Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015!


Can you believe we are already through 2014??  I sure can't.  The year has flown by and we are hours from 2015!  I hope you all have many blessings in the new year.  Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from Simple Life, Happy Wife


Hope you and your family have a merry and bright season!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Links to Love | 25

Haaaaapy Friday!  Can you believe we made it through another week already?  It seems like once we hit September, the weeks fly by.  I'm hoping that things slow down and we can enjoy the holiday season rather than rushing through it! Now, on to this weeks Friday Favorites.

Favorite Grocery Saver:  10 Ways to Make Your Groceries Last Longer

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

DIY Painted Pencil Jar

So, I got a little crafty yesterday, with a few painting projects.  One turned out well and one...well, let's just say there will be a #DIYfail featured at the end of the blog.  We all have them sometimes, right?

My inspiration for the first project came out of necessity.  I have been using my colored pencils a lot in my planner and the box they are packaged in is a pain to open and close.  I wanted to have the pencils out and accessible on my desk when I do my planning sessions every week, so I thought I'd pretty-fy an old flower vase I had.  I (an probably most of you) keep all my flower vases and they end up collecting dust in the cabinet above my refrigerator.  So, I thought I'd start putting them to use in other areas of my home.

I bought this paint ages ago for a project that I didn't end up doing, but I thought it would be perfect for this and pulled it out.


Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Clean Up Your Facebook News Feed

Unless you've been living in the Amazon and away from the reaches of wi-fi, you've noticed the many changes on your Facebook news feed lately.  Mine is cramped with advertisements, links that friends have shared and posts from all those pages I have LIKED.  Today, I'm going to share some simple tips for how I have cleaned and decluttered my news feed.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Links to Love | 24

I'm back today with another fun favorites and this one is filled with some heart warming and hand warming ideas for Fall!  Let's jump right in!

Favorite Bite:  Steak Fajita Flatbread by Miss In the Kitchen

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Coco the Blogger! (A Pedigree #Stackerz Review)

Hey everyone!  Have you met my dog, Coco?

Coco usually doesn't blog - she likes to curl up next to me on the couch when I am writing my posts. Today is a little different, though.  Coco will be sharing her thoughts (translated by mom) on a new treat she received in the mail!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bleeding Heart Earrings Tutorial - A Thirty Minute Project

Anyone who has tried making jewelry knows how time intensive the process can be.  Today, I'm here to share actually how easy it is to do a quick project that requires minimal bead stranding and design. Today's tutorial is about what I call the Bleeding Heart earrings.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Budget Friendly Fall Decor Ideas

Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year!  Whether it's the cooler (sweater) weather, the smell of yummy soups cooking in the crock pot or the approaching holidays, I find that I am in the best spirits at this time of the year. I also love decorating my home during Autumn as you can spend a little money - or no money at all - and make your abode look beautiful and festive.  Here are some great ideas I've fallen in love with.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Links to Love | 23

It's a Friday in the middle of October, and that means HALLOWEEN is fast approaching!  Whether you enjoy the ghoulish costumes or the colorful foliage and pumpkins, everyone seems to get excited about the official holiday to kick off Autumn.  These are my favorites for this Halloween.

Favorite Sip:  Bloody Shirley Temples

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Planner Use and Organization

This is the long-awaited post on how I use my planner.  I've shown my planner in my mobile office post and it was requested that I show what the inside of my planner looks like and how I use it.  Before that, let me take a step back to say that I have used pretty much every type of agenda book or daily planner on the planet.  I started with the pocket-sized agendas to keep in my purse or backpack when I was in school.  When I graduated from high school, my parents bought me a beautiful personal size leather DayRunner with all the accoutrements.  I used that to keep track of my assignments in classes and my work schedule and it worked great.  I liked this type of planner so much that I purchased the classic Franklin Covey planner (compares to Filofax A5), providing more space so I could keep track of my business that I'd started along with my regular time management needs.

The reason I decided to go back to the regular spiral bound agenda is because I found that when I had the larger planner with the multiple tabs, I wouldn't use all of the sections or if I did, I would forget about them.  I know many love the functionality of the tabs and get tons of use out of them, but I enjoy having everything I need to do in any given week on one page.

It's taken me quite a while to get this post together.  The planner I had been using was from Greenroom Eco, which was sold at Target until early 2014, however the manufacturer has since stopped making them.  :(   So sad.  Mine was an academic planner ending in June, so I needed to replace it this summer.


Monday, October 06, 2014

Sticking to a Schedule Without Getting Sidetracked.

