Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New. Wear. And. Fare. Wednesday.

I'm going to be pulling clothes out of my closet I don't commonly wear and also just making altogether new outfits and highlighting new foods each Wednesday! Thus: New Wear and Fare Wednesday! Enjoy!


Shirt: Logix - Arc's Value Village
Pleated Skirt: - Leifsdottir  - Buffalo Exchange


White Bean Rosemary Burger. Find it on the blog, "What the hell does a vegan eat anyway?"
Note: I used Great Northern Beans rather than Cannelini as that is what I had in my fridge.

Mixing it up!

Cooking it up!

Plating it up!

Eating it up!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Green. Giants.

My garden is growing fast! My tomatoes have shot up, my carrots are moving along and my butternut squash are just huge! It's supposed to be a hot one tomorrow so I'll have to get out and do some watering in the morning!

My basil is surging ahead of me again! It's already regrown and huge! Time for some freezing, I can't keep up!

Strawberries are flowering but I have a feeling I'm slow going with this...

Flowering tomato plants!

They've gotten rather tall!

Butternut squash leaves are huge! Bigger than my hands!

So purdy!

Carrot plants are shooting up too! Wonder when I can start pulling?


My lagging plants are my green peppers! Catch up quick little guys!

I never thought I would be saying this, but going out to my garden and seeing the progress of my plants gives me great joy! It's amazing to see the work of nature in process and watch it change daily. Also it gives me great pleasure to know that it's my nurturing (as well as the sun, air and rain) that keeps my plants happy! I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I look at my garden! These small things in life make me happy!

What are the simple pleasures of your life? What small accomplishments have you done that bring you joy? 

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Thing #5: New. Technology.

I have acquired some new technology over this weekend. Finally, after becoming so frustrated with my current laptop that I couldn't do anything, I broke down and bought another.

I bought...a MacBook Air from Apple! I was sort of freaking out about it internally, worrying about taking on the new debt. I chose to get the financing option through Apple where you get 0% interest for a full year. I did some calculations based on my bills and I figured that I could afford to buy this computer by making $100 payments each month. I am still nervous about it but I have to say: I LOVE my new laptop. I feel like I've been brought out of the stone age and transported to the middle of a sci-fi movie. I haven't had any access to Itunes for about a year, no real ability to utilize Word products, YouTube videos I have only seen bits and pieces of to get the gist of the video (my computer was too slow to play it smoothly), opening 2 browsers at once caused a major delay for my computer (I am well-acquainted with the spinning pinwheel) and on and on. The short version? This new laptop rocks my world! Normally, I try and make due with what I have...and I have been doing that for about a year. However, looking forward with my business I know that  a machine that can support my needs will be required. I think that this was a wise investment. I should also mention that the employees of Apple are so nice and helpful! Over the course of a year I have spoken with Bo, AJ and Phyllis at the Uptown Apple Store! They were all very knowledgeable, helpful, not pushy and polite. Thanks guys!

New MacBook Air
I also changed this weekend from TMobile to Virgin Mobile. With TMobile, my plan consisted of unlimited texting and Internet and 500 talk minutes for $69.99! I don't think I ever paid anywhere NEAR that amount. My bills were ridiculous! I have been threatening TMobile with quitting for years! However, there was never anything dependable to switch to! My brother recently told me that he switched to Virgin Mobile and had good service and paid only $40 per month! He received unlimited messages and Internet and 1200 minutes of talk time (granted, you don't get "Whenever Minutes" but I don't think I ever surpass 1200 minutes on a regular basis). Virgin Mobile is tied with Sprint so they use all of Sprint's towers. Since I now knew there was a dependable service out there I finally made the switch! It has been great! What will also be great is the savings in my wallet! Thus far, I'm really happy with these switches. I hope I have made some wise investments! I will be selling my Tmobile phone online and hopefully making more than I spent on the new phone. From previous sales, it appeared that I would be making more money. Added bonus? My new phone takes MUCH better pictures!

Virgin Mobile has Android phones too!
Have you had any technological items that you feel slow you down with your day to day tasks? What do you think you can do without and what do you think are necessary and wise investments?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New. Thing. #4: Down. With. Dairy.

