Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sappy Romantic Stuff

I hope everyone's Saturday is stellar!

*Sigh*...Wes never ceases to amaze me. Last night, he comes home from work with this in hands...


Please note: NOT red roses. I'm impressed that he remembered that I love lilies!

One happy girlfriend--Please note the new hair color. Not only did my pups get haircuts this week, but I got my hot mess of hair trimmed up, and colored up, too! It's a little flat in this pic because I just woke up from an hour-long nap.


The flowers were a total surprise, but it seemed a little strange because only a few hours earlier in the day, I saw this on my refrigerator:


I don't know how that little moth got into the apartment! I had to stop and do a double-take because it looked like someone had drawn a little heart on my fitness schedule--a sign maybe? Synchronicity? Coincidence?


Either way, this is why I love this man--he makes me smile.

It reminds me of the StoryPeople print I have hanging in my hallway that says:

"I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there's no laughter, I know they're not for me."
--"Waiting for Signs" by Brian Andreas

Wes makes me laugh and that's the only real "sign" I need that I'm with the right person :)

Awwww...I'm a total romantic sap at heart.


This morning after teaching PiYo, we went to my favorite brunch spot, Wild Berries. I can't even begin to describe the amazing breakfasts that they serve all day. Some of my favorite menu items include: Cinnamon Roll French Toast (made from real cinnamon rolls), Spinach and feta omelets the size of your head, Strawberry Cream Cheese and Granola-Stuffed French Toast, and Skillets full of eggs, veggies, and home fries---to name just a few.




A little fruit salad to start. I subbed fruit for the soup that came with my meal. In the summer, I just don't crave soup. Am I a weirdo or what?

Since I had been up since 6am (and it was noon) I decided veer away from my usual selections and try their lunch menu. I had the Veggie Wrap, which was full of romaine, tomatoes, olives, feta, onion and a yummy greek dressing. Some very UN-healthy, but tasty waffle fries on the side.

Wes was a champ and went for one of their "breakfast combos." This is Banana Bread French Toast (made from HOMEMADE BANANA BREAD) topped with bananas, pecans, powdered sugar and a side of cinnamon-sugar butter! This platter ain't no joke!


After lunch, we picked up our pottery from last week's "date."

Before firing:

Finished product:

It turned out better than I expected. I'm a little rusty on my pottery-painting skillzzz :)


Well, girls and boys, I'm off to the vineyard tonight (weather permitting) for a little music and vino (hey--wine is full of antioxidants that battle free-radicals in the body!). Hope the rest of your weekend is fab! Think positive--it's only half-started! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fun Friday: Naked Squirrel Edition

CAUTION: NAKED SQUIRRELS AHEAD....


Heading to the groomer. Before:

After:



The wuppers finally got haircuts yesterday. They're rockin' this fall's latest look--the "naked squirrel." Kidding! Wes and I joke that they look like nekkid squirrels because they're all shaved except for their tail. This look is more for substance than style--it's hot and they're extra-furry.

What are you all up to this weekend? I'm just teaching Pilates/Yoga on Saturday morning, then heading to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard for a concert in the evening. This vineyard hosts Saturday night concerts during the summer. It's BYOB food and booze, but it's also a chance for the vineyard to showcase (and sell) their tasty wine. It's always a gooooood time when wine is involved!




For this Friday's recipe, I'm bringing out the comfort classics: Meatless Meatloaf.

Meat-eaters, before you cringe, just hear me out. I once served this to my very saavy 80-year old grandparents and they had no idea it wasn't meatloaf until I told them. Wes eats like a velociraptor (more MEAT, woman!), but he LOVES this dish. It looks unappealing going into the oven, but while it's baking fairy godmothers sprinkle magic dust on it and it comes out looking, smelling, and sort-of tasting, like meatloaf.