Is it possible to get through a day and accomplish everything on your to-do list without getting sidetracked?  When I was working a full time job it was much easier to stay on track, but now that I work at home, I find it easier to lose focus and let my mind wander.  We've all had days where we could sit in front of the computer and look at all the pretty things on Pinterest or play Candy Crush for hours (because we KNOW one more try and we'll beat that level!).  The secret is to draw yourself back to your responsibilities and keep on keepin' on.  Here are a few helpful hints that I have to use on a daily basis to keep me on schedule.

Keep a Written "To Do" List.
I am a lover of lists.  I have lists of all sorts and I keep several types of lists for any particular subject. For instance, I have a master grocery list that I keep on my fridge.  This is not the same list that I use when I am meal planning or the same one that I take to the grocery story with me.  I've become such an addict of lists, my husband pokes fun, but I truly believe they have a purpose and work.


Friday, October 03, 2014

Links to Love | 22

Happy Friday!  When the blog was on a one month hiatus, one of the biggest things I missed (other than getting to know my followers) was doing my Friday Favorite posts, but just because I wasn't posting them doesn't mean I wasn't saving them up for the first post back after the return...  Let's jump right in!

Favorite Coffee Companion:  Boston Cream Donuts

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Il Dolce Far Niente... I'm Back! (and Some Exciting Things on the Horizon)

So, if you've checked in on the blog in the last month, you would know that I have been absent.  I had the blog down to complete some major updates that included several new features I wanted to debut. I was knee-deep in HTML code and the like when I got sick.  No big surprise since I tend to succumb to my crappy immune system in stressful times.  Well, it hit me hard this time and it took me several weeks to recover.  I am only now - after a month and a half - starting to feel normal again.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Links to Love | 21

Happy Friday y'all!  Let's jump right in to this week's favorites...

Favorite Breakfast:  Fruit & Waffle Breakfast Pizza from Lauren's Latest

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Choosing Healthy Snacks (+36 Snack Ideas)


In the age of drive through restaurants, coffee shops, donut bakeries and ice cream parlors, it is tough to choose healthy snacks when convenience often outweighs common sense.  I can't lie - I often catch myself reaching for the corn chips and cheese dip when I'm looking for something to munch on.  The struggle is real!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Links to Love | 20

It's another Friday and you know what that means - another Friday Favorites!  This is what I'm loving this week.

Favorite Artist:  Leonid Afremov - He has a way of using oil and a palette knife to make art look like confetti.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Current Fitness Routine

Good morning!  It's been awhile since I've shown you an updated fitness routine.  Since I was having some health issues for the majority of July, I took some time off and when I did work out, it was very gentle yoga routines.  I decided to continue with yoga-based workouts for the month of August as well, to allow my body to be able to ease back into the program.  I'm still focusing on the 2x schedule I discussed in my June fitness routines and am doing faster routines for the cardio days and adding a little more strenuous flows for the toning days.  So let's jump into my August workout.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Links to Love | 19

The summer has FLOWN by and, although we have a few weeks left in August, many of you will preparing your children for the new school year.  From back to school clothes shopping, to stacks of new school supplies, to the smell of a freshly-packed lunchbox, I have always loved this time of year. Many of you know that I am crazy for office supplies and can spend a whole lot of time and money in the pen and notebook aisles at our local office supply store.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

What's On My Yoga Playlist

Good morning!  We've made it to yet another Tuesday and we are in the month of August, which means I'm switching up my workout routines.  I've been feeling a little down lately because my health has not been as great as I'd hope.  I'm having more trouble with my medication, so I've had to tone down my workouts for this month.  I'm primarily focusing on yoga and stretching since these types of workouts are gentle on my joints and don't require a whole lot of energy.

For those of you who are new, this is the music I have on my iPod for my yoga routines.  Where the cardio list was quite varied with many genres of music featured, the yoga list for this month is more slow-paced ballad or poetical music. I've also not broken this playlist into warm up, workout and cool down, since yoga is one complete flow.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Links to Love | 18

We have come to the end of July and that means it's time for my July Favorites!  Without further ado, let's get on with the show.  Why not start with dessert?

Favorite Dessert:  Chocolate Lasagna Parfait

Links to Love | 17

This week marked five months until Christmas day.  Five months!  I can't even believe how fast this year has flown by.  I am not, by any means, ready for the holiday season, but thanks to an abundance of Christmas in July ideas floating around the blogosphere, I can start my planning for decorations, food and even gifts way ahead of time.  These are all my favorite Christmas ideas using summer-appropriate supplies.  Enjoy!
*Update:  This post is going up a week late because my wifi has been down and I didn't have internet access.  Thanks for your patience!*

Favorite Santa:  Santa Hat Brownie Bites

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What Happens Next?