I recently started to play with my diet a little bit to just see how it affects me. I would like to lean more towards a plant-based diet. However, I will likely never be a person to say I am a vegetarian or vegan. I like all types of food, you see. On the other hand, I can recognize the benefits of limiting myself with regards to certain foods.

You are what you eat!
In my steps in moving towards a more plant-based diet, I decided dairy was the place to start. I started a few weeks ago by replacing my 2% milk in my smoothies each morning with almond milk. I tried both rice and almond milk, I just like almond milk better. I've been experimenting with different brands. Trader Joe's has the cheapest that I've found at $1.69 for 32 oz. I've been told Costco has almond milk you can buy in bulk and is pretty cheap.  I was skeptical about soy milk, but ended up trying it in coffee at a shop...not so bad! Actually gave it a nice nutty flavor! The only place I didn't cut out dairy was at work in my regular coffee, I continue to add a dash of half and half.

Trader Joe's and Almond Breeze almond milk.
Yes, I did blog the other day about CHEESE! I do not think dairy is BAD, I don't think any food is BAD, I just think many things can be bad when we eat too much of them. That is what I was finding with myself and dairy products. I do continue to eat some cheese on things but I have drastically cut back on cheese. I even tried Coconut Bliss chocolate ice cream! Pretty good! Tasted like a Mounds Bar!

I will note that last night, I did make pizza. I also indulged in a regular latte today to see how I felt after. How did I feel? Bloated. I think that sticking with cutting out a lot of dairy will be good for me. I've been focused on trying to include more foods that I have probably not been eating enough of. I've been including leafy greens in my smoothies in the morning, namely spinach. My smoothies only consist of fresh/frozen fruit and almond milk so I am getting doses of vegetables and fruit immediately in the morning. A good way to start each morning! I have also been wanting to go to Costco and purchase a new veggie burger I had tried and really enjoyed!

Less dairy is my new challenge to having a more plant-based diet!

Have you ever noticed that certain foods have become too much of a regular thing in your diet? Did you eliminate them? How did you feel afterwards?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New. Thing. #3: Things. That. Make. You. Go. Mmmmmmm.

I've been noticing lately that I've been getting bored and feel that I'm always cooking the same old thing. This week, I've been trying to cook some new dishes that I haven't had before incorporating some ingredients from my garden. I've grown basil in the past but I've never used it! I've always just given it away to people. This week, I realized that my basil had exploded - probably due to all of our rain! I had so much and it had to be picked!

Most people always suggest using it to make pesto. There is one problem: I don't like a lot of garlic nor do I like that much parmesan cheese. That's problematic if you want to eat pesto. However, I did decide I would try and find another recipe that I could use the basil that I had grown and enjoy too! I was on a search for recipes and I found this recipe for a pasta twist on caprese salad. I just used a little less garlic and olive oil then the recipe recommended.
Caprese salad.
I have tons of basil left! I'm thinking a margherita pizza this weekend!

Another new recipe I made this week was a new salad dressing. It was really good and I'll definitely make it again! It is the Honey-Lemon Dressing as found in Food & Wine Magazine.

The recipe is as follows:

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the lemon zest, honey and thyme. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Honey-Lemon Dressing
This was a wonderful dressing! They also have a Basil Vinaigrette recipe. With my overabundance of basil, I will have to try it!

Another new item I tried this week while I was grabbing a few things at Lunds was Beemster Graskaas (Grass Cheese) cheese. Now, I wouldn't normally be so excited about cheese, but this is a SPECIAL cheese. Made in the Netherlands, it comes from the very first milking each spring of the cows which is some of the creamiest milk. Only 2,000 wheels are made each year and only 1,000 of them are shipped to the US. Once it is all gone, there is no more till next year! I felt so lucky to get a wedge of one of the only 1,000 wheels! Wooohoo! Yep, I get excited about the small and nerdy things. :) Read more about this cheese here.

From the Beemster crew, above is a video of the cows getting out for the first time on spring pastures! Come on ladies, make that milk! :)

Does anyone have any exciting basil recipes that I might try? What other new recipes do you suggest that I could possibly make?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New. Thing. #2: Dare. to. Dress.

