Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Buhbye, 2013!

Hey 2013 - I have to confess. You weren't my favorite. 

As I sit here trying to remember all of the good things and all of the not so good things, I mourn the time I lost. I spent too much time working, too much time blogging, too much time running, too much time scrolling instagram and facebook. Too much time watching the world go by rather than jumping in and making it instead. Also that I just spent 30 minutes on buzzfeed while writing this tells you something! 

If anything, this year I feel like I learned some balance. Conscious changes I've made include cutting down my running miles (and really not being so strict anyway), cutting down work stress and doing more for myself each and every day. 

It's amazing how much a person can change in one year and I believe 2014 will be simply incredible.

See you next year! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas 2013 - A Recap

Hi blog, sorry we didn't spend any time together over the holidays! You've been a huge part of my life in 2013 and the year wouldn't have been the same without you. The holiday's also wouldn't have been the same with you, so I'm happy we took a little break from one another.

Since I'm a horrible holiday blogger, I don't have any photos to share (only the "OMG presents", and "OMG Tree", and "OMG I slept in so late" snap chats) but I can share my top four favorite gifts and share them with you in a collage!

Also, I'm wearing glasses today. That's how awesome this Monday is!

Mom and dad are always so thoughtful, can't thank them enough!

 photo 2013Xmas-2.png
1. Apple TV + brother's iTunes login information

I never watch much TV and didn't know what to think when I opened this gift, but when I realized that the gift included access to my brother's iTunes library, it quickly became a huge hit! My first series has been Game of Thrones and I'm already a season in! 

This little guy packs some POWER. It's tiny but don't let it fool you - I've been using it for everything, from amplifying the TV volume, Bluetooth connecting to my phone for music and even playing Pandora in the car on the way into work! Less than $60, it's well worth it!

3. Cash money for a Christmas Wish (any suggestions on how I should use it?)

Mom and dad wrote a check for a "Christmas Wish" and I almost want to just put it in savings and consider it as half of my Mac Book Pro. I know this is the boring way, so what other ideas do you have for a girl who doesn't need anything more?

4. House cleaning help!

I really didn't ask for it, but mom and dad delivered on some house cleaning for 6 months! Mom will be "Maria" and my kitchen will never be cleaner! I'm honestly not too tough on my house, so maybe I won't need 2x a month, let's negotiate!

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! Happiest wishes for your last days of 2013!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Elves Working Overtime

Public Service Announcement: My post from Friday about my experience at The Float Shoppe just got sweeter! Leading up to Christmas they have announced a Holiday Sale where you can use the code "perfectgift" and pay only $39. This is such a great price to grab a float for all the loved ones in your family who deserve some extra attention. 

Thing 1 

I am an awful procrastinator when it comes to Christmas gifting. The entire process is a challenge for me. From making a list, physically going out (or online) to purchase gifts and then especially the dilemma I have trying to wrap said gifts. 

Today's the day, friends! And to celebrate wrapping gifts, here's some great links that will hopefully give the grinch in all of us some Christmas wrapping inspiration. 

While my gifts will never be too pretty to unwrap, there's so many ways to take the stress out of wrapping gifts for all of those loved ones. Too time crunched to get fancy? Grab some scissors and tape and get back to the basics. Only have a gift card? Never fear - here's several clever ways to package that thoughtful gift. Good luck on the odd-shaped ones, I can't help you there. 

Thing 2

If you were around here last year, you may remember that my mom creates Christmas miracles every holiday season as a Secret Santa. She adopts families in need, rounds up the wish lists and enlists help from all of her networks to make the holidays magical and memorable.

This year she was at it again, stronger than ever. She adopted 4 families and shopped off the wish lists of all 14 children. Bike, guitar, Ugg's, doll houses, stuffed animals, cozy blankets, board games - so many gifts came in and so many donations were made to make all these gifts possible. 

I'd like to say that I've never seen that many gifts under the tree, but that's not true at all. #Mom&DadRock

How awesome, right? These gifts and much more have been delivered to this year's adopted families. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

I've Got a Gift Idea For You

If you're looking for a last minute gift for a loved one or you simply want to start the new year off right by pampering yourself, I've got the perfect idea. 

This week I was invited to experience something called "Floating" at The Float Shoppe in Northwest Portland. 

If you've never heard of floating (like I hadn't), it's a sensory deprivation experience in which you get into a float tank filled with enough epsom salts to allow your body to float freely and effortlessly. The session is 90 minutes of pure relaxation and brain rejuvenation. Your time can be spent playing in the water, exploring the boundaries of your tank, letting your mind drift off and even fall asleep in a soothing weightless existence.

