Thanks-living // April

I thought I'd share a few things random things first....


As you can see above I now have brown hair again. It’s going to take a while for me to feel one hundred percent comfortable with it but I’m trying to make my hair healthier and the first step is to stop coloring it. I will miss the red hairs but I love the brown too.

I also love polka dots so much and this is probably one of my most favorite shirts. It makes me smile.

I went to hot yoga last night for the first time in over a week and it was fantastic. I woke up this morning feeling sore in all the right places. Gosh, I miss that feeling!

I have lots and lots of packing to do tonight for a weekend away in NJ. So much wedding fun this weekend for my future sister-in-law Jane, and her future hubby, Reinaldo! She is going to be such a beautiful bride and I’m so thankful to be a part of their wedding day.

Today is the last day of April and I really do have so much to be thankful for. Only five more months till my wedding day and I honestly can’t believe it. We still have a lot to do and I know the little things will start adding up so I’m trying to stay calm and collected during this process. I know I’ve said it before but I am so thankful for a fiancé that makes all of this wedding stuff fun. At the end of the day on September 28th the only thing that will matter is the fact that we are married. I will be his wife and he will be my husband. So all the other stuff is just for fun and trust me, I am excited about all that fun stuff, but I am so incredibly excited to call that man my husband.


Making wine..... and drinking it.

Last year for Mother’s Day I bought my mom a night of fun with a wine making class. In typical Mom/Daughter fashion we waited till the LivingSocial was almost expired to use it because that’s just how we do things. I’m so glad we had a little night of fun, just the two of us! The group that we attended the class with was so much fun and we had a great time. Grapes and Grains is such a fun place and the owners of the store really do a great job at making you feel at home when you are there. We started the night learning the 3 stages of making wine and we also enjoyed drinking all the different blends of wine that Grapes and Grains has to offer. It was delicious! After some fun with wine we switched to the beer side of the store for a little more tasting. The beer was definitely my favorite part so I was happy to end the night on a high note.










Wonderful way to start the weekend on a Friday night!! The rest of the weekend was just as wonderful even though it was raining the entire time. It didn't bother me too much since all the rain gave me an excuse to wear my Hunters. It's the little things, ya know?

changes.

“We care more about what others think of us than what God thinks of us. We bow down to the image of this world when we continually measure ourselves by the world’s standards of success and beauty.”
-Regina Franklin

When I heard that quote a couple weeks ago at the Women’s Conference at my church I felt my thought process change instantly. Those words have haunted me since then. In the past two months I have changed my habits. I've changed the way I thought about my body and I've changed what I've decided to put into my body as well. My body is important and I want to live a full life. A life full of energy and strength and gratification. I want it to be filled to the brim with happiness. I want to feel light and free.

For a while now I did not feel this way. At the beginning of the New Year I realized I was not living a healthy lifestyle. I would make excuses for the disgusting food I would eat and then wonder why I had no energy to work out. I wasn't ready to make a change but after my 26th Birthday I knew it was time.

Twenty-six. That's young. Too young to feel tired and lazy. Too young to not care. Too young to stop trying. So I made a decision...

Change.
If I wanted to have change in my life I was going to need change my heart. I started to think about why I wanted to change. That's when I realized that this change wasn't just for me. It was for my future husband and family. It was to motivate others. I wanted change so I could do His work in a better way. The Lord gave me this body for a reason - to wake up every morning and live for Him in the best way I can. I decided to change.
Change for happiness inside and out.

Since the beginning of this journey I have lost 8-10 pounds depending on the day. I’ve also lost around 10 inches which means my clothes are fitting better and some are even too big now. I didn’t decide to make this change to become skinny. I want to be healthy so it is just the beginning of this journey for me. I am proud of myself for the pounds and inches lost but I am also proud that I want it. I want to stick with this change and make it a lifestyle instead of a race to fit in that white dress. It’s about so much more than that. It’s about a full life & a healthy life all to glorify Him so at the end of the day I can bow down to my Maker. Not myself, this world or the lies that fill it. To Him alone.

Soup to Salad!

A couple weeks back I shared my Fiesta Chicken Soup recipe for a cold night but now with the warmer weather on the way and the beautiful nights I’m not really craving a hot soup. Of course since I have a serious problem, I crave Mexican food every day… it can be a serious problem since most of the options aren't particularly healthy. After thinking about that delicious soup I thought it might be nice to have a summer twist to it and make it into a salad. I also love using the Crockpot to make meals which makes this recipe super easy!!



