Tag Archives: Healthy

Thriving Thursday: Free Makeover?

Caution: Men you may be very bored by this post. Ladies on the other hand, huddle around, it’s story time. Ok, so I was perusing TJ Maxx looking for summer dresses when a woman walked up to me, “I just have to tell you, you have beautiful skin.” Hah! Maybe from over there but get a little closer and you’ll see how wrong you are. “No! You have gorgeous skin!”

This woman was about my age, stunning with a brunette bob and huge almond eyes. And dressed stylishly to boot. And here she was telling me that I had gorgeous skin. I knew there was something wrong with this picture. But I went with it anyway. I was curious where she was going with this. Turns out, she works for Mary Kay. If you provide the location and friends, they will come over and do your makeup for free! Obviously they hope that you buy something but there’s no obligation. So she took my number and promised to call.

I got back to the office later that afternoon and my coworker, Elle, sidles over to me and says, “You’ll never guess what happened to me today. A woman walked up to me in TJ Maxx and said I had beautiful skin…” You can guess where it goes from here. Same woman, same store, different days. And we are coworkers!

So obviously it’s some way for her to make money but at the bottom of the situation there were FREE MAKEOVERS! So we thought it over, we communicated with Emily, our Mary Kay consultant, and we decided that we wanted to get them done before a night out.

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So a few Saturday’s ago, I cooked up some appetizers and several ladies, including Elle, sat around my dining room table with bare faces. It’s amazing how naked you feel without makeup on, especially around relative strangers. Of course I forgot to take photos when all the food and makeup was on the table but the above photo is us with Emily looking all beautimous.

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All the significant others sat and watched March Madness while Emily guided us through our makeovers. She gave each of us some great tips and gorgeous makeup supplies. Being the hostess, I got a sweet deal of $75 worth of makeup for $35.

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After we had finished the makeovers and the men had told us how gorgeous we looked, we went line dancing! It was a fantastic night and so cheap! I love the makeup and face wash I bought and Emily got another party out of it. I highly recommend a Mary Kay Makeover to anyone looking for a fun Ladies Night. If you live in Peoria, let me know and I’ll get you Emily’s contact info.

I hope you’re all having fantastic days. Love and hugs – Ash

ps. I’ll be on vacation in Louisiana this weekend for a good friend’s wedding so no post tomorrow or Monday. Enjoy your weekends!

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Tasty Tuesday: Sweet and Salty Popcorn

What do you cook when the entire meal will be appetizers? I knew that most people wouldn’t be hungry for a full meal so I planned out four appetizers instead. They all worked perfectly, except for this one. This took two tries but it was SO worth it. I got the original recipe from Sammie Kennedy. This stuff melts in your mouth. It’s gooey and chewy and crunchy. Salty AND sweet. YUM

I still had the microwave at this point but I was trying to wean myself off it. Turns out popping popcorn on the stove can be kind of tricky. This is where the first attempt failed. When I tried again the next day I was significantly less distracted and followed the instructions below to a tee. And of course it worked.

How to Pop Perfect Popcorn on the stove! – Simple Recipes

SweetSaltyPopcorn-Published

Sweet and Salty Popcorn (servings: 6, cook time: 25 minutes)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups popped kernels
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (barely increases blood sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Pop the popcorn in an air popper or over the stove.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and coconut sugar. Stir in the vanilla, honey, and cinnamon. Stir frequently. When it reaches a boil, remove from heat.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture over the popped popcorn. Add the salt on top. Mix gently with a wooden or plastic spoon so you don’t crush the kernels.
  4. Lay popcorn out on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until hardened.
  5. Break off the sheet and serve. Enjoy! It will keep a couple of days until the popcorn goes stale.

Ashley Life Update:

Vitamix

 

We went and got the Vitamix last night! I’m so flippin’ excited. My week is insane so I won’t have much time to experiment but I’ll be using it whenever possible and I’m sure you’ll all be hearing about it. Also, we found a fantastic deal on Stainless Steel cookware. 20% off and a rebate for a Cuisinart bowl set. It’s gonna take a little bit of saving to bounce back but I am SO excited to use this stuff. This night was better than Christmas. YAY!

 

Simple Weekends Are In.

We did it. I know it doesn’t seem like a huge feat but it felt incredible. We turned it all off. We turned off our phones, computers, and TV. No technological communication with the outside world for an entire 24 hours.

But we were productive still! We managed to go thrift shopping, learn backgammon, reorganize the kitchen, clean the apartment, cook breakfast and dinner, and start an awesome new project (more on that to come). I woke up this morning feeling like I’d had a full 24 hours rest. When we succumb to the TV  all day, I feel like the day passed without me noticing.

So we’re committing. Every Sunday that we are at home, it will be a Simple Sunday. We’ll spend the day together doing everything and nothing. I can’t wait 🙂

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On a different note, we went back to line dancing on Saturday night! My regular followers will remember this date a few weeks ago when we spent the evening at Stone Country Saloon. Well I fell in love with line dancing and have wanted to return ever since. I got the hang of a few more dances and am set on going back until I’m a line dancing pro. I’m still working on getting Mike out for the two-step (he’s getting there).