Wardrobe has been another source of newness recently. While I've been loving the outfits that Sally and I made together and I've even continued to branch out beyond those, I was looking at my closet preparing myself for my friend Renee's bachelorette party (Hi Renee!! Thanks for reading! Can't wait for the wedding, you will make such a beautiful bride! :) ) this past weekend and realized that there are a few things that I haven't even worn or tried to wear. I've decided to incorporate more of the items that I hardly ever wear so that I DO start wearing them more! 

I put this outfit together for Renee's party. 

I received this shirt over a year ago and haven't worn it yet. It was given to me by my good friend, Lorena. She made me swear I would wear it, or she wasn't going to give it to me. At that time, I wanted it, but said, "Oh, I'm trying to lose weight. When I do, I will wear it." Thinking about this, I realized that I don't NEED to lose weight to wear this top! Nor should I ever feel I have to lose weight to wear any item of clothing! I need to wear what I like and what fits me well, no matter what my size! I know that I am beautiful at any size and shape and wearing clothes that suit my body and having confidence in myself is what makes me attractive. This blouse was DYING for me to wear it!  It was a good fit for me. It hugged me in all the right places for my pear shape and it was fun to wear something I don't normally wear.

I paired the outfit with my new sandals by Big Buddha that I got at DSW Warehouse

Pretty purple toenails!
Large platform along the whole length of shoe so you are standing flat. So comfy!
Pretty twisted tops!
Sally had previously recommended that I buy Kork Ease sandals. I did go and try some on and boy, was she right! They felt lovely on my feet and I loved the color, but they were just out of my budget at this time. They will have to be an investment I will make in the future. I found these Big Buddha shoes instead at a very reasonable price.  They are extremely comfortable and go well with almost everything. I also like that they are platform shoes, but don't have a high heel type position. They are basically flat soles and therefore I can wear them for long periods of time. I found myself a new pair of platform sandals for the summer! I love them and wore them all weekend!

I also have determined that I'm going to make an attempt at wearing Jeggings! I like them, they fit well and I think I can pair them with fun longer tops for them summer. I picked up a capri length and short length pair this weekend by Hue at Macy's.

Capri-length. Cute pocket details.
Short-length jeggings.
I also went to Arc's Value Village this weekend to see if I could find a new skirt. Not only did I find a skirt, but I found all sorts of new clothes that I can wear. Take note: I bought 5 items, I also removed 7 items from my closet!
Work to Weekend full skirt.
I love this new skirt. I can wear it to work and casually on the weekends! It's almost a denim like material which makes it very durable! I wore this out for a stroll to run errands this past Sunday.
Logix striped top.
Close up.
An adorable striped cotton top that will go with many outfits! Will be great as an undershirt for the winter as well to use under sweaters.
Lands' End sleeveless top and blue shorts.
Fun detail on short waistband. 
A fun new pair of shorts and tank top. I was VERY excited about these shorts. When I tried them on, they fit me just as they should. They hit me right at the belly button! High waisted shorts for pear shaped girls! I'm digging them! Due to these shorts and my new jegging shorts, I got rid of the other blue jeans shorts I had that weren't fitting me quite right. These fit perfect, sans any alterations!
New York & Company wrap dress! 
I love this wrap dress! It just hugged all of my curves and really flattered my figure. Can't wait to wear it in to work one day or out on the town for a dressed up evening or even day! 

I can't wait to put these new pieces on along with some others in my closet that I haven't worn that frequently. I'm excited about making new outfits and having fun with clothing, something I don't think I ever did in the past. Here's to making new outfits and being confident in them!

Are there clothes in your closet that you hardly wear? What keeps you hanging onto them or what prevents you from wearing them?

Monday, June 20, 2011

New. Thing. Week: New. Thing. #1: Ball Challenge

I am starting some new adventures this week and I plan on blogging about all of them! They may not all be a new goal, some are continuations of previous goals. These will be from all different aspects of my life: fitness, food, clothes and health.