Directions:
pour enough salsa in the Crockpot to cover the bottom of the bowl
{I use the large jar of garlic lime salsa from Wal-Mart, super cheap and super yummy!}
put however many chicken breasts you will need in the Crockpot
add the rest of the salsa on top of the chicken
 turn on Crockpot to cook for 6-8 hours or the low setting if you are letting it cook all day
{I usually do this in the morning before I go to work so it will be ready when I get home}
after the cooking is completed the chicken will be tender and super tasty
take two forks and shred the chicken while stirring all of the salsa and chicken together
fill a bowl full of romaine lettuce
add ½ cup of drained and rinsed black beans
add ½ an avocado
add 1 teaspoon of jalapeños
{or tablespoon if you like it spicy like me!}
sprinkle ¼ cup of 2% fiesta blend cheese
place about a palm full of chicken on top of your salad
add 1 tablespoon of sour cream for the dressing
squeeze a lot of lime on top for an extra kick and enjoy


I love this healthy version of a taco salad! If you want to have a little more carbs you can always use brown rice instead of lettuce to have a tasty rice bowl. The rice bowl is also a great option to use the leftovers for lunch. I hope you all are having a wonderful week and hopefully you will love this Fiesta Chicken Salad as much as I do. I seriously wanted to lick my bowl when I was finished!! It would have been even better with a cold margarita but I'll save that for a weekend treat! ;)

Sips on a rooftop.

On Saturday night I enjoyed a new place with a fun group of people! The temperature decided to drop a little over the weekend but it was still beautiful even with the chilly breeze! I had a nice glass of Malbec while overlooking the tops of the Downtown Greenville, twinkle lit trees and because of that mentioned cold breeze I got to snuggle in close to my man. The night was full of stories {my favorite involving the art of "washing" your hair in the toilet} which of course caused a lot of laughter... No better way to spend a Saturday night if you ask me!

^^ hello flash... still love this and definitely love her too!

^^the picture i took and loved but no one else did.


It was one of those weekends where everything was just wonderful...
double dates, sushi, karaoke, wedding planning, furniture shopping and a little drive by visit to our new house which only makes me more thankful for the family that live in it now. I feel so much happiness knowing that The Lord is so loved in that house already and I know Peter and I are truly blessed to have met this loving family! Jesus is so good to us and I never want to forget His blessings! 

pizza, pizza!

Sometimes you just need pizza… right? I know I do. My mom came up with this super easy and healthy recipe for a healthy pizza at home! Its really simple and you can change anything to match your taste and fix that craving you might have.


 
Directions:
cut the whole wheat pita pocket in half making two small pizza crusts
spread two table spoons of your favorite pizza sauce on the two crusts
{i used my favorite roasted red pepper pesto sauce instead}
layer all the toppings you desire
{i used some left over baked chicken, jalapeño and sweet peppers}
sprinkle a  1/4 cup of low-fat cheese on the two pizzas
place in a toaster oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until the cheese is nice and bubbly
remove from oven and serve with a small salad and low-fat dressing










Toasty, crunchy and gooey yumminess that is also a healthy option! Hope you all have fun trying out different combinations and creations!! If you find one you love leave a comment and let me know so I can try it out also!!

I'm also thinking about making this a weekly occurance. A healthy recipe that is fast and yummy might be nice around here, ya know?
Happy Humpday Everyone!

body and soul.


The women’s conference was so wonderful and I absolutely loved every second of it!! It was overwhelming in the most perfect way and I truly learned so much. I was also excited to attend this conference with my cousin, Meghan. We are just now getting to know each other and I’m starting to wonder why it took us so long because we have so much in common and have a ton of fun together. So thankful for this new friendship that we have found.

Most of the conference was spent taking notes and learning from the speakers but we also had some time to worship. Oh my goodenss, let me talk about that for a minute... I have never felt so emotional during a worship service in my entire life. For the first time ever I was in a room full of women that were singing to their Savior and not even once did I hear a man’s voice. It completely shook me. I had tears streaming down my cheeks and I couldn’t stop it. Everywhere I looked I saw women wiping their faces and raising their hands without any second thought. It made me feel strong and important and worthy of this womanhood that God has given me. He made us to be strong, strong enough to carry the feminine parts of His love and share it with the world.
  