Happy Tuesday!  It's such a beautiful day outside - the air is cool and crisp and the sky is sunny.  I might take the dog out for a run before the humidity sets in.

If you follow along with my Tone Up Tuesday posts regularly, you'll know that I have lost a tremendous amount of weight over the last several years and was trying to find a happy medium between "being thin" and "being fit".  Well today, I'm going to open a conversation about what happens when you've met your goal weight.  When you are the ideal size you want to be, when you've crushed all the workout routines you've picked up, when your diet is now your regular routine - what happens next?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quoted | 10

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I have been having some crazy dreams about things I have in the works for the blog, for my relationships, for my life.  Sometimes, I feel like dreams clear the path for inspiration and reaffirm what I feel in my heart is the path I should be taking.  I'm hoping my dreams come to fruition and, if that's the case, there are big things to come for this blog!

What are you dreaming about?

The post Thankful Thursday - Quoted first appeared on A Simpler Grace.  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Seven Yummy Granita Recipes

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than a icy, sweet granita.  Whether you add alcohol or keep it virgin, it's a great way to enjoy your favorite beverage in slushee form.  Here are my seven favorite granita recipes.

One:  Strawberry Rose Wine Granita by Gourmande in the Kitchen

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Cleaning Hack - Completely Cleaning Your Foodsaver

Raise your hand if you have a Foodsaver or any other type of vacuum sealer.  I'm guessing there are a lot of raised hands. My husband and I purchased ours from Costco years ago and it was one of the best investments we've ever made.  We like to purchase meat and cheese in bulk and the hubster is always bringing fresh fish home from his trips out to the bay. We would be lost (and a lot poorer) without our Foodsaver.  But we have a horror story...


Friday, July 18, 2014

Links to Love | 16

The weeks seem to be flying by and we'll be into Autumn before you know it.  I'm already seeing lots of school supply ads on television and local craft stores already have Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations in!  I feel like yelling "SLOW DOOOOWN!"  I don't even want to think about the holiday season yet.  We are only halfway through July!  I digress.  Let's get on with this week's favorites, shall we?

Favorite Freeze:  Cherry Vanilla Yogurt Popsicles from Roxy's Kitchen

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Cool Break (My Week In Review)

We have had a break in our typical 90+ degree summer temps this week, a lovely surprise!  It's been in the high 70's during the day, but has dropped down into the 50's overnight, so I've been needing a sweatshirt when I go on my morning walks with the dogs.

Because our summers in Northern Virginia usually bring very high humidity, we don't get to spend a whole lot of time outdoors until things cool down in the fall. We have really taken advantage of this week and it's cooler temps.

We gave Coco a bath in the front yard with the hose, which she loves!  She usually gets her bath in the tub.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Links to Love | 15

We made it to yet another Friday.  Woo Hoo!!  Hope you have fun plans for the weekend, but first, I hope you enjoy my selection of favorites for the week.

Favorite Summer Slow Cooker:  Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Listening to Your Body

I have not had the best week when it comes to my health and I'm disappointed because I wasn't able to finish my #fitbyfourth challenge.  My Addison's is flaring up really bad and I've been dealing with severe joint pain, chronic fatigue (I'm sleeping about 20 hours a day), headaches, inflammation in my chest and lungs as well as in my mouth - think a tooth ache in your entire mouth.  To put it in layman's terms, I feel like death.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!  No Friday Favorites post today, in light of the holiday weekend.  I'll be back with my regular posting schedule on Monday morning.  I hope you all have a lovely, fun-filled weekend!



Thursday, July 03, 2014

Quoted | 09


I hope you plan to spend the holiday weekend with people who push more happiness your way...

The post Thankful Thursday - Quoted first appeared on A Simpler Grace.  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

What I Ate...Tuesday?

Good morning folks!  I was up really late last night enjoying my yummy rockfish tacos with fish reeled in by my own husband - and writing a post about it!  Please excuse me if I'm a little groggy this morning, but I wanted to put up a quick post that follows along with my regular fitness/health series.  FOOD.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Easy Grilled Rockfish Tacos Recipe

Happy Monday night!  It's very unusual for me to post this late at night (normally I schedule my posts for early morning) but tonight I'm sharing what we made for dinner - grilled rockfish tacos.

