Fashion Friday: Working on my work wardrobe

I am easily distracted.

My Saturday goal was to shop a few thrift stores around Wichita, and to stop by a few garage sales with promising ads: “Vintage jewelry.”

I have high dreams about owning a sewing machine and becoming the next 49 Dresses.

However, on my way to Plato’s Closet, a used clothing store, I found Wichita’s Ross Dress for Less, which is basically TJMaxx.

Shockingly enough… the Ross Dress for Less is located right next to TJMaxx… I should have compared merchandising and pricing, but I got distracted…

BY THE MOST AWESOME DRESS THAT EVER EXISTED.

Ross Dress for Less Wichita KansasI posted this picture to Instagram, and my dear friend Sami said: “Please tell me you bought this.”

Of course I did. It was $20.

I’m not one for dresses unless I’m going to a wedding or a funeral. The only reason I bought a dress in Kansas City was because my friends were convinced I’d be miserable in jeans.

They were right. I would have been.

But this dress caught the eye of my inner fashionista who, most the time, is in hibernation mode, and it’s impossible to wake her up.

Point being: I don’t know how to dress myself.

But this dress will sure help! I’m in love. (And you better believe I checked to make sure it was machine washable. I don’t do dry clean only.)

At Ross, I also bought a shirt with a built-in camisole, which I love but did not know existed in fancy-pants clothing town. Sweet deal.

Ross Dress for Less Wichita Kansas

(Sorry, my tank top is hanging out from under the shirt… Lookin’ classy!)

A big part of my buys – and a big part of my shopping trip last weekend – can be attributed to the fact that I go to work in TURTLE NECK SWEATERS and CARDIGANS in 100+ degree heat.

Because that’s all I own.

My husband actually told me to go shopping for work clothes that matched the season (mostly so I’d stop complaining about being so hot). My office… at least the area around my cubicle… is not cold enough for cowl-neck-winter-friendly clothing.

Building the wardrobe bit by bit… I’m set for winter. Lucky me.

I took cash to my shopping excursion so I wouldn’t spend too much money. I only had about five bucks left for the vintage jewelry, which was way overpriced for a garage sale, but I did buy a string of pearls that I fully intend on wearing with my new dress.

YAY!

Am I getting better at this whole dressing-nice-for-work thing?

 

 

Pintester: Turkey Bacon Egg Cups

I found a recipe on Pinterest that I actually had the ingredients and the gumption to prepare! Shocking. I feel like the Pintester.

On Sunday night, I caught a bought of insomnia and stayed up too late looking at recipes on Pinterest. Go figure.

I found a recipe for bacon egg cups and thought: “My husband sure would like to have a delicious breakfast ready for him when he wakes up for work in the morning.”

So I woke up at 6 a.m., which is not usual… I usually crawl out of bed at 7 a.m. and still get to work on time. (I shower in the evening and don’t work too hard to style my hair.)

But on Monday morning, I forced myself awake to function and began breakfast! (Thankfully, I purchased more coffee on my Sunday grocery trip. Two days without coffee? Me? Oh, no, no, no.)

I had to half the recipe because I didn’t have enough eggs, and because my husband and I wouldn’t have been able to finish off 12 bacon eggs cups in one morning. No way. Here are my alterations…

Turkey Bacon Egg Cups
Ingredients

  • 6 slices of turkey bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup (ish) shredded marble cheddar cheese
  • bit o’ salt and pepper

Directions

Spray six muffin tin cups with cooking spray with olive oil. (I don’t actually know if it matters what kind of cooking spray you use, but I want to be accurate.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the eggs, cheese and bit o’ salt and pepper (this is me being accurate) in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.

Wrap turkey bacon slices around the inside of the muffin tin cups. Add about 3/4 of the eggs mixture per cup.

Bake for approximately 14 minutes. When I halved the recipe, I halved the bake time, but my new gas oven is apparently SUPER efficient and the cups were done in 14! I might have actually cooked them a little too long.

Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast! So fluffy. Cooking in the a.m. for the win!

I tweeted this picture…

recipe for turkey bacon egg cups…and received some lovely responses from a Twitter follower (who I’ve met in person once) and my dear friend Julia!

I love that girl… I’m the Highlander! I’m going to put on a kilt and scream off a cliff now…

I’ve had some decently successful recipes lately. Too bad I’m WAY too distracted to remember to take pictures.

Why did I use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon? I had turkey bacon… and it’s better for me than regular bacon… or some junk like that…

I miss real bacon.

Any good breakfast recipes cookin’ up in your kitchen?

Why I switched to plain Greek yogurt

Last week, while I munched on Oikos Greek yogurt with blueberries for breakfast, I scanned the bar code with my Fooducate app.