My visit began by meeting the team at the Float Shoppe and being seated in the lobby with my feet in the warm spa and tea cradled in my hands. Us first time floaters were briefed on what to expect and how to prepare bodies and minds to get the most out of our session. 

I was in the Floatarium Float Tank (view three tank options here) which is extra spacious and has a closed-lid for the ultimate escape from outside distractions. All rooms offer sound proofing and light-blocking, but something about the closed pod made me fall even deeper into the experience. 

After inserting my ear plugs and taking my shower, my first dip into the water had me giggling. There's seriously no feeling like the first time you feel yourself weightless. If you've ever floated in a pool it's like that but with zero effort. Like this little guy:

My first 20 minutes were spent playing around in the water. Moving my body from side to side, pushing off the sides of the tank to explore the boundaries. Once I felt settled into my tank, I laid in beautiful silence, eyes open or closed didn't matter, and fell into a place between awake and asleep. The feeling to have only my mind turned on with my body free to relax was surreal. A place where meditation and creativity will flourish given an open mind. 

I did not fall asleep during the session, but seriously believe that having a tank installed in my future custom built home is on my to-do list. 

If you're interested to learn more about my experience, check out Portland's Float Shoppe on their website here. 90 Minute Sessions are $60 and the Shoppe is located in the city on NW 23rd. 

** Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary float with the possibility of review from The Float Shoppe.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All That She Wants

...is another baby! 

No, we aren't talking Ace of Base here today, we are talking about all of the things that I want for Christmas.

Before you go straight to Amazon.com to use your Prime account mom, let me explain that I expect nothing from this list for a handful of reasons. Too much money, impossible to gift to me or just silly things that I might impractically want and don't exactly need. 

Feed the children instead!

 photo AllIWantforXmas.png

:: LASIK Eye Surgery

Not only are contacts a minor inconvenience, I am the worst at keeping them in great condition. I have my contacts in over 16 hours a day and very often find myself falling asleep with them still in my eyes. I have two pairs of glasses, but those just aren't the same. Who wants to fork over the dollars and the gift of a steady eye while they slice away at my cornea.

:: Garage to Park my Car in

I've had my car since November of 2004 and to this day my black stallion has never had her own garage to park in. Sure there's driveways, carports and college student lots - but she's never had a cozy place to rest hear weary wheels at night. My home right now has a 2 car garage but there's a heavy and fragile pool table in there that takes precedent. Maybe someday, focus.

:: A Maid - 2x a Month

A maid to make my bed, to scrub the surfaces, to rinse out my tupperware (and get the sriracha stains out), to wash, fold and put away laundry. To clean out Tiger's fish tank and to mop the linoleum kitchen floor. I saint who does toilets, who applies windex to mirrors and who will organize my scarf collection since I throw them around the house. 

:: Self-Fueling Car (+ Maintenance)

Speaking of my car, it'd be amazing if there was a way to never have to stop in to a gas station again, to never have to go too long past when an oil change is due and to not have to worry about how many times my tires have been rotated. Can we make this happen? And maybe throw in no traffic if we are being generous. 

:: Hair Color & Nails for Life

Hair cut/color trips are expensive and frequent mani/pedi trips would add up even quicker. Currently I treat myself to maybe 2 hair cut/color sessions per year, and do mani/pedi maybe once every 2 months. Right now my highlights are growing out from the roots and this weekend I went to get my nails done in a sassy holiday red. It would be a win/win/win to do all the things more often.

:: Annual Travel Budget

I'm a lady who likes to travel and I like to explore when I do it. I would love to have 3 consecutive weeks a year to take off from work and travel new parts of the world. "You can" is what many of you might be thinking, but I don't have enough money to make that happen with other goals I've set for myself. Where would I go? Australia, South America, Asia, anywhere! Book the trip and let's go!

So, again - these aren't real things that I'm asking for but I wouldn't be upset if any of these became a reality in 2014.
 photo xmaswishlist.png


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

TED Tuesday: The First 20 Hours

Do you remember last week when I shared my discovery of an easy button?

Well if you didn't, I spent an entire weekend studying, familiarizing myself and testing my ability to work with Macro's in Excel 2010. Macro's are like a little shortcut for repetitive tasks, that if done right can seriously cut out a lot of manual efforts that get old if you do them every single day.

