this picture on my mom's back deck.
Couples Christmas Card Ideas

2013 --- We lived in Florida so of course we had to do a "warmest wishes" card on the beach.  Somehow we picked the most gorgeous day to take these pictures and they are still some of my favorite to date!
Warmest Wishes Florida Christmas Card Idea

2014 --- This year's card comes from Mississippi.  We took these pictures on the flight line (on a Saturday when hopefully no one was working or flying!)
military airplane jet christmas card idea
The only thing I like better than sending out Christmas cards is getting them! I swear my mailman knows me by name because I run out to the mailbox everyday in December checking for cards!

Do you send out Christmas cards?

Dec 15, 2014

Home is a Relative Term

I always get tripped up in the airport when someone asks me (sweetly and politely!), "Are you heading home?"   Well, yes....and no....I live here....but I'm from there....and uhh....  They always think they are asking a simple question like "Is the weather nice outside?" so they usually don't understand my difficulty answering.  To make it even more confusing, Rob and I went back to Pensacola this weekend and I told him multiple times, both excitedly on the drive down and in the middle of busy parties, I feel like I'm home for the weekend.  Seeing old friends, falling back into our old routines, having people at your favorite restaurants ask where you've been...it's definitely bittersweet.  Maybe this is how it's just going to be from now on...leaving a little piece of myself everywhere we live and feeling that nostalgic "home" feeling every time we return.
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Enough with all of this sappiness...we had an AWESOME weekend!  We managed to squeeze in seeing a bunch of friends and eating at some of our favorite places in those 2.5 days!  Rob had a SIM on Friday so as soon as he was done, we hopped in the car and made the drive to Pensacola.  I was completely antsy but the drive flew by because of my new roadtrip essential---SERIAL!  If you have not listened to this podcast, stop what you are doing and download it now for your holiday travels.  (I'm in the heart of it on episode 8 so please don't spoil anything for me!)  Rob and I were totally hooked and kept talking about how excited we were for the drive home to keep listening!  When we got into town, we checked into the hotel quick and ran inside to change.  We were actually coming to Pensacola for my friend Lauren's bridal tea on Sunday but we happened to be invited to fellow Junior Leaguer Megan's Christmas party the same weekend so we were able to do both!
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Simply put, Megan's "NYC Under Pcola Stars" party was amazing and she was such a gracious hostess.  From the Hummer limo that drove you from an off-site parking lot to the food truck (Mimi's Bistro!) parked in the backyard, every detail was so well thought out and wonderful.  We spent the night drinking champagne, eating a ridiculous amount of BBQ chicken crepes and raspberry macarons, and catching up with friends around the fire pit.  It was perfect!  To top it off, Megan asked everyone to bring an unwrapped gift to donate and there ended up being over 200 gifts donated to Toys for Tots!
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Saturday we slept in and then of course hit our usual routine of Bodacious Brew and the farmers market.  We also did a little shopping at my friend Lauren's new little boutique, The Sequined Magnolia, inside of Angel's Garden.  Saturday night was the Christmas parade downtown so we grabbed a couple ciders from WOB and watched a little of the parade before heading to Nom for dinner.  I'm a little biased because Nom Sushi Izakaya is the dream child of my friend Elizabeth and her husband but OMG!  Every single thing was beyond amazing.  Rob and I couldn't decide on anything...so we split everything!  Pork gyoza, handmade ramen, sushi, sake---everything is amazing!  Rob was feeling so nostalgic of his time living in Okinawa and I just couldn't stop saying "omg! this is so good!"  Since they haven't officially had their grand opening yet (but are hoping to have some desserts by then which I'm sure will be awesome), we took this as an excuse to head to, where else, but The Magnolia for some kitchen sink cheesecake.  It did not disappoint (does it ever?!) and we spent some time reminiscing about our antics there on the 4th of July.
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We had all intentions of getting brunch on Sunday morning but ended up sleeping in late and grabbing bagel sandwiches at Bagelheads.  I dropped Rob off to golf and headed to my friend Lauren's bridal tea at her future sister in law Melissa's gorgeous house.  Lauren, Melissa, and I all met at our Junior League new member orientation and immediately hit it off.  She is getting married summer 2015 and I know she will be a stunning bride.  The bridal tea was beautiful and so nice to meet her friends and family before making the drive back to Meridian.
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It was such a wonderful weekend and I know I need to simply feel blessed that Pensacola is such a short drive away and that we made such wonderful friends there in such a short amount of time.
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