Here's the recipe. The ingredients look weird, but remember, like a go-to science experiment (baking soda volcano, anyone?), it always turns out okay:

Meatless Meatloaf

Ingredients:
1 (16oz) package of cottage cheese (regular or low-fat work best)
4 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 (1oz) envelope Dry Onion Soup Mix
1/2 a package of meatloaf seasoning mix
1 cup walnuts
3 cups Cornflakes (2 if you like wet meatloaf, 4 if you like dry meatloaf)


Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, measure out cornflakes.
  3. In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients EXCEPT the walnuts and cornflakes. Blend throurougly.
  4. Add walnuts to blender or food processor and pulse until the walnuts are chopped finely, but not liquefied (the finely chopped walnuts gives the meatloaf a more "meaty" texture). If you're lazy, you can just do like I did and put them in with all the ingredients and blend. Both ways work.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until all coated.
  6. Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until browned.
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

I took the "lazy route": toss everything in the blender.

It looks like barf at this point, but don't worry!

Into the pan

BAM--Meatless Meatloaf!


If you try it out let me know what you think! The leftovers are really good as a cold "meatloaf" sandwich!

Continuing on the Fun Friday train, I saw this hilarious video. I like playing with Wii Fit (we play it when I visit my sister), but I can't help but think the same things:




Let's wrap up this Fun Friday with a few weekend workout jams to get ya moving. Here's a selection of what I'm diggin' on my Ipod right now (click the hyperlinks to hear the song on YouTube):

1. Funnel of Love by Wanda Jackson
(I heard it during the credits of last week's Entourage and it got stuck in my head! An oldie I hadn't heard before!)

2. G.R.I.N.D. by Asher Roth
(It has a good beat for running or walking)

3. This Instant by Sophia Fresh (ft. T-Pain)
(For booty shaking! From the Step Up 3D soundtrack)

4. I Can't Get Enough by Rooney
(I posted this a few weeks ago, but now that they're playing it on the radio, I think it deserves a re-post!)

5. Tighten Up by The Black Keys
(Soulful--and such a cute and hilarious music video too!)


To see other Fun Friday videos and posts, click here.


Have a fantabulous weekend, friends! It's almost August, so get out there and enjoy the summertime!

Q.O.D. (questions of the day): Any awesome weekend plans? Do you/have you played Wii Fit? What did you think? Have a yummy recipe, funny video, or upbeat song to share? Post it below! Let's get a sharefest going!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ode to Paula Deen

Ode To Paula Deen

Paula Deen, Southern Queen.
Gimme somma that butter cuisine!
Perfectly coiffed and infectious laugh,
You're the southern granny I wish I had.
Your mac n' Cheese ain't nothin' to mess with and
Don't even get me started on yo cheddar biscuits!
Your gooey cakes and whoopie pies,
Love stickin' to my butt and thighs.
It's all good though, it's all chill--
I'll just work an extra 30 on the treadmill.
I have all your cookbooks and recipes and
All I have to say is...

MO' BUTTER PLEASE! :)


So OBVIOUSLY, my poetry skills are amazing! Haha--yeah right--this poem technically isn't even an "ode"--more like a really poor rap!

Poetry skills aside, one thing that is not lacking is my real-life admiration for this Food Network personality. Nowadays, Paula is so iconic, I think long after she's gone she'll STILL be a mythical representation of cooking--like Aunt Jemima or Betty Crocker.

Paula Deen is my "southern icon," so to speak. She just epitomizes southern cooking. I've watched her show since I was 15. I would come home from school, walk/jog on the treadmill, watch Paula's Home Cooking, and plot out what I would make for dinner for our family (that was my job since my sister played after-school sports, and I was too uncoordinated for all that).

Both of my parents are northerners, so growing up in South Carolina I didn't have much of a "southern" upbringing. We drank UN-SWEETENED tea at the B-hizzle! So I was naturally infatuated with Paula--I could finally learn how to cook like a real southern fattie! She was like the southern grandmother I never had (until I met Wes anyway, and then I got TWO real southern grandmas!)

I have all the cookbooks, have been to her Savannah-based Lady & Sons restaurant and made her recipes MANY times over. One thing I have NEVER done is "lighten" her recipes. I thought that would be akin to slapping her in her nice n' tightly lifted face (which looks fab by the way!). Sure they're full of fat and calories, but everything in moderation...


Me in a two-hour line waiting to eat in the Lady & Sons restaurant. I was 18.