While I say it was an "easy" button, the work put into making the day to day easy was anything but. Walking into something I felt like I knew nothing about (and am still a beginner) was really intimidating, especially since I'd committed to my work teammates that I was going to succeed. While I didn't learn everything on my own, I definitely had to work through some tough mental moments where my low knowledge of the skill was a huge barrier to my learning.

I like to be good at things, and sometimes if I feel the frustration creeping in because I'm bad at something, it's so easy to give up on the idea you had in the first place.

Today's TED Talk is talking about this very same thing - the first 20 hours you spend on something new are important and critical to how well you will pick up that new skill, as well as the acquired confidence of the huge jump from "beginner" to 20 hours of experience.

Before the video, let me summarize the four easy to follow steps that will aid you in rapid skill acquisition of your newest adventure:

Deconstruct the skill

Decide exactly what you want to be able to do when you're done, and break it down step by step to be able to get there. It's easier to learn smaller bits of information at a time, so allow yourself to learn the important techniques that will help you get to a further level of skill faster.

Learn enough to self-correct

Use your resources - Books, DVD's and the internet are all great sources of information. Just be sure to not grab ALL of the books in the library or tell yourself you won't start practicing until you've read  30 articles online. Once you've learned enough, get your hands dirty and be able to identify when you're doing it right or doing it wrong. Awareness is huge here.

Remove barriers to practice

You know what I mean on this one but let me be clear. If you really want to learn it, turn off the TV - stop texting and scrolling instagram. Be mindful of the time you've allocated to practice and learn. You can spend 20 hours doing it half-assed, but then you've really only spent 10 and you're short changing yourself.

Practice for at least 20 hours

There's this thing called the frustration barrier. You're a beginner, you try something, you're still bad after only three hours of practice and you're ready to give up.

For me with macros, feeling inadequate was a barrier. Once I breached that golden threshold where I could self-correct and was understanding what would or wouldn't work, my understanding improved and my confidence increased. Pre-committing to 20 Hours helps you overcome the desire to give up early and will help you prove that you're capable of more than you think.

Watch today's video to break down this concept even further. Plus if you stick around you'll get to see Josh entertainingly put his theory into practice.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Never go to Trader Joe's Hungry in December

Things nearly got out of control this weekend.

I had a busy day Saturday sleeping in, cleaning house, working out and doing laundry. All of a sudden a strong case of the HANGRY's snuck up on me without warning. I had no eggs, no meat prepped and had already made an adaptation of my Seven Minute Scramble in the morning.

The only reasonable option my hungry brain stomach could handle was to go to Trader Joe's, knowing the battlefield I was about to enter.

As much as it's true that you should never go grocery shopping when you're hungry, you really shouldn't go to Trader Joe's hungry in December.

 photo TraderJoesHungry.png

Any other time of the year, my trips into TJ's are quick. I have a basket, I grab a coffee sample then hit fruits/vegetables/meats/wines in that order. Easy perimeter route of the store for all of the fresh and healthy items that are household staples year round.

Not in December.

In December I get drawn down the aisles. Where sweets and crackers and cookies haunt my goals dreams. What's so irresistible down these aisles? So much seasonal greatness. Kind of like how the store has everything pumpkin from September to October, December is a dangerous month for peppermint-anything lovers like me.

Need some examples of what can go wrong during your winter trip?

 photo pepperminteverything2.png
 photo PeppermintCollage.png
The boxes of Joe-Joe's are always gone, all that's left is an empty shelf with a hand-written tag saying how amazing they are and what a good price you can snag them for. When I see the empty shelf I imagine someone doing a supermarket sweep with their cart and grabbing all the boxes that they will then eat from December through November of the following year - no rationing necessary.

This weekend I splurged for the peppermint pretzel slims at $2.99 for the 6oz bag for the second time this month and I'm challenging myself to make them last the whole week this time.

 photo gingerbreadeverything2.png  photo GingerbreadCollage.png

Once my family constructed the mega-gingerbread man from TJ's and decorated him to look like my dad in his work uniform. This time I didn't see any of those remaining but the House Kits looked to be a popular item at only $7.99

Speaking of gingerbread, this paleo recipe for gingerbread brownies looks promising.

 photo EggNogAnything-1.png
 photo EggNogCollage.png

I know how amazing the signature pumpkin ice cream is (and survived 2013 without having any!) so I can only imagine what they've done for the Egg Nog. I have a feeling that a serving is one spoonful but that's not a concern during the holidays, is it?

Apparently this recipe for an Egg Nog Milkshake can't be beat. I'm tempted to try it with almond milk Egg Nog and make a serving just for one... because I can't be trusted to save a serving for "later".

