Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Always on the Menu: Two Easy & Healthy Meals

Trying to cook healthy in our house can be somewhat of a challenge.  The truth is my roommates are picky eaters.  If it's green, the three year old immediately throws it into the "salad" category and claims he doesn't like it.  Funny, the 28 year old makes similar statements.

We can't do seafood in any form because of the older one and the younger one will love something one night and the next eat half his dinner only to boldly state, "I don't like it," and never want to touch whatever food he's eating again.

And, if I'm being completely honest, I'm absolutely innocent in all this.  Really, it's all them.  (Actually, I could eat cereal every night.  So that's not overly healthy either.  So I suppose I do have my flaws.)

Anyway, when I find things that everyone likes (or at least both grown-ups), we tend to make them often.  When I find things that everyone likes that are also easy, we tend to make them once a week.  Without fail.  Such is the case with our healthy burrito bowls and lime chicken sandwiches.  Both total winners on the yum and ease scales.

In fact we made burrito bowls on Sunday and the chicken sandwiches on Tuesday.  If you're looking for some new ideas that won't wreck your healthy eating or take forever to make, try one of these.  Maybe they'll end up in your weekly rotation, too.

Burrito Bowls

*Brown Rice
*Shredded Chicken (I buy a rotisserie chicken and pull the meat from it.)
*Taco Seasoning
*Black Beans
*Salsa (optional)
*Shredded Cheese (optional)

While the rice is cooking I throw the shredded chicken into a pan with about 3-4 tablespoons of water and a small scoop of taco seasoning (you really don't need much--a packet of taco seasoning will last us 5 or 6 meals).  Stir it up, distributing the seasoning evenly and warm it up over medium heat.

Heat up the corn and black beans if you choose (we always do)

Put as little or as much of everything into bowls and chow down!  Don't forget to squeeze some lime juice over the top--it really does make a difference.

**Steven does not like avocado and prefers to use salsa and shredded cheese in his bowls, where I leave them out.  You may also like to add tomatoes, onions or other veggies.  Fire Roasted tomatoes are actually really good in this.  (Warning:  Wal-Mart brand fire roasted tomatoes are really spicy.  Like, make your nose run spicy. Just so you know.)

Lime Chicken Sandwiches

*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*Kraft Zesty Lime Vinaigrette Dressing (this is what makes this one so good)
*Whole wheat sandwich rolls / buns, toasted
*Sliced cheese of choice (we like provolone)

Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour in enough dressing to cover them.  This dressing only comes in the small sizes and I usually pour in a little less than half the bottle.  Marinade for at least an hour.  I've found that leaving in the fridge overnight makes it turn out the best.

Spray a pan with lots of cooking spray and cook on medium-high heat, turning often, until completely cooked through.

Melt cheese on top, place it on a toasted roll or bun and there you go! The toasting of the bread is essential, trust me!

I like to slice avocado (there seems to be a theme with my meals) on top of my sandwich.  But they don't really need much extra stuff on them.

We serve with a side of quinoa and veggies. Jack's favorite is corn on the cob.  I like squash.  Steven is so proud he finally eats green beans. Just a reminder, Steven is the husband, not the three year old.  

Both these meals heat up really well the next day and leave plenty for us to take to work for lunch.  Healthy, easy, and saves us from going out to lunch.

Yep, we'll be eating them again next week!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Here Comes (Half?!) The Bride...

Ok, so maybe half is pushing it a little.  But when I decided to take a walk down Memory Lane (or aisle) the other night to see exactly how things had changed in the last (almost) five years, it kind of felt like something was missing.  Like, the rest of me.  The dress literally fell off and I was a bit dumbfounded.

Cute helper, huh?
It's one thing to know you've lost weight.  It's another to step into who you were and actually feel the difference between your past and your present.

Becoming healthier is simple.  And unbelievably hard.  At the most basic level it's all about eating well and moving your body.  Eat your veggies, your fruits, your lean proteins.  Get off the couch, make your muscles burn, sweat a little (or a lot).

The decision to do it isn't even hard.  Millions of people decide to become healthier, to lose weight, to live better, all the time.  The hard comes in the doing.  The doing is damn hard.

I'm speaking from my own personal experience because I don't know what held you back--what stopped you from the doing.  But I can rattle off excuse after lousy excuse for why I always needed one more day; why I'll wait until after this or that; why it was just too hard.

If anyone had a solution, I was ready with a new problem.

I don't have time to work out.  
-Well you should get up earlier.
I get up so early as it is. And sleep is so important.

I was full of them.  And full of it.  Funny, I could get up to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving, but not to make sure my heart was healthy.  Weird.