Today's topic? Fitness!

As I mentioned on my goal list, I would ultimately like to drop down to my ideal weight of 145 lbs. I have not made a ton of progress on this as of yet, but everything in it's own time. For me personally, my main priority for dropping weight has to be diet. The one thing that I do not lack in terms of fitness is activity. I workout 6 days a week, 3 strength training days and the rest cardio exercise. I rarely, if ever, miss a day of working out. I LOVE working out! It relieves my stress, makes me feel good to be out there sweating and overall it makes me feel good about me! If I do ever miss a day, I get antsy and lethargic! That is one reason that  missing a day rarely occurs.

On the other hand, since I do workout frequently, I have to switch up my routine and activities often so that I do not get bored. I must keep myself challenged. For instance, for cardio I often switch between running, biking, rollerblading and playing dodgeball. Sometimes I'll throw in other random activities like when I recently went with some girlfriends to a trampoline park. Jumping on a trampoline for an hour is GREAT workout!

Backflips at trampoline park.
With strength training, I must do the same. Every 2 weeks, I change up my routine. If I see new strength training moves, I try and add them. I take exercises I was taught by my trainer in the past and make up new routines with them. This prevents me from getting bored and in turn, quitting my strength training.

Most recently, I have added a new challenge for myself: standing in a squat position on a stability ball. I actually came across this move in an Under Armour commercial that my friend posted on her Facebook page.

These chicks are hard core! I love it! Since I've seen this commercial, I've become obsessed with the goal of wanting to stand on a stability ball. I can kneel on a stability ball with no problems for minutes on end. I needed a NEW goal and challenge. This is my new fitness challenge. It has been underway for the last week. WHEN I accomplish it, I will share my success via a fun video for you folks! 

What keeps you motivated to stay fit and keep active?
Tell me how you mix it up! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The. WHEN. not IF. challenge.

Goal Getter Gurl has been revamped! Yes, shiny and new! I decided I need change, so I made it! I hope you all like it!

I recently had an outing with my friend, Mary. Mary and I were talking about our current goals and what we are working towards. I began to speak with Mary about my business and what I want to do and where I'm at with getting it started. I believe I said something like, "If it's successful..." Mary said, "Not if, WHEN." Mary said to me, "I challenge you start using WHEN and not IF."

I thought a lot about that. Why am I already doubting the success of my own business? If this is something I have put a lot of passion for, have sacrificed for and BELIEVE in it myself, why would I say, "IF" it's successful? I should KNOW it will be successful and I will put all of my hard work into it to MAKE it successful. Since it is something I believe in and am creating the business because I do believe it's a valuable service that people should and NEED to have in their lives, why would I not say, "WHEN" it is successful? Why do I doubt my own success in vocabulary?

About a week after Mary said this to me and I had been meaning to write this post, I was looking at a blog post of Mary's. Mary herself has a new goal of doing a figure competition. She said, "If I do the figure competition..." Yes, even Mary herself used IF! I thought it only appropriate to remind Mary of what she taught me. I wrote her a comment saying, "Not if, WHEN. And when you are in the competition, I will be there to cheer you on!" Mary thanked me for reminding her of the, "WHEN not IF" rule. Yes, Mary, myself and everyone has times we forget about the words we are choosing. We all subconsciously build our doubt, fear and worry into our own conversations. 

These interactions made me ponder our human nature. Why do we place so much doubt into our own dreams and beliefs through our words? If we BELIEVE in it and KNOW that a business, or our goal, or our passions are truly valid and worthy and we are CONFIDENT we will achieve them, why all of the doubt?

Personally, I've decided to take on Mary's challenge. It will not longer be, "IF my business is successful, IF it gets up and running, IF I get funding," rather "WHEN my business is up, running and successful after receiving my funding." I choose my own success. Success in my words to be carried out in life. 

Readers: Who is in the WHEN not IF challenge with me? This week, (and continuing!!), I challenge each of you to change your IFs to WHENs. 