I did have enough will power to mostly stick to my list, but you can tell that it bothered me enough to dedicate an entire post to how many amazing things I passed up to stick to my mostly-paleo plan. 

I consider my friend Marisa lucky that she doesn't have a TJ's to tempt her with all of this until 2014!

Friday, December 13, 2013

All Over the Place

Today's post might be a little scattered seeing that I'm so happy the weekend is here. at last. 

First Point.
I have a confession to make. I haven't gone for a run the entire month of December. First reason is because the temperature has been in the teen's to high 20's for a few weeks here in Portland. You know that I'm no stranger to running in the rain - but running when my feet will freeze off?? Uh no thanks! 

When I was out on the road for the quick 4 miles on my usual route I realized how much I missed the meditation run provides to a wandering mind. For me, it's not just the cardio for the body, it's the therapy for the mind! 

The second reason I've only done 4 miles this month is that I've been strength training instead! After my run I grabbed some weights and did a squat-press, push-up, ab circuit then stood in front of the mirror [flexin'] amazed at how I'm starting to see definition and tone. Moral of the story? More weights, less running (but still running!)

Second Point.

The next topic today is how I've had a disastrous week of trying to wake up. I don't know what's going on, but I'm somewhat convinced that the alarms aren't really going off. I do hear the first one then hit snooze - but the other 14 I sleep right through I have zero explanation for. When I wake up finally 15 minutes after my "Last chance safety net" alarm was supposed to go off, I shoot up out of bed and try to make something out of my dirty hair. Thank goodness the 5-minute makeup challenge that I call "shit to chic" is perfected. 

Maybe this article on 11 surefire ways to get my azz outta bed will help a sister out. 

Third Point. 
Taking my macros for a spin this week was simply amazing. I've never felt more productive and the reactions from my co-workers on how much time was saved was a validation of my hard work. Every 'standardized' thing that my job requires of me is not completed with the click of a button. Can we get a round of applause?

Fourth Point.
I'm a huge advocate of treating yourself to massage therapy, mani/pedi's and spa experiences. Yesterday I scheduled my first 90 minute float session at the Float Shoppe here in Portland and will be going to visit next week. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

All random posts like this one should end with a pensive sloth.

Stay cool this weekend, you. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scramble in Seven

If you know me, you understand that I'm a weekend food prep fanatic. A weekend without food prep is a weekend done wrong in my opinion. 

Prep cuts out all of the guess work and leaves me with healthy grab-and-go options that are perfect for my often busy lifestyle. Just add meat, veggies, sriracha and tupperware and you've got a complete arsenal of what you need to get you great nutrition throughout the week. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, you do the weekend wrong and you actually have to cook during the week. 

Life happens.

This is not a post to talk about how much we fail at life sometimes or how I'm not judging you for not doing weekend meal prep. This is an example of a quick and nimble 7 minute meal that's fresh, healthy and only uses three paleo-approved ingredients. 

The only other things you'll need are a skillet and an appetite for this:

Jessi, I thought you said only three ingredients and seven minutes? Looks like you chopped veggies for days? 

Nope, let me in on my little Trader Joe's secret:

Insert my new favorite Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix. 

This pound of carrots, cabbage, broccoli, pepper, celery, etc is only $2.99 and will rock your world with how versatile it can be used. 

All you have to do to make the serving I showed above is to throw the following into a skillet until the sausage link is hot and the eggs are cooked to your liking. I prefer scrambled, but to each their own.

- 1 cup veggie mix
- 1 chicken sausage link (cut into pieces)
- 2 eggs

More people? Double or triple the serving!

Post-photo I added some sriracha sauce. Make this dish your own by adding spices, cheeses and anything else you think would make the perfect combination into the mix.

If you can't meal prep on weekends, at least you can have quick meals in your arsenal that are healthy and delicious too!

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Amazing Thing I Realized

There's a little quirk about me that you won't often see and really bothers me about myself.

Somehow I can go from happy-go-lucky, this day is awesome, all things are great to instantly frustrated, don't-talk-to-me, if-I-get-asked-that-question-one-more-time-I-swear-I'll.... deflated.

So something like this happened to me yesterday morning and not even the most upbeat songs from my spotify playlist could get my sprits up. Trust me, I tried everything even my guilty pleasure song.

It wasn't until I scrolled through my facebook and instagram feeds mid-day when my world turned around because I realized that it's finals week and i'm not in college anymore.

So first of all, I made a huge grin and did a little bit of this:

Then I remembered all of the horrible feelings about what Finals week used to be like. 

