Well Hello There Strangers…

It is good to be back! So sorry for disappearing for a quite a while. It was nothing personal. I promise! I am happy to say that I am back and ready to get back on track! I have some great posts lined up and get wait for you to read them!

I do want to share some awesome news with you now, though. My dear friend Angela, owner of Photos by Mariposa, has asked me to be her assistant and (eventually) the second photographer! I of course accepted! How could I not!? I don’t have any experience with photography but have always had an interest! So, it’s the perfect opportunity to learn, grow, and work alongside such a wonderful friend. I’ll be more than happy to share my journey of becoming a photographer on here with you all! I’m really excited to see where this will go!

Anyway! I just wanted to do a quick post to say that I am back! Hope everyone has been well!

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Happy Monday!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday! I don’t know about you, but I wish it was still the weekend. It just goes by so fast! What did everyone do over the weekend? 

On Friday, I wasn’t feeling too hot. All day. From morning to night, I just felt sick. Had a stomachache that would not leave! I thought work would never end. Then after work I headed over to my parents house to drop off some homemade beef jerky that Troy made. I hung out there for a couple of hours but was pretty miserable. I just wanted to go to sleep. And that’s what I did when I got home! Laid down and pretty much passed out. Exciting Friday night, right? 

I woke up on Saturday feeling okay. Still felt a little off but better. I spent most of the morning cleaning up the place and getting ready for my friend, Hammy, coming over. We were going to have a double feature and watch the latest season of Pretty Little Liars. Anyone else love that show?!

  
These were the movies that we watched. Penelope is one of my favorite movies. I just adore it! Plus it has James McAvoy in it. And well, he is pretty easy on the eyes. 😀. It’s a cute movie. Because I Said So is another favorite. This movie has Gabriel Macht in it and he is pretty dreamy. I just adore the character he plays and the clothes he wears. Hammy hadn’t seen those movies. Crazy! She liked them. During the double feature, we had candy and popcorn. Then for dinner we had skillet nachos. Troy did most of the work but I helped! Hammy stood around and looked pretty. What a hard job…

   
 

Yum yum. Everything hit the spot. We caught up on PLL, and had some much needed girl talk. Saturday was a blast. 

On Sunday, I tried to sleep in since I stayed up way past my bedtime. But that didn’t happen. Go figure. I didn’t do too much that day. Tackled laundry, and worked on wedding invitations for my cousin. We are going to be going out for Father’s Day next weekend since my dad had a band gig. This was the picture he sent me: 

  
Isn’t he just awesome? Love him. 😀. 

Sunday evening was reserved for watching Food Network Star. Does anyone watch? If so, who are you rooting for? It was the first Sunday without Game of Thrones. Sad face. 

Anyway. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are off to a good start for the week! 💚

Stay Strong! Don’t Give In!

That’s what I’ve found myself saying lately while at work. Not out loud of course, but in my head. I knew that when I took this job that I would sitting down all day. Sure, I get up to go to the printer a lot, or I make my way to the restroom/lunchroom, but it’s not enough. I’ve started doing a lot of squats. Hello pancake butt! I DO NOT want that. I mean, who does?! Enough about the sitting. As I’m sitting on the couch writing this… 😉

Nothing prepared me for the amount of food that I would be coming across often. Now that I am on my healthy adventure, I want to take a closer look as to what goes into my body. There are a lot of sweets that come into that office. Cake. There is literally always cake. Someone’s birthday, this person is retiring, that person has been here 20 years, etc. I’ve never seen so many cakes in such a short amount of time. Yesterday, there were doughnuts. Um, yes please. Then there was Panera pastry this morning. Gimme. But not only are there sweets, there are savory food, too. Leftover Italian foods, sandwiches, bagels…. all thrown into the lunchroom for the people to eat. Yes, those foods can be lifesavers for when you didn’t have time to pack your own lunch or you ran out the door without it. But if you are trying to watch what you eat, it could not end up well.

As I’ve stated before, I love sweets. I want all the sugar all day everyday. Let’s be honest. And bread? Another weakness of mine. See where this is going?! Does anyone else encounter the food struggles of working in an office? Even if you don’t work in an office, my tips can be useful. And I hope they are!