So, in conclusion. Simple Sundays are officially in. Line dancing is officially awesome. And I am officially relaxed. How were all your weekends?

Love and a smiling face,
Ash

 

Just Turn It Off.

Have you ever run into a pole? Fallen off a curb? Swerved into the other lane? Crashed your car? Ignored your friends or significant other? Have you ever checked out of reality and into technology?

If you have a phone, TV, computer, tablet, or game console, you have. Technology is awesome. It has absolutely morphed our world and the way we communicate with each other. For instance, I can have a quick text conversation with my friend in China when she wakes up in the morning and I’m just about to hit the hay. And I can have a weekly conversation with my Gran just to hear each other’s voices.

But the real question is: do you know when to turn it off? When was the last time you turned off everything with a power button? Unless you were on an airplane or suffering a power outage, when was the last time you turned off all the screens?

In this crazy modern world, I think we need to be very careful that we don’t lose all forms of social interaction. But also, how do we just shut it all down and relax?

This weekend, Mike and I are going to have Simple Sunday. We will turn off the TV, our computers, and our phones. We will read books, play board games, and talk to each other. Maybe we’ll even cook together or something hoity toity like that. But we WILL NOT have any connection to the outside world unless we go out and talk to people.

I’m excited. But I’m also weirdly nervous. How do I relax my brain without TV? What if there’s an emergency and my family needs to reach me? Board games are boring! And what if I want to do a little online shopping? These sound like stupid questions but wouldn’t you be feeling the same way?

That’s terrible! So why don’t you try it? A simple day without technology. Talking to people. Face to face. And teaching your brain to relax without any outside help.

Let’s reconvene on Monday. Happy weekend Ya’ll!

 

Workout Wednesday: Don’t Eat Too Soon Beforehand

Happy Wednesday Ya’ll! I had a smoothie way too close to the beginning of this workout and it threatened to come up for 20 minutes after I was done. Whoops! So just make sure you have a relatively clear belly and are ready to work those muscles until they fatigue!

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

LowJacks1LowJacks2

 1. low jacks

TriDip

2. tri dips (beginner-bent legs, advanced-straight legs)

PlieSquat

3. plie squat

crunches

4. crunches (feet on the ground, legs 90°, or legs straight in the air)

MountainClimber

5. mountain climbers

PushUp

6. pushups

+ Fit Minute. Choose one of the following exercises. Do it for a full minute at 100% effort. Count how many you do and record it. We’ll be doing these after every workout from now on:

  • Level 1 – side to side steps or jumping jacks
  • Level 2 – push ups
  • Level 3 – burpees

I hope you all have wonderful Wednesdays! 🙂

 

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries. I’ve only had them once or twice in restaurants but I ALWAYS love them. So when I saw this post from Snack Girl, I figured I’d try it. Holy Bajolies these things are good. I did it a tiny bit differently from Snack Girl’s original recipe so here is my version:

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We ate them with Santa Fe style scrambled eggs: eggs, almond milk, red pepper, spinach. Then salsa and avocado on top. YUM.

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Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (yams)
  • coconut oil or grapeseed oil (because it’s high heat)
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes then cut them into thin lengths. The thinner the cuts, the more crispy and delicious the fries.
  3. Lay out the sweet potato in single layers on the baking sheets.
  4. Sprinkle them with oil then with all the spices. Be conservative with the spices.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes then grab some tongs (or burn your fingers) and flip every fry. Continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until the fries are golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!

Ashley Life Update: It’s snowing here again! The second storm in a week! Since I can work from home most mornings and my workouts are all here too, I’m loving this. I can just sit at our dining table, working and looking at the pretty snow 🙂

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Thriving Thursday: Zucchini Boats

Grains and sugars before bed are bad. Grains hit your tongue and turn into sugar. Sugar is digested and stored in your body until you use it. If you don’t it turns into fat. In that vain, I’ve been trying to cut pasta and other grains out of our dinner plates and limit the amount of dessert I have. How do you make a delicious dinner with a base of vegetables rather than pasta??

Most of the recipes I have posted fulfill this requirement but Zucchini Boats are some of my favorite. (check out the panel at the top of this page for “recipes”) Zucchini Boats are fun to make, really tasty, and the name is just awesome. I adapted this recipe from my Maximized Living Nutrition Plan book.

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Zucchini Boats (2-4 servings, I doubled it for the next night)

Ingredients (As many organic as possible! Especially the meat)

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3/4 lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter or line a baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. Trim the ends of the zucchini then cut them in half lengthwise.
  3. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/2″ thick shell. Chop the pulp.
  4. Over medium-high heat, cook zucchini pulp, ground turkey, onion, mushroom, and peppers. For about 10 minutes, until meat is brown. Drain the juice.
  5. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  6. If you’re saving some for tomorrow, seal up half the boats in a glass container (or plastic if you must)
  7. Place the remaining shells in the baking pan. Spoon the mix into all the zucchini shells.
  8. Bake the boats for 20 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!