Every little excuse boiled down to one little truth:  I didn't want to.  All the "can'ts" were really "don't wannas."  And guess what. I still don't want to get up at the crack of dawn to sweat buckets.  But I do it.  Because I want the end result more than I don't want to work for it.

I'm one of the lucky ones that has to work for it.  And has to work hard.

The best excuses I gave were the ones that compared myself to someone else.  I would get upset that someone else could work out less or eat worse and look better.  Well, kid, thems the breaks.  That's life and no one, no one, said it was fair.

Others will have more time.  Others will have more options.  Others will have more availability, money, genetic favor.  Good for them.  I needed to stop focusing on them and start focusing on me.

Yes, there are people that are going to lose weight twice as fast as I do (my husband--men!), but there are people that will lose it twice as slow.  So, by being upset at someone's quicker victory, it's like I'm saying I'm happy for someone's slower success.  And that's just stupid. This isn't a competition.  (unless your office is a doing a Biggest Loser thing--then, by all means!) This is life.  Building a better one.  One where I can walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like my chest is going to explode.  One where my knees don't hurt from the sheer pressure of my own body weight.

And one where my child sees a lady working out and says, "That's like you, Mommy!"  Because Jack seeing me being healthy, is important.  That whole "do as I say, not as I do" thing?  Good luck making that work with a three year old.  And if he's going to try to be like me, I want to give him something to shoot for.  Someone with strong faith, strong morals, strong relationships, a varied taste in music and mastery of the curtsy lunge.

Who eats.

Lord love me, I'm not going to starve.  I don't drink sweet tea anymore.  And I can't tell you the last time I ate a chicken biscuit.  But I eat.  Until I'm full.  Throughout the day.  Stuff I really enjoy.  Even a cookie or cupcake now and then.  But every day, every meal, is a choice to do better.  Because now, I know better. Thanks, Maya Angelou.

I've learned a lot about myself through this process.  I've learned what I will push myself to do.  Hello, 5 am, daily workouts.  Hello, weight training and all things by the Tone It Up Girls.  And I've learned what is best for my body.  Hello, um, spinach?  Lots of it.  And water.  So much water.

That night standing in my wedding dress, with it's still dirty hemline, I did realize something else.  I may love how things have turned out so far (I am a work in progress, after all), but there is nothing that compares to the happy girl in the pictures from the first time I wore that dress.   She was giddy with love that day.

There was more of me. He loved me like that.  Said forever to that girl.  And he loves me like this.  Not loves me more.  Just loves me.  And that feels good at any size.

If excuses are in your way, find a way around them.

You can do it.
You can do it.
You can do it.

I believe in you.  Now, it's your turn.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throw Back Thursday: Mustache Baby Shower

My sister, Meredith, had a baby.  About two months (plus nine days) ago.  I never did get around to posting all the adorable pictures from her baby shower.  I thought I had time!  That little bugger came almost two weeks early.  And between that, and countless other meaningless excuses, the most adorable mustached-themed blog post in the world just never happened.  My apologies.

But, here's the beauty of this little movement that has come to be known as Throwback Thursday.  I get to take you on a little trip back in time and show off all the cuteness that was the celebration of our little Jonathan Patrick prior to his arrival.  

We had known for a little while that this boy was going to be a boy.  So when planning for the shower, my best friend Tiffany and I didn't want anything neutral.  This was going to be a celebration fit for little dude and we wanted it to show.  And what screams boy more than facial hair?  A mustache theme was decided on pretty easily and things were easy to find.  Plus we knew my sister and her husband would get a kick out of it.

It all started with the invitations and we built ideas from there.  And Pinterest.  Because that's how we roll.  Tiffany found the invitations on Etsy and we worked with the lady that designed them to get the perfect fit for Meredith's shower.  We received a file that allowed us to print them out ourselves.  Very easy. Very cost effective.  Win and win.

We created a diaper cake fit for the most dapper of little guys and everyone drank from mustached cups.  Tiffany's husband was recruited to cut the mustaches out of vinyl and stick them on for us.

Tiff  also had a mustache cut from metal to hang on her front door and greet the guests.  (You can find other fun stuff like that at her Etsy shop, Snookemlilies.)  As people walked in they were asked to guess how many baby Q-tips were in a Mason jar.  The answer was 168.  You know, just in case you ever need that bit of useless information.

We decorated with Mason jars filled with baby goodies:  wash cloths, pacifiers and bibs. We then tied balloons around each jar and set them around the room.