How to stay strong and not give in:

  • Ask yourself if what you want to eat is worth it. Truly worth it. If you had that doughnut, would you feel sluggish later on? Perhaps guilty? I know I would, and I want to stop feeling ashamed. I really wanted a doughnut yesterday, but when I asked myself if it was worth it, I answered no. But, that’s me.
  • Have a stash of your own food. If you are feeling the temptation to cave into something that is off your list, head to your own stash of healthier items. Keep a combination of different food. Salty, crunchy, slightly sweet…
  • Keep in mind WHY you are not eating a particular item. For me, it’s sugar. Why am I not eating refined sugar? Because I want to feel good. I want to become healthy. I don’t want to keep relying on sugar to improve my mood. I also want to look good. Don’t lose sight of your goals.
  • You shouldn’t deprive yourself because you’ll most likely end up going overboard on what you’ve been not having. With that being said, if you do reach for that cupcake, then for the rest of the week try to be really on top of what you’re putting into your body. If you were saving that cupcake for Saturday and you end up having one on a Wednesday, then on Saturday, be really good with your meals.
  • Pack your lunch. It’s a lot easier to do when you have leftovers. In my opinion, you will be less likely to eat leftover sandwiches or pizza in the lunchroom when you have your own cute lunchbox waiting for you in the smelly fridge. No one likes to waste food. That’s money down the drain.
  • Stay hydrated! You might be confusing hunger with just being thirsty. Reach for some water first before that bagel. If you are still hungry, then go for it. If you’re trying to be healthier, opt for perhaps only having half. I know, it’s tough. Trust me.

You are the one that is in control. If you want that piece of cake, have it. I just ask that you ask yourself why you want it and if it’s worth it. If you think it is, then go for it. 🙂 No judgement.

I hope these tricks/tips can help you in your day to day life at work. It’s just what I have come up with from my experience. Do you have any tips?

My Whole 30. Again.

I had done the Whole30 months back. I discovered it when I read another blogger was currently doing it. I started to read more and instantly got super excited to try it out. I’ve been struggling with my weight for like ever and thought, well, why not! I won’t go into what Whole30 is, but feel free to check it out for yourself here.

Before I did Whole30, I felt okay. Not great, but not horrible. I was always tired, sluggish, everything gave me heartburn. I wasn’t the world’s healthiest eater, and did indulge in my sweets. And bread. Oh how I love me some crusty bread. With cheese. Oh dear. Moving on… On the flip side, I wasn’t a terrible eater either. I ate fruits and veggies and other healthy foods. As to working out. Well, that was pretty much non existent. I was going to the gym for a good while, but fell off that wagon. Has anyone experienced that?! I better not be alone here!

I had been wanting to change how I looked and felt, and Whole30 was a great first step. 30 days. That’s all I needed to try it out. I could do it. And I did! The first week was…OMG…GIMME ALL THE FOODS! But I stuck to my guns and did not cave in. GO ME! The next three weeks were a breeze. Honestly. The food was delicious and I wasn’t wanting sugar all that much. I was happy without it. The best part? NO HEARTBURN! Yup. It was wonderful! My Tums bottle stayed in the cabinet. Buh Bye! I also was feeling energetic. Happy. Alive. I could conquer the world. By the end, I had dropped 20 pounds. My clothes were fitting so much better. I could see a difference. Especially in my face. It was such a glorious feeling. I was really proud of myself for finishing 30 days strong. I honestly did not think I could do it. I for sure gave myself a pat on the back.

And then it ended. Oh boy. I should have just stuck to it! I didn’t fall back into my horrible eating habits, but I didn’t keep up all of the changes I had made. Silly me. I’m back to feeling sluggish, gross, and I have heartburn. Tums pretty much lives on my bedside table. Ugh.

Tomorrow is the start of my journey again with Whole30. I know I can do this. I will do this. I want to feel and look better. Join me on my adventure, won’t you? I’ll be blogging my ups and down. And posting on Instagram with the hashtag #mapgettingfit

This is the beginning of getting back to being healthy. I have NO desire to fit into society’s idea of the ideal weight/shape/look for a woman. I believe I’ll always have curves. I’m more than okay with that.  This year I’m going to start accepting and loving who I am. This is my one and only shot, right? I’m only getting this one body, I should probably treat it better. 😉 However, I do love me some cupcakes… I don’t plan on depriving myself of what I enjoy, I just need to learn on how to do it a lot better. You know, not going overboard. Enough of my babbling, right?!