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Goal Getter Gurl: Linda Ambard

Today I have the opportunity to talk about another Goal Getter Gurl: Linda Ambard

I was made aware of Linda and her goal-chasing ways via my sister's friend on Facebook. She was asking that people go and support Linda who was running the Minneapolis Marathon this past weekend. Let it be known, Linda isn't out just to run A marathon. Linda has the goal of running a marathon in EVERY state!

Linda at mile 10.
Minnesota is one of the many stops on her list and I was so happy I was able to go out and cheer for her. I ran the Twin Cities Marathon in 2009. I must say, the one thing that really keeps you going is all of the crowd support. However, it is ESPECIALLY great when it's just for you or is a familiar face. It really makes you keep going strong!

Mile 13 - giving us love!
My friend Carissa and I had created signs to support Linda. We were able to give them to her at the end of the race! She actually thanked US at every cheer stop for cheering her on! I told Linda that cheering was the easy part!

Carissa coloring away!
Mary joined me for some cheering too! It was great to have company to help cheer away!

Linda, you the woman!
Mary and I biked the route of the marathon and stopped about ever 3 miles to cheer!
Linda told me that she has 12 marathons remaining to accomplish her goal. Keep trucking, Linda! You've done so well and I know that you can accomplish all 50 states! You're a true inspiration!
Crossed the finish!
Linda and I exchanged a few messages and Linda also expressed something to me about her running; she's not only chasing her goals, but she is also utilizing her running as a healing process. 

I think that behind every AMAZING man or woman, is another AMAZING man or woman, and this certainly is the case for Linda. Recently, Linda lost her husband, Maj. Philip Ambard, while he was serving in Afghanistan. I ran across a newspaper article about Linda's husband and as I read, I was made aware that he certainly was nothing short of amazing. I couldn't help but think how much of an honor it would have been to have met him. He appears to have been a man who was filled with life and did not take a day for granted. Maj. Ambard certainly was a Goal Getter! He had accomplished so much in his life and as the article indicates, his spark and drive appeared to rub off on everyone around him; family, coworkers and youth. He didn't only work on improving himself, but spent time giving back. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. 

I would like to dedicate this blog entry as a tribute to Maj. Philip Ambard. 

May we all take something away from his and Linda's example on how to lead a fulfilled life; striving to be more, do more and give more.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Garden. In. Ground.

I had an AWESOME and productive weekend! I spent a lot of time with family, helped people out, cheered on goal getter people (more on that tomorrow!) AND guess what else? Planted my garden! So happy to have my plants in the ground and on their way to making me some fruits and vegetables!

I first spent some time weeding and raking up the soil! That was the hard work of it all. Pulled out lots of roots but I got the soil nice and ready for planting! I made two mounded rows for my carrots as I had heard they liked loose soil like that and that was a good thing to do (at least I hope it was!). I took my carrot seedlings and transplanted them into the rows!

Rows of yummy carrots!
Next I moved 4 butternut squash seedlings and planted those. I'm a little worried about those as I hear they grow like crazy. Not sure how that will affect my garden space but I'll deal with that when the time comes.

4 big butternut squash seedlings!
Lastly, my green pepper plants! Now these seedlings are SO teeny, you probably won't be able to see them. I did place a little white marker next to them though. 

See those 2 white pieces of paper? The little green specks next to it are the green peppers.
Last but not least. I filled my other tomato bag and got that plant transplanted! My tomatoes are all starting to shoot up now!

Tomato bags. 

As you can all see, I also put up fencing as there are lots of rabbits in my yard. I added bamboo posts to my tomatoes so they have something to climb. Then I decided that plant food was due. I used this organic kind from MiracleGro. When it's something I'm ingesting and I have the direct option, I will definitely go for organic versus chemicals. 

Organic MiracleGro!
It was exhausting but I am so pleased with my garden and can't wait to see things start to shoot up! It was well worth the many hours spent planning, growing and preparing!

I'm a very dirty gardener!
Full view of garden.
I was also blessed with some beautiful sights while out to finish my gardening. Caterpillars! The cycle of life just amazes me and it was so nice to be out and amongst the beautiful nature while enjoying a nice summer's day!

I'm a novice gardener. This is my first go at it! Anyone have some tips for me or stories you'd like to share?