My delicious daily breakfast came back with what I consider a poor grade.

B+

I’m glad it’s naturally high in calcium, and I can look past the 4.5 grams of sugar per serving…

But… bug powder? Seriously?

Oikos Greek yogurt with blueberries contains carmine, a red food coloring made of ground up powdered Cochineal bugs. The Aztecs used the bug powder to dye their clothing; food producers use it to dye your food.

Seriously?

After reading the Fooducate score and information, I couldn’t finish my yogurt. I was eating bugs! I hate bugs! And it’s not necessarily the bug that is the problem, it’s the fact that they couldn’t come up with something other than a bug to color my food. I can dye my hair with tea, and food producers couldn’t think of something better than a bug.

Gross. Me. Out. Lazy.

I hunted around for a Greek yogurt with blueberries that did not contain artificial colors, but was sorely disappointed to find out that the only Greek yogurt that scored A’s were plain.

Plain yogurt.

Plain Greek yogurt.

Wowza. That stuff is strong!

I made the switch to plain Greek yogurt right after “eating” my last yogurt with artificial colors, and it was rough. I tried to add banana slices and granola, but it did not work as well as I wanted.

I plan to add berries instead of bananas, which will sweeten without making it heavier, and use it to make overnight oats. I am not ready to eat it straight.

Ha! It sounds like I’m trying to take a shot of bourbon (which I also can’t do) – blech!

Bug powder. That’s why I switched to plain Greek yogurt.

Of course, some yogurt bugs aren’t bad at all. What’s your favorite yogurt?

Fashion Friday: A jewelry party

There are moments in a woman’s life when she wants to gather with her friends… in pajamas… with a bottle of red wine to look at jewelry.

ladies jewelry partyAnd then buy some of that jewelry…

My friend hosted a Premier Designs jewelry show at her new house. I was excited to see the new house and excited to see jewelry! The saleswoman, Kathy, was fabulous. She set up the table for us to browse and to show us how to make our jewelry choices suck less.

Did you know you can crochet a string of pearls?!

You can. I did it. It was awesome.

Kathy and Kacey (our co-host!)

crochet a pearl necklace to make it designer

 

I am not usually one to attend a jewelry/makeup/home/garden party because I am not that girly.

Really.

Generally, I find girly-ness awkward. And I’m not that good at it. But after being a work-a-holic, house-a-holic and cardboard-box-a-holic, I really wanted to be a girl.

Like a real girl.

So I went to a jewelry party and had a FANTASTIC time.

Kathy showed us how to fashion ourselves with jewelry, which I’m terrible at doing. Seriously, I wear three pieces of jewelry… and two of those are earrings… which are studs.

I don’t usually mix it up.

Kathy showed me how to be fun and funky or edgy and cute or girly… or whatever!

kathy the jewelry lady showing us how to look good

Because I had so much fun, I decided to host a jewelry party with Kathy at my new house. Jewelry party + new house = housewarming party for my girls. Two birds. One stone.

I’m so smart.

I also want my friends to buy bunches of jewelry AS CHRISTMAS PRESENTS for their family so I can get a bunch of freebie jewelry TO GIVE AWAY AS CHRISTMAS PRESENTS for my family. I’m really giving like that.

kacey and her free jewelry from premier designs

I didn’t actually buy the earring or watches below, but I thought about it. I bought my grandmother a pin and myself a pretty necklace, which I will show you when I get them… still in the mail.

hoop plated silver earrings with turquoise colored stones

 

gold and silver fashion watches

 

Natural cereal is just a dirty lie

I switched from Cheerio’s to “all natural” and “organic” cereal for the nutrition benefits… and because many natural cereals are way cheaper than Cheerio’s.

Most unfortunately it is A-OK to include sweeteners, chemical preservatives, artificial sweeteners and colors to natural cereal and still call them NATURAL.

I am eating a lie!

According to Eat This, Not That, the Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group, analyzed so-called cereals and found that they’re often contaminated with pesticides and warehouse fumigation chemical residues, genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) and ingredients grown in sewage sludge.

…um seriously?

My husband’s go-to “natural” cereal, Kashi GoLean, apparently is loaded with GMOs. He used to eat it everyday before his workout, which generally occurred right after waking up. Whatever. That cereal is expensive. I don’t need it, and I don’t need it’s GMOs. My cereal, Nature’s Path, wasn’t on the list! I eat the crap out of that cereal.

Artificial sweeteners aren’t even the worst stuff added to “food.” According to another Eat This, Not That article, the Food and Drug Administration has a list called “Everything Added to Food in the United States.” There’s a list?! There has to be a list because there are more than 3,000 additives on that list.