Has anyone done Whole30? I’d love to hear your stories. Or if anyone has any tips, recipes, comments on diet/exercise, I’d love to hear ’em! Here I go!

It’s never too late!

I’ve been meaning to post this for like ever. However, that did not happen. Obvs. Life got in the way. I’m sure everyone is familiar with that. I wanted to share everything that happened with my birthday celebrations! I know, you are probably thinking, “Maria, it’s been forever since that happened…”, but stick with me!

Friday night I had some of the girls over for craft night! We all painted planters and two of us made clay coasters. I will not be sharing that part because they did not turn out so hot! You live and learn. But I’ve been SO excited about the planters. I had the idea when I started my new job and sat in my cubicle. I have a shelf in there that just screamed plants. There are no windows where I am, so, plants were a must. But of course, I needed something that would survive without the sun. Succulents and cacti for the win. I’ll be posting a DIY for the planters here soon. I promise. It was a really fun night. We ordered pizza, had some tunes playing, had some drinky drinks, talked…SO MUCH FUN! Here are some scenes:
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Aren’t those some great pictures? It really was such a fun night. I didn’t share any of my pots really since I plan on doing another post. All of the girls did such a wonderful job. Pretty much all of us are artists who will be paid millions one day. One day…

On Saturday I had to take my car in for an oil change. #adultlife. Troy and I then got such after at Panera before heading to Old Navy. Mama needed some new clothes! My sis got me a gift card for there and I really wanted a new outfit to wear for going out. I ended up getting a skirt (or 2) and a top (or 3). Success. Once we got home, I relaxed before taking a shower and getting all pretty. We met my parents for dinner at a Mexican joint. It’s one of my favorite places.

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I got a berry mojito and a chicken chimichanga. Doesn’t it all look DELICIOUS?! I could have that everyday. I then would not feel so great, but you know what I mean. After dinner, we came back to our apartment to hang out before heading out for drinks at Razzles. A local watering hole. My friends met up and we sat outside on the second floor patio. I really hate sitting outside, especially when it’s hot and sunny. But this was covered, and it was cool, so it totally was awesome. I had a handful of shots and drank summer shandy. It was perfect.

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The top picture is my skirt that I got and the bottom picture is of my parents. Aren’t they just adorable?!

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And those are my friends. I absolutely love this collection of pictures. The next day, I had to delete over 100 pictures thanks to one of my friends who shall not be named. 😉 I had such a blast though.

On Sunday, I woke up tired. Not hungover. Thankfully. I slept pretty much all morning. It was glorious. Then a friend and I went to see Pitch Perfect 2. Anyone see it? I liked it! However, I didn’t recognize some of the songs. I think that means I’m old – that’s what my friend said at least. 🙂 We had popcorn, pop, and candy. No one annoyed me in the theater so that’s always a huge plus. It was a successful movie trip.

That was pretty it for my birthday outings. The rest of that Sunday was spent relaxing and waiting for Game of Thrones. There it is! Now you all can stop wondering what I ended up doing to celebrate. 😉

My List

I was going to add this to my previous post, but I didn’t want it to be super long. So, I’ll do it separate. I wanted to make a list of goals/wants/whatever it may be for my to accomplish within a year. I’m sure you’ve seen something like this around the internet already, but this is mine. I’ll be honest, I’m really good at starting something or wanting something, and I never follow through. Ok, never might be pushing it, but it feels like it sometimes. My thinking is, if I put this list together for people to see, I’m more likely to follow through. Hold me accountable, people! Here it goes…