My husband and his friend went out on a charter boat last weekend and caught a ton of rockfish or striped bass.  If you aren't familiar with a rockfish, here is a photo:


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Changes

Happy Sunday!  I'm up to my ears with images, html code and some changes to the blog (more on that later), so I'll leave you with a thought for the day.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Wrap Bracelet Tutorial

One of my favorite hobbies is making jewelry.  I've been making bracelets, necklaces and earrings for over ten years. It started when my husband and I were in a jewelry store getting my engagement ring inspected and cleaned when we saw this beautiful necklace that was several strands of gold seed beads and a Venetian glass pendant.  The price on the necklace was over $800!  I looked at my hubby and said, "I can make that for less than 20 bucks" and I did.  I found very similar supplies in my local Michaels store and completed my necklace in less than a day.  Since then, I've loved the craft.  I've even sold quite a few pieces to friends and family.

Today, I'm going to show you how to make one of my favorite styles of bracelets - the wrap bracelet. I don't know about you, but fiddling with a clasp with one hand to get the standard bracelet on is a pain in the you-know-what.  It's also difficult to find bracelets that fit my wrist well - either they are too big and roll down my hand, or they are too small and "choke" my wrist all day long.  While I do make standard bracelets with the clasp, my favorites are ones that just wrap around your wrist and fit any size.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

#FitbyFourth Check In

Good morning!

At the beginning of the month, I shared about the current fitness challenge I was involved in - the Fit by Fourth campaign.  We are just over a week until the end of the challenge and I thought I'd do a check-in about my progress.

When I started this challenge, we were asked to take a photo of ourselves.  Here is mine.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Links to Love | 13

We made it to Friday - and a happy one it is.  Today, we're talking my favorite burgers and sandwiches.

Favorite Turkey Burger:  Taco Turkey Burger

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Quoted | 08

Happy Thursday.  Today I'm sharing a quick note about moving forward from struggles of the past.

One of my big problems in life is that I over-analyze things that happened in the past. No matter the situation, whether it was negative or positive, I always waste time afterward thinking about whether I should have said this rather than that or did something differently to change the outcome of that event, and I know some of you are in the same boat.  I feel like someone needs to snap in front of my face and shout "wake up!" and bring me back to reality.

Then I found this quote from Dr. Oz.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Brain Training

It's Tuesday and you know what that means - another post about health and fitness.  Except this isn't going to be a normal post about health and fitness.  Today, we're going to talk about brain fitness. Yes, you heard me right!

Exercising your brain is just as important as the exercise you do for your body, only it's probably a little easier and a lot more fun.  Some studies show that exercising your brain or "brain training" can ward off diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia, which are no good, so why not have a little fun and keep your brain feeling young and fit?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fun Fourth of July Food

This week marks the first day of summer and it feels like it!  I love all the holidays that fall during summertime and Fourth of July is the best!  I love the fireworks, parades, time at the pool or beach, the big festival our town has that day and the FOOD!  Here are some fun and delicious Independence Day recipe ideas I found on the blogosphere.

Fruit & Brownie Skewers via Mel's Kitchen

Friday, June 13, 2014

Links to Love | 12

Happy Friday the 13th!  Happy Father's Day weekend!  In honor of these events, I've put together my 13 favorite Father's Day ideas.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Current Fitness Routine

Good morning friends!

Today I'm going to show you what I'm currently doing for a fitness routine.  At this point in time, I'm working out twice a day.  Now don't go thinking I'm She-Ra or something.  These aren't all hard core workouts and there are some days I don't feel like doing anything so I don't.  One thing to remember:  exercising is better than not exercising at all.  Whether you do it 2 or 3 times a week or every day, getting your butt out there is better than sitting on your couch eating potato chips!  We all have busy days, days we like poo and IT IS OK to miss a workout.

I try to alternate my cardio and toning on different days of the week and fill in with yoga and "shifts" devoted to stretching only.  Each session or shift is usually 20-30 minutes, depending on what type of routine I'm working on.  I do my first shift early in the morning before I have breakfast and the second one is sometime in the afternoon or early evening.  I also get lots of additional exercise in by walking two dogs several times a day.  (One dog kinda walks me.)

Friday, June 06, 2014

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Quoted | 07

Good morning!  I wanted to share a quote I recently heard that touched me and it goes along the same lines of what I'm trying to live by writing in my gratitude journal.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

My Mobile Office

Happy hump day!  Every time I say that I think about the camel in that commercial - "HUMP DAAAAY!" :)

Today, I'm going to share with you - my secret to being productive throughout the day - my mobile office.  I have a formal office set up with a desk and a bookshelf and everything, but I've never been one to enjoy sitting at a desk while working on the computer, writing blog posts, spending hours on Pinterest...  I much prefer finding a cozy spot on the couch with my laptop and usually at least two, if not three of my fuzzies curled up close by.

Because I don't spend a lot of time at my desk, I like to keep the items I access frequently withing reaching distance.  This includes my planner/calendar, my blog planner, my Kindle, among quite a few other things. I keep everything is this gorgeous Vera Bradley large reusable shopper in Twirly Birds Pink, which is now retired.