We sang this song during our worship time and I couldn't help but feel the true power of His love.

You Are Faithful
the village church

faithful are You
and gracious to us
that You would save us
a guilty race

a name so holy
so sweet yet mighty
how could You place it
on our heads

You are faithful
You are gracious
You alone are God

Your name will always be
the only covering
over all my guilt and shame
Your name

You are faithful
You are gracious
You alone are God


yea... so good right? Imagine almost 900 women in one room singing this to the Lord. It was amazing! I will never forget the way I felt in that room. All the many things I learned about my body AND my soul will always stay with me. I am starting the Ezer Bible Study at my church next week and I pray that I soak everything in so I can help encourage others through my writing on this blog. I want everything I share here to point toward His love and His redemption... that is all I want.
He is everything.

ready to learn about my body image....?

I’m pretty excited about this weekend at home after my long weekend away! It will be filled with a lot of time with Jesus and I am so thrilled. I love my church and the programs that they have for women and men. I truly believe that they have a big part in how my relationship with Peter works so well and I am thankful for that.


via

This weekend I’m going to attend the Ezer Conference above and it has been a long time coming. The last time an Ezer Conference was available Peter and I had been dating {again} for a month and everything I learned rocked me to the core. After almost a year since then so many things have changed. My life is in a COMPLETELY different place now and I can’t wait to learn even more about what being a woman of God is and what my thoughts on body image should be. Can't wait to soak all this knowledge up and share some of it with all of you. {To see what I learned last time click here}

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend full of sunshine. It's supposed to be gorgeous here in Greenville and I am pretty excited about that too!

Weekend fun with da ladies!

Over the weekend in Charleston for the Cooper River Run it was pure crazy town. So many people in one place but surprisingly I wasn’t overwhelmed. I assumed it would be very hectic and a little scary once the run started but everything was so organized and seamless. I guess after so many years of having the Cooper River Run they know what they are doing by now. Even though my mom and I walked the seven miles instead of running we still had such a great time. The weather was PERFECT and the brunch after was so delicious. Virginia’s on King Street is a must if you ever visit the Charleston area. You might have to wait a while but trust me, you won’t regret it!

After some shopping the rest of the weekend was spent on Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. Lots of food, drinks and of course a little too much sun but I wouldn’t expect anything less for the first weekend getaway for the Spring! It seems like the Spring weather has finally decided to stick around for a little while and I’m not complaining one bit.

^^ Finally got a shot with the bridge behind us!

 
^^ Doing our Urrrsher pose at brunch.

^^ the omelet special for the day... grilled shrimp, sausage, garlic, peppers, onions and parmesan cheese with potatos and fruit. oh. my. gosh. it was perfect!

^^ I thought it was hillarious to find out how similar Peggy and I are. I kind of understand why my mom loves her so much now... ;-)

^^ Awesome bands at the Wind Jammer on Saturday night!


Charleston... i love you. So happy we had some time together and I can't wait for it to happen again. Soon, please?!?

Mmm, mmmm good!!!

Sometimes on a cold rainy day you just need some soup. Especially when this cold rainy day falls right in the middle of a beautiful spring week and for that reason my body needed some soup last Thursday. Over the past month I have been more careful about the food I eat and trying to stay more active. Thankfully I have had some great results and I’m sure I will be sharing more about that a little later down the road but for today I am going to share one of my most favorite soup recipes.  It always hits the spot and with my love of Mexican food it settles those cravings in a healthy way!

Directions//
Put the 10 oz can of chicken in a pot
Add 32 oz carton of 100% fat free, low sodium chicken broth
Add one can of Rotel
Stir and blend, place lid on pot
Wait for soup to boil
Add two handfuls of brown rice
Stir and blend, place lid on pot then remove from heat for 5-6 minutes or until rice is cooked
Squeeze juice from one lime and stir
Spoon soup into bowl
Add half of a sliced avocado
Sprinkle a small handful of low fat shredded cheese and as much cilantro as desired
Add one spoon of fat free sour cream
Now eat it all up and enjoy


This recipe makes two servings and for you calorie counting friends out there you will be happy to know that one bowl of this delicious soup is only 505 calories! Super easy, super yummy & super healthy! enjoy!! xo
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