  1. Work Out! I was doing really well for a good while with constantly being at the gym. But, I fell off that wagon. I’m wanting to be more healthy.
  2. Eat Healthier! This is a tough one, but yet an easy one. Not sure how to describe it. Sugar is my weakness. Eating my emotions is something I do. But yet, I know that I can definitely eat a lot healthier. I did it when I accomplished Whole 30. I felt SO GREAT! I need that back.
  3. Read More! I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE reading. Especially World War 2 novels. I really would like to get back into reading books. Not necessarily war novels, just a book that strikes my fancy.
  4. Get My Library Card! This would help me with #3. It’s been a really really long time since I’ve seen it. I’ll need a new one.
  5. Learn to Cook! I can cook. But, can I cook very well? Ha, no! I do really well with baking because there isn’t too much wriggle room. I feel like with cooking, you can do pretty much whatever! I need to get better at it. That way I can treat my husband to something really delicious. Not under seasoned and overcooked chicken…
  6.  Get My Hair Cut! This is an easy one. It’s on my list because I can easily go forever without cutting it. I’ll also complain about it. Like, all the time. I want an asymmetrical cut again.
  7. Grow This Blog! I’m really excited to see where this baby can take me. I know this blog is quite rough right now, but I hope to learn more and make it really cool. Like it’s writer. 😉
  8. Be More Social! I’m quite the introvert. I really like just being at home. I know there is nothing wrong with that, but I’m quick to say no to social gatherings. I easily get anxiety over new situations, big groups, new people, etc. I’m hoping to squash that so to speak and just do!
  9. Scrapbook! I want to make a scrapbook of my wedding. I had a lot of fun (somewhat…) with planning and seeing it all come together. Our wedding was really unique, and I want to make sure I have something to flip through. Steampunk vintage romance forever!
  10. Bake More! I absolutely love baking. I think you know that already. There are SO many recipes that I want try. I just haven’t…
  11. Etsy! I plan on talking about this on a different day.. stay tuned.
  12. TV Time! I watch WAY too much television. There are just so many good shows. What’s a girl to do?! I really want to see what all I can accomplish with less tv time.  I don’t really want to give it up though… the struggle.
  13. Zoo! I adore the zoo. I haven’t been there in about forever. I miss it.
  14. Sister Time! I haven’t visited my sister in way too long of a time. The last time I saw her was my wedding which was in October. She lives out in California and is going to be having a baby in November! I NEED to make my way out there.
  15. Coding! I have basic knowledge on how to code. I really did not enjoy coding in college. I’m a print snob and thought coding was not for me. Silly girl. It’s ALL about coding these days…
  16. Become More Confident! I plan on talking about this topic down the road. I’m sometimes confident. Rarely, perhaps. I want to be happy with who I am and what I look like. There is NO ONE else out there that looks like me. I need to embrace myself. And so what if I don’t fit society’s standards of beauty?! I never want to be a size 2. My body is not made for that size. I like my curves. Perhaps I just don’t want as many.  🙂
  17. Movie By Myself! I want to try it. I’ve always been too nervous to do it in the past and would just make Troy tag along. Yep. I made him go to the Twilight movies with me. Love. I bet I would really like to go to the movies by myself. Well, I typically get annoyed by like everyone. We shall see!
  18. Travel! I’m good with starting out with mini weekend trips. Before I have kiddos, I want to travel. That way grandma and grandpa won’t always be watching them.
  19. Save! Save! Save! I’m not very good at saving money. I need to be better.
  20. Try New Restaurants! There are SO many in Cleveland that I have yet to visit. Troy and I are foodies. He turned me into one.
  21. Try New Food! This goes along with the one above. I’ve really branched out since meeting Troy, but I know that I can be better. Mind over matter.
  22. Crafty! I enjoy being artsy. I’m inspired often. I want to do so many crafts. But I don’t. Actually, I’m hosting a craft night later this week. I can cross this off! I jest.
  23. No More Second Guessing! This kind of goes with being more confident. But I struggle with this often. I never just go for it. I never trust my gut. I’m constantly second guessing myself. And it’s draining.
  24. Be More Kind! Again, this can go with some of the others above. I beat myself up. A lot.  I need to be kind to myself. Would I ever treat my friend the way that I treat myself? No. So therefore, I need to stop. It’s hindering. I need to shine!
  25. Baseball! I haven’t been to a baseball game in a long while. I need to go. I don’t get into watching them on TV. It’s a lot more fun in person. Plus there is beer and hot dogs.
  26. Paint My Nails! I have so many polishes. I just don’t do it. Am I lazy about it? Yes. Do I have patience? No. This should change. I love the idea of painted nails. I just need to actually do them.
  27. Just Be Happy! That’s all. 🙂 I don’t want to stress as much anymore. You can’t help life, but you can take control over the stress. I need to do that.