Yesterday, I was perusing the newly-revamped Paula Deen website and saw the "Bobby Lightens It Up" section. SAY WHA?!?! Bobby is Paula's son, and apparently, he's slapped his own mother in the (metaphorical) face.


Bobby Deen--kinda cute--but can he lighten up his mama's recipes???

I was more than a little skeptical.

I decided to tackle the lightened up version of the iconic Lady's Mac N' Cheese. At almost 300 calories less per serving, I didn't have anything to lose except maybe some "arm jiggle" and cholesterol. To top it off, this recipe has NO BUTTER IN IT--NONE!

The recipe...


Ingredients:
4 cups cooked multi-grain elbow macaroni, drained
2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup low fat (1%) milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
After the macaroni has been boiled and drained, add cheese while macaroni is still hot. Combine the milk, eggs, sour cream, mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add to macaroni mixture. Pour into casserole dish. Combine bread crumbs and oil in a small bowl until blended. Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the macaroni and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake, until the filling is hot and the topping is golden, 35 – 40 minutes.

Per Serving: 194 Cal; 13 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 2 g Mono Fat; 25 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 170 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 365 mg Sodium; 9 mg Cholesterol



The result...



Please excuse the crappy pics--my apartment kitchen is florescent-lit (not the best for flattering pics). I didn't have bread crumbs, so I crushed some leftover garlic croutons instead, which was a good call because it added a little bit of flavor.


Overall, the light mac was 0kay. Something was off about the taste, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Also, unlike the original version, this was pretty crumbly (not enough custard to hold it together, maybe?). I kept thinking--needs more cheese or SOMETHING (butter?).

Wes raved about it though. He loved it. So I guess my final verdict is that you either like it or you don't. It's not terrible, but it's not like the cheese-laden original. It wasn't a total disaster, so I might try some of the other lightened-up recipes too. I'm still a skeptic :)


In other food news, I felt inspired yesterday...


Breakfast: "Low-carb Huevo Rancheros"--scrambled egg whites, Morningstar "bacon," leftover vegetarian refried beans, and salsa.

Lunch: "Patty Melt" with a Morningstar veggie burger, tomato, cheddar, ketchup and mustard.

A better picture of those Millionaire's Shortbread Bars. I let them chill in the fridge overnight--solid as a rock and as delicious as a Snickers!


This morning, I taught TurboKick at 5:30am and this afternoon I'm teaching PiYo. I'm still sore and stiff from teaching TWO weights classes yesterday, but a nice yoga/pilates sesh and I'll be good as gold.

Tomorrow is FUN FRIDAY on this blog, so come back for some funny videos, awesome workout jams, and other fun tidbits :) Have a great day, friends!


Q.O.D. (question of the day): Who is your "food icon" (chef, Food Network personality, cookbook author, blogger, etc.)? Why? Have you ever made any of Paula's recipes? If so, what?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Miss Manners Goes to the Gym

Happy Hump Day! We're halfway to the weekend, ya'll!

I teach two weights classes this morning (5:30am and 9:15am), so I'm ready to tackle the day (if but just a little fatigued--my legs are already feelin' wonky after one class!).

Last night, I got home from teaching TurboKick at the gym and we took the wuppers for a walk. They're pretty furry right now, so halfway through the walk they started getting tired (it was hella humid outside). They go to the groomer on Thursday, so hopefully, a "naked squirrel"-style haircut will cool them off :)


Too many smells for them! There's a 26-mile paved trail that runs through our town and we live near it, so we walk them down that.



I came home and had a wonderfully CREATIVE dinner...


Ha! I was just talking about how my creativity is returning and I decide to have an UNcreative meal. Well, I did put some parmesean and ground pepper on the top--that's a little creative, right? (Just a side note though, that rigatoni is my fav Lean Cuisine flava--five stars for taste and it's packed with veggies!)

I was busy yesterday so I didn't get a chance to blog, but I did do a little baking. I don't know what it is about Tuesdays, but I always want to bake something heavenly. I'm a huge fan of the Food Network show, 5 Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson (below). I dig it mostly because:

1. she's a doll (great wardrobe!),
2. the recipes are simple (5 ingredients yo!),
3. many are cheap, and
4. most are super quick.


