Monday, March 25, 2013


Lately, I have been struggling to maintain my health and weight. It stinks to realize that you are no longer that 17 year old that can eat whatever you want and never worry about how your clothes fit. Since we have been married, we have gone back and forth with our weight. In the last 4 years I have been the heaviest I have ever been, and I have also been the thinnest I have ever been. We are clueless when it comes to maintenance. I think it is partly my fault. It is so hard to maintain anything when you don't have a set schedule. Then I started school and practically everything has fallen apart.

About a year and a half ago, I was smaller than I was in high school. Not that being skinny is everything (because it isn't), but maintaining a healthy lifestyle IS important. This lesson I learned one night at work. My husband had started doing CrossFit, but I refused to do it with him. I made excuses for myself, such as I worked night shift so why would I ever want to make my life any worse by exercising. Yep, I was pretty terrible. I also said I could eat anything I wanted since I had to suffer so much with working nights. I was pretty ridiculous. One night at work though, I had a revelation. I was sitting there doing my charting when I realized that if I didn't change my ways and keep making excuses, I was going to end up just like all the people I was taking care of. Once you see the horrors of what chronic illnesses can do to a person, you think hard about all of your own poor lifestyle choices. Some things are not what they are cracked up to be (bad foods, laziness, sedentary lifestyle, etc.). It was then that I decided I would come off of night shift ASAP, and start to exercise.

I got off of night shift and my husband ended up talking me into joining CrossFit. I was so hesitant at first after hearing all of his stories about how hard the workouts were. I was scared I was going to be weak or get hurt (but I think it was mostly my pride I was worried about). I started going, and yes, the workouts were extremely hard, but I could do them. Yes, I was weak, but I became stronger. The people there were so amazingly encouraging. I would call it encouragingly competitive. It was your classmates who kept you going, not because you had to beat them or show off, but because they told you that you could do it. It was amazing to see how you could push your body past the limits of what you thought you could do. I will never forget the first time I did ONE pull-up! I know that sounds silly, but you go try one! I will also never forget the time I did my first rope climb. I wished I was back in elementary school. The coolest kids were always the ones who could climb the rope to the top in gym class, right?! :)

When I started school last fall, it was really hard to keep up with going to CrossFit. The gym that I went to was small, and classes were only offered at certain times of the day. I was going to the 7am class on my days off and I was already struggling to go. Once school started, I really wanted to use my off mornings to catch up on rest, so that I wouldn't be falling asleep while reading my textbooks all day. So I quit going and stopped my membership. Lately, I have been desperately missing it! I miss the workouts, the people, the HIGH (OMG those workouts would make your endorphins do some crazy things!). You would feel SO good, SO accomplished after a workout! I always left feeling like my heart was beating stronger and that my lungs could breathe deeper (I know that is strange, but it is true!).

Ever since I quit I have been trying to exercise at home. Before winter hit, I was trying to run outside. I did it sometimes, but not consistently. Once it got cold, I purchased the Jillian Michaels video to keep me moving. I did it some, but haven't kept up with it.

The other night after picking up Five Guys after work for dinner I told my husband, "This has GOT TO STOP!" I am serious about this. My family has GOT to be healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

I have challenged myself to lose 10 pounds by the time we go to Austin to visit our best friends in May.

I know that sounds like a lot, but my goal weight is actually 20 pounds lighter than what I am now. I know that sounds crazy, but it is possible because I have been that size before and it was the best shape I had been in in my life.

My long-term goal is to be at my goal weight by my birthday in June. I want to be in the best shape of my life when I hit 1/4 of a century old! I know I can do it!

One of my favorite things I have pinned on Pinterest is this little reminder that I have SO much control of my health...


This is SOOOOO true! Luckily, I have 99.999999% control of what is made in my kitchen. What a blessing it is to be in control of the health of my family. It is also a huge responsibility that I will no longer take for granted! These abs are about to be MADE over here in THIS kitchen! :)

I am also going to start exercising on a regular basis. I started today and went for a run around a little pond here in town. Sadie was absolutely thrilled to get outside. She is now pooped, because our little run actually turned out to be an ordeal. I attached (not very well) my clicker to get inside my car to the zipper of my jacket. It ended up falling off during the run. I didn't notice until we were at the car trying to get in and the ring attaching the clicker to my jacket was empty (whomp whomp). We did the whole loop again backwards and walking searching for the clicker (blind without my glasses no less). I called my in-laws to come rescue us about half-way around the loop. When they arrived I looked down and there was my clicker! Long story short, I pretended to lose my clicker so that I could see them, or at least that is what I said. ;)

I will keep you guys updated on my progress. I have lots of healthy food already in the fridge, I just have to actually make it! I will post any delicious, healthy food I end up making. If you are interested in any of the websites I use for recipes, they are listed in the right column under my favorites. If you have any tips on running or exercise or recipes or what helps you stay healthy, PLEASE let me know. I also am now in the market for a pair of workout pants that have a small key pocket, so if you have any suggestions let me know. :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Gel Nail Update

Sorry it has taken me so long to follow up with everyone about my D.I.Y. gel nail experience. I wanted to just let you guys know how long the paint lasted on my nails and how everything held up.