Holy. Monkeys. Wow.

The most troubling additives on the list were parabens. Well, they were the most troubling for me because they’re found in Baskin Robbins Sundaes… and I love Baskin Robbins. I love Baskin Robbins a bunch. (My husband will not take this news well.)

Sigh.

Men’s Health Magazine isn’t all about death and doom and food we shouldn’t eat. I was getting a little depressed about it. Were you getting depressed? I was so depressed.

Luckily, if I cut many of these artificially filled foods from my diet, then I can fill my tummy with nutritious whole foods!

From the whole foods list, I gather that I need to eat more broccoli and spinach. PERFECT. I also need to trade in my dairy products for fresh fish, which has way more Vitamin D (and those delicious omega-3’s).

Is your cereal lying to you? Kashi… Shame on you.

Did you get ridiculously hungry and start craving steamed veggies after going through the whole foods list? Totally.

Weight gain… it happens

Remember when I lost 10 pounds?

Well, I found them.

They came back, and they brought friends.

Yay…

It is so easy to fall back into old habits. I fell back into my old habits: eating too much dairy, drinking too many of my calories and sitting around on my behind… a lot.

And it is so hard to get back to the good habits: like avoiding food you’re allergic to, drinking less and not sitting… a lot.

However, I also believe that it isn’t too hard to enjoy eating a well-balanced diet and to enjoy running and yoga when you’re doing it.

Does that make sense?

For example, last week, I went to the gym three whole times. Go me. I haven’t been to the gym in forever. I haven’t really worked out in forever. But I ran on the treadmill. I lifted some weights. I did some yoga.

And I loved it.

My legs were tired after half a mile. My shoulders were sore after one set of push-ups. My wrists and ankles were weak after 20 seconds of plank.

I L.O.V.E.D. it.

Another example: Apples are not in season in the summer, which is fine, whatever. I still buy apples and eat them… but they’re gross. They taste like cardboard so I never really eat the whole thing. I am missing out on my apples. I LOVE APPLES.

I fell out of fitness, but I know I can fall right back into it, and I know I’ll love it just like I have before. I fell out of my healthy eating habits, but I know I can fall right back into them, and I know I’ll love the way I feel when I do.

So here is my pep talk.

Get up. Get back. Get fit.

I can do it. I did once before.

A trip to the zoo + a busy Sunday afternoon

I am an awesome big sister. I took my 9-year-old brother to the zoo this morning.

sedgwick county zoo lion exhibitLook at that stud. He’s just south of five foot, and I’m just north of five foot. Yes. That’s right. My 9-year-old brother is pretty much my size. It’s depressing.

My first stop was to my grandparents’ house. Grandma fed me breakfast: a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, a slice of cantaloupe and two sweet red cherries.

a fruit breakfastRight after eating that cantaloupe, my grandfather informed me he heard in the news that there was a salmonella outbreak in cantaloupe. Joy. It’s the Jimmy John’s scare of 2012 all over again.

Papa apologized for feeding me potentially poisonous fruit by giving me a planter for the daisy Husband brought home the other week.

daisyI haven’t killed it yet. Green thumb for the win.

After a lovely visit with my grandparents’, Zak and I headed to the zoo!

sedgwick county zoo penguin exhibit

sedgwick county zoo tortoise exhibitMeet Jimmy the Penguin and Jerry the Tortoise. My little brother named almost every animal we saw. Some of his favorite exhibits included creepy lizards, bats and river rays, which he decided he could turn in to food.

sedgwick county zoo creepy lizardsedgwick county zoo rain forest exhibitsedgwick county zoo river raysWe both enjoyed the lions and tigers and just about every animal in the African section.

sedgwick county zoo lion exhibit

sedgwick county zoo lion exhibitsedgwick county zoo tiger exhibitZak was pretty fascinated by the gorillas, though, and I caught a few great pictures. My favorite photo: two apes staring at each other. Ha!

sedgwick county zoo ape exhibit

sedgwick county zoo ape exhibit

sedgwick county zoo ape exhibit

 

sedgwick county zoo ape exhibitThe ape above was the smallest in the exhibit, and he seemed a little sad. I wanted to give him a treat.

After two hours of walking around the Sedgwick County Zoo, Zak and I were pooped! (All that exercise!) We left the animals, stopped by Subway and headed back to mom’s house. I left Zak after we had lunch, but he seemed pretty OK with his AWESOME sister leaving the house. Guh.

When I got home, I got to work. I organized my recipes, planned my grocery shopping trip and cleaned up my house.

I feel so accomplished today! I hope this energy sticks around so I can make a delicious dinner.