Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quick and Easy Christmas Ideas!

Hello All You Festive Folk!

Whether you are throwing a chic shindig or just spending some time with the family this holiday season here are some easy ideas to make things a little more jolly!

No matter your plans you want to create a mood for your home. 
Pine tree like garland intertwined with white Christmas lights is a classy way to turn shabby into chic!
I am a person fan of not using the giant gold ribbon but trim away if it makes you happy!

Now lets be honest...the veggie tray has outstayed its welcome at EVERY function throughout the year.
So add some POP when you can!

In any craft store you can find these foam cones and press your mini trees (broccoli) into the base and work your way up! Once your basic tree is complete, start decorating!  Use slices of red bell peppers for garland, baby carrots slide in easily and add some tiny tomatoes by using tooth picks to secure them! You can even cut a star out of a yellow bell pepper for the top of your Christmas tree!

Everyone loves a Christmas cocktail!
And here's your recipe!
Partridge in a Pear Tree Holiday Cocktail 
1½ oz pear vodka 
½ oz lemon juice 
½ oz simple syrup ( or agave nectar) 
Champagne Rosemary, cut into 1½ inch sprigs

What do you get for that guy on your list 
that is dating so-and-so?

Bam! Ask so-and-so (hopefully she has a better name than this) what her guys favorite beer is and then apply eye stickers, pipe cleaner antlers and a little red puff ball of a nose 
(all available at any craft store) 
and you'll have a happy gent indeed!

Speaking of presents- 
Holiday wrapping paper can be a bit cheesy. Why not go with one of these alternatives to your cartoon type of papers? It all starts with simple brown paper.

Taking an alphabet of stamps you can 
custom any gift and forego labels as well! 
Add a ribbon for special effect or 
I am ALWAYS one for using twine!

Another easy option is to forego names entirely!

Simply smack a photo of your recipient 
on their gift and your down! 
Easy but you'll be the talk around the tree!

Oh, the tree!

If this is your first Christmas with a special someone then make sure you get a memento!

Saw off part of the trunk, before or after the season, your call. And make an ornament for the next year! You can add to your collect year after year if you fancy!

If you are one of those families who makes it a point to leave cookies and milk for Santa make sure you include the rest of his night crew working overtime!
My mom always made sure to leave some bound hay for the reindeer but this one goes even a step further!

Donuts for the elves!
Take a match box and fill it with wheat cheerios, frosted cheerios and if your feeling extra crafty- take some original cheerios, dip a side in chocolate and then sprinkle away! 


Finally, a nice and easy gift for your office 
or treat for your guests!
Dip one end of a candy cane into white chocolate and sprinkle with some white nonpareils.


Merry Christmas, kids!
Enjoy it!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fashion For the Gent- UK

During my short time here in the UK I have noticed that the average gentleman dresses differently than that of the typical US male. It nearly seems as if the "hipster" people group is mirroring the general public of our friends across the pond. 

Le Hipster- Add beanie and specks to flavor

Here are a few of the typical UK pieces that seem to be staples in nearly ever man's wardrobe.

Within the first week the number one item that stood out to me and also brought a massive smile to my face every time was-

no matter how well dressed a gent was...

He always had on fun yet classy socks!
Stripes, holiday sweater type of patterns, argyle... 
the list continues but it was a nice way to add 
personality to any ensemble.

I have seen more colors for gentlemen's trousers than I thought were possible. Mustard yellow, olive green and dark burgundy seem to be the favorites easily. These come in many different forms but my personal favorite is in corduroy.

Mmmm Love me some some cords!

Now here's the real investment. 
An impressive piece of outerwear!
This could be any item from a sweater, suit jacket or winter coat but it will be a statement piece. 
And the statement will say that you're sexy and smart!

First- Please notice the colored britches :)
Now under that remarkable piece of outer wear-- the mans man will have some layers going on. These will most often consist of one solid (usually knit) piece and a print. The prints are typically plaid or of a striped fashion. 