When I saw these Millionaire's Shortbread bars, I had to make them. I had all the ingredients in the pantry, so I just threw them together.


Sweet chocolate, creamy caramel, and salty shortbread. O...M...G...

I halved the recipe (see my version below), and used 1 cup semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips that I needed to use up. In my opinion, you could use a little less chocolate (a drizzle maybe?) because the caramel layer is delicious enough itself.

As you can see from the pic, I got a little impatient and cut them before the chocolate was fully set up. Still good :)

You do have to stir the crap out of it. It takes the full 15 minutes to get the condensed milk to the right consistency and you have to keep stirring the whole time or it will burn. So worth it though, trust me! (AND, you get a mini-arm workout while stirring).

Without further ado, the recipe:

Millionaire's Shortbread

Ingredients

Shortbread:
1 sticks butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for preparing pans
1 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing pans
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Caramel Layer:
1 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoons butter
Chocolate Topping:

3/4 pound good-quality milk chocolate, or 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

Shortbread:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter an (8-inch) square nonstick pan and coat with flour, tapping off excess.
  3. Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse once (I used my blender and it worked fine too!).
  4. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles peas.
  5. Press the shortbread mixture into prepared pans and bake until golden brown around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Caramel Layer:
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of butter.
  2. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring continuously. Continue stirring over the heat until mixture becomes thick and amber in color (it will begin to pull away from the sides like caramel and will be butterscotch in color), about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour the caramel over the cooked shortbread and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
  4. Cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Topping:
  1. In a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (or in the microwave!), melt the chocolate.
  2. Once chocolate has melted, pour it over the cooled caramel layer.
  3. Cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator to cool completely, allowing chocolate to slightly harden but not get hard.
  4. Cut into 2-inch squares and enjoy, or store in an airtight container, at room temperature, or my favorite - keep in the refrigerator for a yummy sweet and cool treat!


Give yourself a treat this week! :)




In other news, so to speak, following a frustrating trip to her local gym, my sister (who I will be visiting in less than a week) requested a post on "gym etiquette." Having been around the gym block, I know how annoying rude gym-goers can be.


Here's some of my favorite "Miss Manners" tips for the gym:


From an About.com article by Paige Waehner--I think she said it as well as I could:
  • Share. If you're doing multiple sets on a machine, it's common courtesy to let others work in during your rest periods. This may not always be practical, but offer to share whenever you can.
  • Clean up After Yourself. My biggest pet peeve is someone who walks away from a machine, leaving a slimy pool of sweat behind. Thanks! Always bring a towel with you and wipe the machines down when you're finished. Most gyms offer wipes or sprays strategically located around the gym for this purpose.
  • Leave no trace. My next biggest pet peeve is the person who leaves six million pounds on the leg press machine. I don't know, maybe I look stronger than I am. The point is, always put your weights back when you're finished.
  • Don't hog the treadmill. Many gyms have time limits on cardio machines during busy hours. There's a reason for that, and you should obey it. And no, throwing your towel over the display doesn't fool me.
  • Keep it down. Most gym-goers I know have seen That Guy. The one pumping away on the treadmill while screaming into a cell phone. Unless it's an emergency, save your chat-time for after your workouts.
  • Cover it up. I respect the confidence that allows some people to walk around the locker room naked. Know what else I respect? Seeing you wearing a towel after your shower to keep the locker room a comfortable place for everyone.
  • Use good form. Good form is different depending on what exercise you're doing but, in general, good form includes the following:
-Don't swing your weights. Unless you're doing a sports specific workout, use slow and controlled movements. If you have to heave the weight up, it's too heavy.
-Don't drop or throw the weights down. That's a great way to break a toe--yours or someone else's. If you're using a heavy weight, have a spotter nearby to help you.
-Don't lock your joints. When you get to the end of a motion--like a squat--keep your joints soft to avoid hurting yourself.
-Don't slump. Keep your abs engaged during all of your exercises and stand up straight to avoid injury and get the most out of your exercises.
-Let go of the rails. It's tempting to take your treadmill speed/incline up so high, you have to hold on for dear life. I'm not sure why that's tempting, but it apparently is since a lot of people do it. You'll get a better workout if you let your arms swing naturally. Unless you need the rails to keep your balance and stay safe, keep your speed and incline at a level where you can comfortably let go.
  • Learn how to
    use the machines properly. I've seen people doing crunches on a leg press machine. If you don't know how a machine works, either look at the diagrams on the machine or ask someone to show you how it works. Most gym-goers are happy to help.
  • Learn how to set up a good workout for your goals. Rather than just showing up at the gym and randomly picking machines, have a plan before you walk in the door. This might mean hiring a trainer or educating yourself about the basics of exercise. Or visit my Workout Center for ideas.
  • Learn how to monitor your intensity. Since I started training, I've seen more than a few people puke after working too hard on the cardio machines. Beginner's often aren't sure of how much they can handle and end up working too hard, exercising too soon after eating or exercising without having eaten at all, all of which can cause stomach problems. Educate yourself on how to monitor your intensity and the right way to begin a cardio program.
As an instructor, I would also like to add this Waehner's list for "group fitness class etiquette":
  • Be prompt. Arrive early to set up your workout materials.
  • If you're new or If you've never taken the class before, come a little early and chat with the instructor about what to expect. They are happy to help!
  • If you can't stay and need to leave early, let the instructor know before class starts. This just alerts them to the fact that you are not "walking out" on their class. That being said, unless the instructor offends you in some way, try to stay for the whole class. It's kind of rude to walk out on a class you don't like. Give the instructor/class a chance for you to like it :)
  • Don't push it. If this is the first time you've taken the class, go a little easy the first time. This will prevent injury. It's better to be safe than sorry. Always work at YOUR level, not anyone else's. You can always rock out next class!
  • If you have questions, about anything--fitness, format, form, etc.--ask the instructor after class. They like it when participants want to know more!
  • Thank your instructor. After class, thank your instructor. They love their job and also love any feedback you provide. Don't be afraid to speak up and voice whether you liked or didn't like something! It's YOUR class!
  • Smile and actively participate in class (I got this one from a group fitness instructor online forum): "It's hard to teach in front of a totally silent class. Your whoops and groans and claps and comments during class make it fun and keep the energy level high. On the other hand, if you're chatting too loudly with your neighbor, the rest of the class may not be able to hear the teacher's instruction and you won't be working to your capacity."

Just for giggles, I came across this "best of Craigslist" post on gym etiquette and "gym pet peeves." I don't agree with all of them, but I laughed pretty hard at this "gym peeve." It's funny because it's just a little true:
"People in the gym reading anything. It's a gym people, not a library. First of all, if you can actually focus on the words on a page, you're clearly not working out hard enough. Second, I don't feel like waiting for you to finish the op-ed page before I can use the treadmill."

The bottom line is that every every gym has its own etiquette policies, but we can all fitnessize in harmony if we mind our manners :) When in doubt, ask. You DO NOT look stupid asking how to do something! You look like you want to be informed!


Speaking of gym rules, this gym takes it a little too far...with a "no grunting" rule. Literally, an alarm goes off and you get kicked out! They called the police on this guy! I smell a lawsuit...What do you think?




Hope the rest of your Wednesday is WONDERFUL! Now go get your fitness on and mind your manners! :)


Q.O.D. (question of the day): What do you think of the "no grunting" rule (above video)? What other "gym etiquette" rules do you have to add to the list? Do you have a "gym peeve"--something that people do at the gym that irks you? Mine is when people don't wipe off their equipment with cleaner--Ewwww!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting the "Spark" Back

Hi peeps! I hope your Sunday was all that and a bag of chips like mine! :)

Sunday is always a "rest day" for me, so I woke up early, drank four cups of coffee, applied for two jobs (SUPER-JAZZED!), and made myself an "All Shook Up PBB" protein smoothie...


However, instead of frozen yogurt, I used regular light vanilla yogurt and almond milk instead of skim milk. Just as yummy!

Drank it on the porch with the wuppers.


For lunch, I made veggie quesadillas....

Two low-carb tortillas, packed with cheddar, corn, onion, green beans (YES, green beans!), tomatoes, and a sprinkle of taco seasoning. Served with light sour cream and tomato slices.