This picture was taken a week later.

The only chip is the right side of my middle finger. The chip happened because my nail actually broke right where the chip is. The biggest offense to the polish was when my nails would break. I am not sure if the polish weakens your nails, or if I have easily broken nails, because I don't ever have long nails!

The polish went through a lot that week. I think washing dishes and the hand sanitizer I use at work is what takes off normal polish. This manicure lasted through a weeks worth of washing dishes and several days at work, constantly exposing my nails to harsh chemicals with the hand sanitizer.

I ended up peeling the polish right off shortly after this picture was taken. I did not even use nail polish remover.

Overall, I think the D.I.Y. gel nails are definitely worth the time and money! They didn't last me 2 weeks, but in reality, the gel part of the manicure was less than $5. You cannot beat that!

Hope you guys try it out! You will not regret it! :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

D.I.Y. Gel Nails

I know you all are sick of me posting about the crockpot. I decided to give you a break from food and go a totally different route today.

Have you guys ever gotten a shellac or gel nail manicure? I have seen so many people getting them lately! I never really paint my own nails, because 1.) I am TERRIBLE at being a girl, 2.) I cannot paint them without messing them up, and 3.) In a few days, they look like I put my fingers in acid or something. Once I started seeing people get these gel manicures though, I thought, "I totally could put up with that, it makes your nails SO pretty!" They stay nice for so long, and the polish looks so professional! Then I found out how much it costs... about $30 per manicure is what I have heard from friends. I am way too cheap for that! I will barely get a pedicure because it is also that expensive. I do not know how people can afford to get pedis and manis every month! You can also buy a kit to do your own gel nails at home that has the lights and everything. They start around $50 from what I have seen. I still couldn't cough up the cash for such an extensive set.
So I started having an was I going to get my beloved gel nails without breaking the budget?!
I started searching Pinterest (of course!) for a solution to my problem. One day, I ran across a pin about how to do a D.I.Y. gel nail mani at home! I found this girl's blog and she told me exactly what to buy and what to do. Here are some props out to her at Yours Truly for posting such a great post! Here is the original post. I also searched the web for how to do a proper manicure. I found a video about how to get a professional looking manicure at home. I combined this video with the post about gel nails to get the perfect gel nail manicure!

I am going to show you what I used and what it costs to get this type of look in your own home, so that your manis stop breaking the budget!

I started this adventure by going to Sally Beauty Supply. I have never been in this store before; it was an experience to say the least. It is filled with everything that it takes to be a true woman. I even told the gal at the cash register that I was now officially a GIRL for coming to this store.

I had to buy several items because my manicure kit at home was very lacking. I ended up buying the following...
1.) Nail buffer ($2.49)
2.) Pure acetone (I tried to buy the kind that is easiest on your nails and skin because I know how harmful it can be) ($3.49 originally, but it was on sale for $2.49)
3.) Glass nail file ($7.69... I know it was expensive... I think it was worth it, though)
4.) Gelous nail coat ($5.99 originally, but it was on sale for $4.49)
5.) Out the Door top coat ($5.49)

Then I went to Target and found everything else I needed...
1.) Sally Hansen's Instant Cuticle Remover ($4.99)
2.) Target brand angle brush ($2.29)
3.) Cuticle sticks ($0.89)

I already had regular polish and regular nail polish remover at home.

This is everything you need!

Now that I had bought everything, it took me awhile to set aside the time to do this manicure! I was looking forward to doing it on my day off, but I didn't have time and then we went out of town and then I had to go back to work. I finally got to try everything yesterday on my day off!

I started by filing my nails while my old polish was still on. I was told to do this so you can get a nice, even nail. If you look at the white part of your bare nail as a guide to get an even nail, you might get a crooked nail line because the white part isn't square to your cuticle. I used the Emery Glass nail file, and I loved it! It is worth the money in my opinion. After I got my nails filed and got the dirt out from underneath them, I started taking my old nail polish off with regular nail polish remover. Once the polish was off, I squirted some of the cuticle remover to each cuticle. I left it on there for about 20-30 seconds. Then I used the flat end of the cuticle sticks to push my cuticles back and get rid of them. Then I washed my hands with soap and water so I could start painting!