Okay so we have the layers shirts-solids and stripes like in any good 'ol game of 8 ball. We also have a superb coat. The new trend in this case is the cuffed jean. Skinny leg or straight leg- it doesn't matter. Give them two or three small rolls and you are a walking fashion statement. 

So your typical UK sir of style will be dressed a bit like this-

With some amazing socks of course. 

But you can still add some American flare----
Let's here it for the red, white and blue!

A class act 100%

These are your basic belongings to search for during your next UK visit or if you just wish to make your appearance that of an international man of the world who understands 
style that crosses all boarder!

Have fun with your wardrobe and as always gents, stay classy!

Some are just born with it ;)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Week 6 Progress Report

I recently posted a before and after photo on my favorite social media outlets and immediately the messages starting pouring in from my girlfriends-
"You look great! What are you doing?"
"Did you join a gym?"

And the answer is no- There's no gym involved. Frankly with the way most prices are combined with my lack of desire to leave the house once I'm home from work, gyms really don't work for me after the first week. 

So what's going on? Starvation? Hardly. 

I eat what I want but all things in moderation. If I want a burger I have a burger but I try to take off all the bread. I fill my plate with lots of veggies and little of anything else. 
And I love my smoothies! 

Substitute frozen berries for ice cream, Light Soy Milk instead of sugar and  fresh berries, oranges or OJ and I'm set!

 I try to eat more fish than any other meat but I do not deny my body when I'm craving something. I allow myself one small square of dark chocolate every night as my little reward for working hard. I exchanged salty foods like chips for almonds or other mixed nuts. It's just eating smarter. Fill up on the good stuff before you start on the not-so-good. 

TIP- When shopping remember; If it's not in the house you can't eat it!

 I also did a 1 week challenge on clean eating! For more information see my "Clean Eating Challenge" Post.

Now for the exercise portion-
I know what you're thinking...

That's right! 
And I've only gone out "jogging" once in that 6 weeks. 

I say "jogging" because my version is to jog for 1-2 minutes, walk briskly for 2 minutes and repeat. It's not an exact science as much as I have zero stamina. 

I have been using a program called AthleanXX for women.
It is a series of several DVDs, each focusing on a different target area of the body. 
And it's amazing! It will not kill you like some other big name at home workout programs. It will not take an hour of your very busy day. Every DVD is between 15-35 minutes!

I am not a promoter and AthleanXX doesn't even know that this is being posted. So please take this information as an unbiased woman who is seeing results and they're coming FAST. That picture at the start is 6 weeks in. If I had to skip a day of working out, I simply did two workouts on the next day that I could. 

Simply put-  Don't diet. Eat healthy. 
Don't exercise but train your body. 

Focus on the areas you're working on instead of just going through the motions. 

And when you're walking up that hill, or up those stairs or around the corner... squeeze that butt :) Every little bit helps!

Good luck!
I can't wait to see what happens in the next 6 weeks!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Decor That Won't Bore: Affordable Thankgiving

Are you planning a feast? Inviting a plethora of people into your home this Thanksgiving? 
 Here are a couple decor ideas that will make you a proud pilgrim welcoming everyone in!

An eye-catching center piece is that easiest way to make an impression, and gone are the days of cornucopias...
Bring in a bit of nature! One long medium sized branch sawed into several different heights makes quite a visual impact. Especially when paired with pine cones, moss and candles placed inside mason jars. 
Easy and affordable! Just go outside for the bulk of your materials!

You know all those little pumpkins that go on sale right after Halloween? Buy them! If they are colors you don't care for simply paint them! There's so much you can do with the little things!

From center places to games!


If you are having trouble locating mini gourds- apples are a great alternative!

Pair with tea light candles for a glowing ambiance!

Once you have determined your center piece 
now we can talk place settings!

This is the simplest trick that makes a big impact!
Find flat fallen leaves, or pick your own leaves and keep them between book pages to flatten them for a day or two. To make sure the leaves are clean, gently wipe them with baby wipes. Then take a black sharpie and scribe the name of your guest onto the symbol of autumn's glory. 