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

#FitbyFourth Campaign

Good morning!

Today, I'm going to talk about setting fitness goals, and I don't mean the ones you set at the beginning of the year and don't follow through on after a few weeks.  I mean setting goals that are actually achievable. Whether you have ten pounds to lose or fifty, if you want to tone up to fit in your jeans better or plan to run a marathon, you need to set both short term and long term goals.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Seven Summer Cooking Tips

So, the school year is coming to an end and summer is beginning and that means lots of time to play and enjoy the warm weather.  I feel like summertime is busier now than ever, with summer camps, vacations, endless days by the pool, festivals and fairs, parks and time with friends.  One of the things most people don't want to do is spend a lot of extra time in the kitchen preparing meals.  We want quick and easy recipes with minimal prep time but don't want to skimp on the taste factor.  I'm going to share some of my favorite tips to make delicious meals in a matter of minutes so you can spend your time enjoying the season!


Sunday, June 01, 2014

#100HappyDays Recap

Just checking in for a quick recap of my last week of #100HappyDays.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Links to Love | 10

We are nearing the end of the month and today is the day I'm going to share my favorites of the month! Everybody buckled in?  Here we go!

Favorite Meal: Stouffer's Vegetable Lasagna.  We tried this at my house last week and it was a big hit.
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Gratitude Journal

I recently started keeping a gratitude journal as a way of trying to keep a positive attitude.  It is so important to stay positive and think about our blessings these days with depressing stories on the news, a flailing economy and those friends on social media who do nothing but complain about how bad they have it.  You know the people I'm talking about.  A lot of people, myself included, are sponges and tend to "soak in" the attitudes of those around them and, in turn, develop those attitudes themselves.  I have found that if I surround myself with negative things, I tend to get stuck in the same negative rut, both emotionally and physically.  Since this is the case, wouldn't the opposite work the same?  If we surround ourselves with positive things, will that make our lives better?

I thought it was worth a try.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How I Organize My Desktop

Anyone who owns a computer knows how easily your desktop can become cluttered with icons, files and links.  The secret to productivity when working on your computer is to keep it organized.  When everything is orderly, you know where to find what you are looking for and you aren't wasting time searching through file after file or singing the "Maybe I deleted it..." tune.

Most computer systems have the default to place your icons to one side of your screen in the order they were created and this works fine if you just have a few things on your desktop.  For those of us with lives and work and things to keep track of, this isn't the best organization system.  Last year, I discovered a pretty way to keep the work space tidy.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Supplements I Take

Hi there!  Happy Tuesday!

Today, I'm sharing about the vitamin and supplement regimen I'm currently on.  Each of these supplements have been recommended by my physician who knows my complete health history and the prescription medications I take.  It is very important to check with your health care provider before starting a new supplement, as they might not be recommended if you have certain health problems or are taking certain medications.

As I mentioned in my Our Decision to Eat Clean and Organic post, I am a vegetarian. I don't eat any red meat, poultry or pork products.  I do, however, eat some seafood.  One of the biggest hurdles of being a vegetarian is the possibility of becoming vitamin deficient because you are lacking certain items in your daily diet.

In addition to this, I also have an autoimmune illness called Addison's Disease, which means my adrenal glands have failed and my body no longer produces adrenaline or cortisol, two hormones that are essential in helping your body deal with stress.  I take several prescription medications to artificially maintain these levels and keep me healthy.  One of the side effects of these meds is that they deplete my already impaired immune system.  Having taken these factors into account, my doctor and I have selected the following supplements for me to add to my daily routine.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!


I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with delicious food, fun activities, the company of dear friends and family and the remembrance of those who put their lives on the line for our country.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spotlight Saturday - Rolling Thunder

You may or may not have heard about a "little" thing called Rolling Thunder.  Every Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of veterans and motorcycle enthusiasts make their way into Arlington, Virginia to meet in the parking lot of the Pentagon.  From there, they all cruise into Washington, DC where they surround the Vietnam Veteran War Memorial.  It is a breathtaking thing to see and hear.

Riders are assembling in the Pentagon parking lot

Friday, May 23, 2014

Links to Love | 09

Happy Friday!  ...and Happy (almost) Memorial Day!  Today, I'm sharing my favorite Memorial Day ideas - from food to decorations to fun things to do.  It's a great time to have fun with friends and family, but we can't forget the real reason behind the day and that is to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to keep America free.  I hope you and your family have a safe and happy weekend!

Favorite Fruity Treat:  Patriotic Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
via Cupcakes Kisses 'n Crumbs