Me, Hillary & Meredith
My favorite part was probably the "photo booth."  We had an area ready for people to stand and take pictures with each other, the Mommy-to-be, or on their own.  We made sure to have a frame on hand and mustaches for everyone in keeping with our theme.  People got a kick out of it and it allowed everyone to get a picture with my sister without having to constantly pull her from doing other things.  Like eating.  Which just happened to be my second favorite part.

We opted for cupcakes instead of a large sheet cake and we loved
how they turned out!  What could be better than everyone getting their own little individual cake, complete with mustache and top hat?  The colors came out better than we could have imagined and they were beyond yummy!  If you need some tasty treats done for an event of your own, and you're in the Fayetteville, NC or surrounding areas, get in touch with Cakes By Carly on Facebook.  She's easy to work with and all about taking your ideas and making them realities!

The rest of the menu included pimento cheese pinwheels (find the recipe on our Pinterest page), meatballs, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, fruit dip, carrots, cucumbers, and hummus with tea or orange water to drink.

It was a wonderful afternoon shared with amazing ladies there to celebrate our sweet boy that would make his debut almost exactly one month later.

Our JP has lots of time before he grows any whiskers of his own.  But we can always show him this when he gets older.  From the day he rocked his first 'stache!

Love these ladies!  

Metal mustache on the front door

"We 'mustache' you a question..."

Me and Tiff

Two of our littlest (and cutest) shower guests!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two Broke Bloggers hit up the cosmetic aisle!


I’m 99% sure that you have heard of (if not already own) the Urban Decay Naked Palette. But $50 for eye shadow can be a little hard to swallow! I was browsing the June issue of Cosmo and saw that Maybelline had a similar palette called The NudesI thought that might be a nice dupe for UD Naked! So on my next trip to Wal-Mart, I cruised the cosmetic aisle in search of the Maybelline dupe and to my surprise, Wal-Mart had it in stock and already on the shelf! I immediately put it in my cart then looked for the price to be highly pleased that this was a bargain at $10!!!!!

So here are my thoughts on the two palettes:
  • Naked has buttery, full coverage shadows where as The Nudes has less pigment. I would suggest using a primer or putting foundation on your lids before using The Nudes. However, I think that less pigment isn't always a bad thing... not many people desire full coverage black eye shadow. The black in The Nudes is user friendly and easier to blend for that perfect smoked out eye!
  • Naked has more glittery colors and The Nudes has more shimmery colors (both have matte colors as well). This is more of a personal decision of what works best for you.... glitter vs. shimmer.
  • In the Naked palette- the 5th color from the left works well as a brow powder! I use my slanted brow brush and fill those suckers in!
  • The Nudes has lighter toned colors so if you like a more subtle look, it is great. For a more dramatic look, Naked might be better but either compact can offer both looks!
I really like both options and will continue to use both!
<3 Rachel

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two Broke Girls DIY: Easy-Peasy End Tables

I'd be lying if I said I was a big DIY person.  I'm not one to do lots of projects (to completion) or get my hands into lots of crafty things (for more than five minutes).  It's just not generally my thing, if you will.  But, as I've mentioned before, I really would like to be "that girl."  For the most part I can accept that I'm not and move on.

"Pinspiration" Table
However, from time to time while perusing Pinterest, some little project of OMG-level interest--and obvious ease--will come along and I just have to do it. That's what happened when my best friend sent me this pin, pictured to the right.

She knew I had been looking for end tables for a while that were both fun and, well, cheap.  She got both those little birdies with this beauty.

I ran the idea by The Hubs (since this project would involve using a saw and I really don't have much interest in that) and we got to work that following weekend.  We spent a total of $40 for two tables and we were both really happy with the results.

We had to buy wood and spray pant.  Steven already had the screws and putty that covered the holes.  There wasn't a ton of prep involved because we didn't want the tables to look too perfect.  The tops were sanded a tad to diminish the look of the putty, but we didn't even cover the screw holes anywhere else

The color is called Nautical by Valspar, which is pretty perfect because the tables look like they belong in a beach house.  Since our beach house is currently only available via dreams and imaginings, we figured our everyday house would do.

We decided to nix the second crossed board on the back because it made our particular version too bulky for where we wanted to place the tables.  There was a certain look we were going for and space we had available to us didn't really allow the tables to stick out much more.

Our Finished End Table
We added a board at the bottom so that we could place magazines or whatever else on the tables.  This took the place of our old, wrought iron "magazine rack of death" as my friend Courtney so lovingly called it.  It's taken out quite a few toes in its day and was long overdue for retirement.  