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Rosemary Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with fries. I can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anywhere in between! However, they have to be crispy. There are some occasions where they could be a little on the softer side – maybe you’re using thick cut fries as a vessel for chili. Yum. Then it’s okay for no crispiness. But today, I was in the mood for some crunchy delicious fries! Recently, as in the last few months, I fell in love. I met a sweet potato, and fell oh so hard. Now, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “What?! How can she be alive for SO many years and JUST now be loving the sweet potato?” Well, you just hold on here. Let me tell you a story…

My first job, I worked in a daycare as an infant teacher. Don’t worry, I didn’t teach much. Just basically hung out with the tiny humans. Adorbs. Anyway, I think it was around Thanksgiving and we were having a potluck. Gimme all the foods! I don’t remember what was actually brought in except one dish. The sweet potatoes. They were covered with brown sugar, maple syrup, and marshmallows. Now, I adore all of those ingredients minus the potato since I haven’t had one prior. I thought to myself, what could go wrong? I have a huge sweet tooth, and who doesn’t enjoy a potato. When I took my first bite of that concoction, I’m pretty positive all my teeth had rotted instantly from all of the sugar. My oh my, I did not like that! I couldn’t even try it again! No way! None for me! I was ruined! Scarred for life! Until a few months ago…

I wanted to become a lot healthier. I’m not a fan of my weight, and I heard of the Whole30. I instantly became intrigued. It was a strict diet, but I had a feeling I could do it. I can go more into detail later about how Whole30 works. For now, lets just keep talking about the beloved sweet potato. Sound good? So, I read about how the sweet potato is actually pretty darn good for you, so I wanted to have it in my diet. My husband was all for it, too. The first night he made me dinner on our Whole30, he had cubed up the sweet potato and dusted them with some Indian spices. I thought I had really enjoyed Indian spices. Nope! I really did not like those potatoes! I couldn’t believe it. Could it just be that I don’t like the actual potato?! I had to try it just one more time. The next morning, my husband made me breakfast. I know, I’m a lucky gal. Sweet potato hash! Fried egg on top, veggies, bacon, herbs. Yum. I absolutely LOVED that breakfast. It finally happened. That’s where my affair with the sweet potato started. I’m sorry it took me this long to love you, sweet potato.

Now, shall we get on with this recipe?

I used two medium sized potatoes. It was just for me and the hubby. I kept the skins on. You should too. They are good for you. Got it? I cut those bad boys in half. Laid the flat side down on the cutting board. Then cut slices. I kept them pretty thin to make sure I can get them thin enough. I’ll be honest, I’m a horrible cutter. Chopper? Not sure what the correct word is here, but I need to work on my cuts to make them even! sliced_potato

Once I had those slices, I took about 2-3 at a time and stacked them. From there, I cut them into strips. Again, you want them thin to ensure the crispiness. I did that for the rest of the half potato, and then worked on the remaining potatoes. strips_potato

Now, aren’t those just beautiful?! And the knife! I feel somewhat comfortable using the big chef knife, but use whatever knife you feel comfortable using. Make sure that it’s sharp. You always want to use a sharp knife. Once you have all of the fries, you’re going to give them a water bath. This is to remove starch from the potatoes. I filled up a big mixing bowl with cold water, dumped the fries in, and swished them around with my hand. Then, just emptied the water. Simple! I laid a tea towel down on the counter to throw the fries down for them to dry. You could use paper towels here if you choose to. You want to remove as much as the moisture as you can. I used the paper towels for this part since I didn’t feel like looking for another towel. Ha! waterbath tea_towel

Next, is the baking sheet. Oh, make sure you have the oven set at 400 degrees. Preheated oven is a must! You could line your baking sheets with foil, or wax paper. I have fancy baking sheets where nothing sticks to them. They’ve got the grooves on them. With the dried fries, place them onto the baking sheet. I used coconut oil spray to coat my fries. Feel free to use olive oil. Toss to coat. Then make sure the fries are in one even layer. If they overlap, they will be soggy. No thank you! Once you have them evened out, next is the seasonings. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh rosemary, and a touch of cayenne pepper. fries_bakingsheets

Ok, so the first sheet, I didn’t feel like laying them out one by one. They are crowded on that baking sheet. Wit the second one, I took the extra 2 minutes and laid them out. Once it’s all seasoned, throw them into the oven! I baked them for 9 minutes, then rotated. I set the timer for 8 minutes, but kept my eye on them since they weren’t all even. There were some that were burning, I removed them first. At this point, the kitchen was smelling pretty darn good. I could not wait! When they looked tasty to me, I took them out. plated_fries

And there you go. Easy. That was just my plate. I didn’t share. You don’t have to either, I give you permission.

Enjoy!