...and Wes took me on a "date" to paint pottery. I worked at a paint-your-own pottery studio for almost two years in high school and I was an art minor in college, so needless to say, I was stoked that he wanted to take me there!

I chose to paint this spoon rest/jewelry tray for my Mam (my affectionate name for my mother). If she's reading this, I bet $20 she's thinking, "Oh great! ANOTHER piece of pottery to gather dust and end up in a garage sale!" I brought home an unnecessary amount of finished pottery back in the day :)



Here, I caught Wes intensely painting his bisque ("bisque" is just unglazed pottery that has been fired once already). He claims he doesn't have a creative bone in his body, but he's so cute when he's trying to be creative for me!



And voila! Finished! It looks dull right now, but after it's dipped in clear glaze and fired again, it will be bright and shiny. I'll post pics when I get it back in a week :) It's definitely a fun date-night activity!



This morning on my way home from the gym, inspired by my workout and the previous pottery painting session, my mind raced with a million, rambling creative ideas. I had a sudden epiphany: I'm getting my creative "spark" back! It's not like it went away or anything. But it was definitely pushed deep down to make room for other things over the past two years. It's amazing how much of ourselves we can suppress over time and not realize it.

I've always been art-minded. In fact, my original college major was going to be art, but one of my professors told me that I would never be a great artist (teacher-of-the-year, right?). Pissed off and bitter, I switched my major to mass media communication (journalism, essentially) and never looked back.

Just a sample of some of my photography from "back when I would never be a great artist" (this is soooo six years ago):





I don't ever regret my decision to take a different path. In journalism, writing allowed me to get creative with my descriptions and stories. In grad school, I continued to study communication, but I went a more theoretical route.

In the communication discipline, I could still study art (art IS communication after all). I even did my master's thesis on the persuasion and gender roles of performances of female magicians (I got to interview two female magicians, which was pretty rad).

(Female magician drawing my sister did for me for my thesis promotional items! She's a fantabulous cartoonist!)

But, on the whole, grad school was a creativity-killer for me. I found myself with less time to pursue the artwork I formerly did in my free time. Photography is my passion and I rarely got a chance use my camera artistically.

I also found the world of academia to be very unforgiving of creativity. A witty statement in a 25-page paper could be construed as "biased." In art, you WANT to bend rules and break barriers. In academia, there are certain rules and norms which are non-negotiable. Papers must be formated in a certain way and adhere to certain formalities (sections, headings, hypothesis, etc.).

Since graduating in May and looking for jobs, fitness and blogging have become such AMAZING outlets to draw inspiration. Teaching group fitness, I get to come up with new routines and meet new people everyday! It may sound silly, but documenting the everyday ordinary things in life, has made me more appreciative of them. In additon, blogging has invoked these things:
  • I'm more conscious of the food I put in my body.
  • I'm learning vast amounts of information from other health and fitness bloggers.
  • I'm challenged to come up with motivating and interesting post topics.
  • I'm trying new recipes.
  • I'm trying new foods I wouldn't normally touch with a 10-foot pole.
  • I get to write about whatever and however I WANT to write.
  • I get to meet and connect with other FABULOUS bloggers and blog readers.
  • AND, overall, I get to look at fantastic photography, as well as take my own pictures.
As my creativity is slowly returning to me, and as I continue to look for full-time jobs, I'm being picky about what I apply for. I want to make sure that it's something that will challenge me mentally and creatively. In my short 24 years, I've had about 11 jobs. Some I liked, some I didn't. I'm tired of jobs that don't move me to grow as a person. I want a job that inspires me to go to work everyday. As one of my favorite sayings goes...




Some of my more recent art photography (from the last year). You can see my online portfolio here as well:








Wes says I get a little twinkle in my eye whenever I talk about or make art. I hope this creative spark stays for a while this time! :)

Live life creatively and have a marvelous Monday, ya'll!


Q.O.D. (question of the day): What "inspires" you? Your work? Your children? Your hobby? What is your creative outlet? Have you ever felt like you "lost" your creativity? If so, how did you find it? If you are a blogger, is blogging a creative outlet for you?