It is nearly mandatory to have an opportunity for your guests to reflect and share what they are thankful for. This was one of the easiest ways I have found anywhere. Use your black sharpie marker to script the big question onto brown paper and make sure to use a straight edge for the lines! 

 I have been mildly obsessed with chalk board paint lately so I couldn't help but throw in a few ideas along 
those lines as well. 

Use chalkboard paint (either bought or made) to paint anything from mini plates or small paper plate to go on top of your chargers! These can be used to then scribble either the menu, place settings or even supply a piece of chalk at each and have these as your "what are you thankful for?" presentation.

If you are brave and amazing enough to have a chalk board base to your table you can draw place mats and doodle 
fun messages and silverware!

Sometimes beauty is really in the details. 
Use a split walnut shell to cradle the 
salt and pepper for your table. 
Place pairs throughout the table. 

Sometimes different meal or drink items can be striking and can be doubled for visual appeal!

One 3-liter bottle of Sprite 2 cans of cranberry juice concentrate extras to make it fun and festive: I used real cranberries and star-shaped ice cubes

For the non-alcoholic version, add 1 bottle Sparkling Cider; For the alcoholic version, 1 bottle sparkling wine {pick your fave}
Make sure it is a lovely vessel for that extra little something!

Happy Thanksgiving All! Make sure to get that Wishbone!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fitness Friday: 30 Day Challenge

Hello My Fit Family!

If you followed my 1 week of clean eating you'll already know that I offered to join a friend in this 30 day challenge. 

I am only on day 3 so this is a great time to come in and add a little extra something to whatever routine you're already doing. It's never to early to work for swim suit season but this will be a nice boost what with the holidays coming up!

Everyday take less than five minutes and work on those abs and SQUAT, SQUAT, SQUAT!

Ready, set... GO!

Clean Eating Challenge: Day 6

We are so close! I hope you are feeling on top of the world!

Day 6

How are those carb cravings? 
You're so close!

I really wanted a chicken and mushroom mince pie today and when my server came to get my order... I said

"Chicken ceasar salad, please."
It was so difficult but it was done!
Large cappuccino without sugar or flavor added. 
Remember, unless it's sugar free having your favorite coffee item flavored in anyway is adding a ton of sugar to your drink. 

Grape snacks!

 I sauteed mushrooms in white wine and balsamic vinegar before adding them to my caprices salad. 

My joint exercise challenge was-
10 sit ups
3X 5 V-up Crunches
30 squats


Clean Eating Challenge: Day 5

Day 5 Guys!

Almost there!

I ended up having extra of yesterdays smoothie left over so I poured the remains into large ice cube trays and froze it. Today I was able to blend up the cubes for a fresh smoothie!
See day 4 for the recipe!

I wasn't incredibly hungry around lunch time so I munched on some nature's candy- grapes!

But then by the time dinner came around I felt like I was starving!

I heated a wild frozen salmon filet and made a stir fry of bean sprouts, spinach, mushrooms and carrots. 
Drizzle a little soy sauce and enjoy!

A friend of mine was also asked to start a 30 day fitness plan. I offered to join and be a support in that way. 
Today was easy enough-
10 sit ups
30 squats
15 bicycle crunches

Get on it!

Clean Eating Challenge: Day 4

What you eat in private, you wear in public.
Day 4

I know it's getting tough, kids!
Hang in there!

Today got started with a berry smoothie!

Frozen raspberries and blueberries were used instead of ice. 
They were mixed with fresh strawberries and blackberries, a good amount of light soy milk, splash of OJ and a couple good spoonfuls of low-fat Greek yogurt. 

Blend for happiness!

Late lunch/early dinner was this gorgeous chicken ceasar salad (no I did not eat the croutons). 
I was at a meeting at Lindore's House and saw this beauty on the menu@

I ended up being so full from this meal that I only had a handful of mixed nuts later that evening. 

Stay strong, my friends! We're almost there!

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