I started by using the Gelous Nail Coat. I did one coat and then let it dry before doing a second coat. Once the second coat was dry, I got out my regular nail polish (Fearless Fog by Sally Hansen) and did one thin coat. Once I waited for that to dry I did another gel coat. After that dried, I did one last regular polish coat before applying my top coat.

After my top coat dried, I got out a small glass mixing bowl (behind all the supplies in the picture), poured some acetone in its own cap, and placed it in the bowl so I wouldn't spill it. I got out my angle brush to clean up any mess around my nails. After dipping the angle brush in the acetone, I swept around the edges of my nails for a nice, clean edge. You can also use this technique for the back of your nail (where the cuticle is) to make a gap between your skin and your nail. I didn't try this technique this time, because I was afraid I would mess up my nails, and they (for once) looked so good! I was chicken, but I will definitely try it next time! The angle brush is way better than using just Q-tips to clean up around your nails. It is like using an angle brush to trim around the ceiling when you paint a house... it makes such a clean line. After you clean up the mess, you are done!!

So far, I LOVE it! I haven't officially totaled it with a calculator, but I ended up spending around $30. It is about the cost of a professional gel nail manicure, but now I can probably do about 200+ manicures for the same price at home! I am going to be posting an update about how the manicure is holding up from wear and tear. So far, it is totally worth the money. It has been a day now, and so far there is not a single smudge or chip (I usually have all sorts of mess ups already!).

I will update you how it is in a few days! Happy nail painting! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Juju's Crockpot Rye Corned Beef and Cabbage

Time for ANOTHER crockpot recipe!

I pretty much use my crockpot 3 times a week nowadays, but I have come to the point that I am experimenting. I am pretty sure this is one of my fortes, only because I am not afraid to try interesting things (which most of the time comes out to be yummy!). I can remember coming up with this one recipe using boneless pork chops when I was in college (I am sure I made my roommates try a bazillion different weird recipes!). One day I made it back at my parents' house. One of the ingredients was brown sugar, and instead of adding what I thought was brown sugar, I accidentally added cocoa powder! As soon as I added it, I KNEW I had added the wrong ingredient. I thought about trying to scoop out all the powder that had piled up on top of the chops, but I thought... now that may actually taste good...! I went with it, and it was actually fantastic!!

Side story over... sorry about my ramblings.

Another reason why I have been making so many crockpot recipes, is that I was inspired by a blog that I read called Peanut Butter Fingers. I found this blog on Pinterest, because this girl posts her outfits and where she buys all her cute clothes! Since I am in DESPERATE need of fashion advice, I started reading her posts on a daily basis. I love that she also posts recipes and workouts (and she also has a dog named Sadie that is the exact color of my Sadie). She started a Crockpot Challenge Month with other bloggers by making crockpot recipes through the month and posting the best recipes. I actually made her Crockpot Curried Lentils and it was DELISH! If you want to check out her recipes that she made during the challenge along with a list of the blogs that participated in the challenge, you can click here. 

Anyways, one thing I now LOVE to make (mainly because I love to eat it, thanks to my friend C.C. who I don't want to name for privacy sake) is corned beef and cabbage! It is SO good with so many different spices and tastes, and it is perfect for cold, winter nights!

When I first had it when she deliciously made it, she had a pretty complicated (in my opinion) recipe. She put all her spices in cheese cloth and all sorts of fancy things! 

Once we ate her DELICIOUS dinner she had made, I went home thinking, "I HAVE to make that myself!" 

So, just in time for St. Patty's Day, here is a super easy, tasty version of my crockpot corned beef!

Juju's Crockpot Rye Corned Beef and Cabbage

What you will need:
A crockpot... and a liner if you so desire

1 slab of corned beef (choose your size)
Packet insert*
1/2 cup rye whiskey
1/2 head of cabbage
1 yellow onion
2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

*Every packaged corned beef I have ever bought at the grocery store has had a packet of spices that comes inside the package with the meat. I just use that packet for spicing and it works well and it is easy!

1. Get out that bad boy crockpot! Line it if you don't want to build some muscles later.
2. Open your package of corned beef and throw it in the pot. Make sure you put the package insert of spices to the side. We will open those and use them in a minute.
3. Cut up your onion. I quickly slice it up because I am lazy and don't want to dice it.
4. Cut up your cabbage. You can use the whole head if you want to. I chop it into big chunks. It will cook, so don't worry about them being too big.
5. Add your broth/stock and whiskey to the pot.
6. Add your spices. Just throw 'em in there!
7. Add the onion and then the cabbage. 
8. Season with salt and pepper now, or add it at the end (remember, corned beef is already salty, so add it a little at a time to taste).
9. Turn on your crockpot, put a lid on it, and cook for 8 hours on low.