Once I told Rachel about our plans for a DIY project that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg, a new series on the blog was born:  Two Broke Girls DIY.  Neither of us has tons of money to spend on making TV consoles out of old dressers (you know you've seen that one!), but when we come across great ideas that don't hit your cute wallets too hard, we're going to share them with you on here.

Next up, the rustic (read: easy) and inexpensive (read: so cheap) shelves we've pinned on our Pinterest page.  Don't follow us yet?  Shame!  Go here now and check it out!  (Or cut and paste this address and head on over:

What's been your best DIY on the cheap idea?


Friday, July 11, 2014

You So Dirty, Girl!

So I bet you thought we'd packed up and left, didn't you?  Sorry for the lengthy silence, it's been a slightly crazy month.  But summer is in full swing and we've really missed you!

Since you heard from us last we completed our Bikini Series with Tone it Up and took part in the Dirty Girl 5K in High Point, NC.  What can we say?  We've been on a bit of a fitness roll.

Final thoughts on the Bikini Series:  If these girls say do it, do it!  They know what they are talking about.  This eight week challenge was not always easy to keep up and seriously took some discipline and commitment, but it was absolutely worth it!  I lost a total of 15 inches.  No, that is not a typo.

So go on over to and check out their weekly workouts.  You can't go wrong following these ladies.

Right in the middle of the Bikini Series we thought it would be fun to get a large group of girls together and run an obstacle course through the mud.  The Dirty Girl 5K Mud Run, supporting Bright Pink (a non-profit organization dedicated to early detection and prevention of ovarian and breast cancers), took place on May 31st and it really did live up to its dirty little name.

Here's a nice little picture of us before we took to the course.  That's me, third from the left, in the obnoxiously huge glasses I borrowed from Rachel.  She's all the way on the far right, in her sassy pants!  Get it, Mama!

Courtney over at The Funky Dot hooked us up with t-shirts and tanks sporting our team name (All American Mudflaps) on the front and our last names on the back. You can see a better picture at the bottom of this post.  Courtney makes all kinds of awesome things--shirts, cups, metal signs, koozies, ornaments and tons more.  Go check her out on Facebook and Etsy!

The day started simply enough, without a ton of mud involved.  I was actually a little surprised at how long it took for us to get nice and nasty.  But once it was on, oh goodness, was it on!

There is nothing quite like wading through knee-deep, muddy water and then crawling through it to duck under a sign to get you covered in goop from shoulder to toes.  And let me just tell you, there's something about your hands being covered in mud that will simultaneously make something on your face itch.  Good luck with that.

Throughout the day, we trudged through muddy water, crawled through muddy tunnels, climbed muddy cargo nets and slid down muddy slides.  There were walls to get up and over and a giant, inflated bouncy pyramid-type thing that took me two tries just to hop up on the first step.

Really, you should YouTube this stuff.  Each course is a little different but this video shows pretty much the same obstacles we did.

The best part of the day was in the just being together as a group.  We definitely pushed each other to keep moving and I've never been a part of a 5K where you heard more laughing, singing and all out merriment than I did with this one.  The ladies all around us were having a blast and were cheering each other on.  People I didn't know were helping me over ladders and making sure I rang the bell at the top of the cargo net.

This one wasn't for bragging rights or prizes.  It was for the pure enjoyment of it.  Because really, getting dirty can be so much fun!

Here we are, all muddied up.  Don't we look just darlin'?

We did learn a couple of things from our experience acting like piggies in slop.  First, it is imperative that you wear some type of eye protection.  One of our dirty girlies got a pretty mean scratch on her eye from debris in the water.  She was wearing sunglasses, like the majority of us, but when muddy water comes at you from out of nowhere, things happen.  One of our girls had actually suggested goggles a few days before and we laughed.  After the eye scratch incident, no one was laughing.

Be prepared to say goodbye to your shoes. And possibly the majority of your other muddy clothes as well.  The people that put on the Mud Run will take your muddy shoes, clean them up as best they can, and donate them.  Do it.  You don't want to worry with them and someone else needs them more.

You will find mud on your body for days later.  I'm not sure how it was possible to take two showers and still have Steven look at me the day after the mud run and say, "Um, is that mud in your ear?"  But that's what happened.  I think I carried ten pounds of mud home with me that day.  And that was AFTER rinsing off in the makeshift garden hose "showers" you can use at the end of the run.  Bottom line?  You're gonna be nasty.  For a while.

If a Mud Run comes to your area, look into it.  Go get dirty with your girls!

One of our Shirts / Courtesy of The Funky Dot!  

The back a fellow Dirty Girl's shirt!