For the new ones around here, I played Division I softball and had a pretty rigorous schedule both athletically and scholastically. Terms were anywhere from 16-22 credits as I double majored and minored. Meaning sleep was a commodity and finals week was never a breeze. 

I literally made it though with coffee binges and the multiple safety-net alarms through the middle of the night to keep me awake as I attempted to pull all-nighters... multiple ones in a row. 

By day three of practice and studying, my optimistic mood would turn into sad and doomsday toddler tantrum, whining and begging for just a NAP!

Then in those final prep classes, all of the professors would try to hint that some obscure joke they made during the 3rd class of the term, you know the one you missed because of a practice that ran late. That silly reference was going to be included in the final too. 

What really chapped my hide was the fact that on top of tuition and textbooks, we had to buy scantrons, #2 pencils and blue books for each class. I mean really, "I spend enough money already on this class!!! You provide the *&^%^ materials."

Then the worst among worsts was when the KIA of the class (know it all) would be the first one to drop the pencil loudly, pack up their things loudly and walk to the front of the room with a huge grin on their face....loudly.

Okay, ha-ha. I was probably the KIA in some classes. Hate me.

For all of you who are still in school, studying for something or you're just having a bad week, I'm sorry. This one's for you!

Then if you're with me and you're no longer in college, raise a glass and toast all of the fabulous people who have made it through just like you have. Cheers! 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Magic

Interrupting TED Tuesday for a fun Christmas link-up with Helene and Taylor to tell you why, at age 26, I'm still like a kid this time of year!

Every Christmas for me starts around mid-November around my birthday. It's like a magical 45 days of the year from the celebration of birth all the way until the ball drops at midnight to ring in the new year. From gifts and family time, rolling right into thanksgiving then the instant magic of the lights, candles, blankets and hot cocoa (spiked now that I'm over 21). 

The days leading up to Christmas were always so exciting growing up with my brother. Every year he was the ring-leader of a present hunt and I'd follow along right after him. Now that I'm older I realize that he just wanted an accomplice to bear part of the consequences, but I really don't blame him. Each and every year my parents got wiser and wiser, always hiding the gifts in sneakier crawl-spaces and often not even in the house. 

Brother being a ring-leader...unrelated to Christmas

I'm so thankful that we weren't subjected to the Elf on the Shelf nonsense that kids today have. There were only threats of lumps of coal in our stockings, even though we knew there would always be boxes of Red Hots, red licorice, a toothbrush, floss and some scratch-its no matter how naughty or nice we were.

Mom would always deck the halls with ribbons, wreaths and lights. There would be Christmas cheer everywhere you looked. We rarely had an actual live tree but still loved and cherished the ritual of decorating the tree with new ornaments, old ornaments, DIY ornaments from school and the ornaments we'd labeled as "Granny, Grandma and Grandpa".

Flash forward through baking and cookie decorating, we always got to open at least one present for my brother's half birthday on Christmas Eve. This gift was often a video game and I remember waking up way too early Christmas morning to play or watch my brother play (which I believe was to allow mom and dad to sleep in, right?)

Christmas morning the tree was always overflowing with presents (and still is to this day) with gifts perfectly wrapped and hand-made bows around them that we could shake and rattle till mom told us to cut it out.

We would go around in a circle, ordered youngest to oldest to start and then spreading out based on number of gifts. Now that my brother lives in Europe, we skype him in and watch his eyes get big for the games and prizes we've "fit and shipped" across the ocean and 9 hours into the future.

Can't wait for it all over again this year! 

Thanks for the fun link-up ladies! 

The Daily Tay

Monday, December 9, 2013

There's an Easy Button

So we may not still be friends after you read this post.

It's not because you'll be mad - but I think you'll realize that I was the kid who sat alone at the lunch table and read a book during recess. You know, rather than playing wall-ball or gossiping like everyone else.

So the dentist appointment Friday went as expected and I left with a swollen face. There was no way I was going back into the office that way, so I headed home to finish out the day in the comfort of my bed with blankets, sweats and music as loud as I wanted. 

Normally that equates to cutting out a little early and getting the weekend started, right?

Not when you have this cramazing (crazy-amazing) 1,000 page textbook to play with: Excel 2010 Power Programming with VBA

Lately in the job-world I've felt stuck in a routine. In an attempt to not "do more" or stretch myself too thin, I've turned to seeking ways I can improve on my skills and save time.

Basically what the book is teaching me is how to write code in the background of Excel files so that all of the manual work (clicking, copy/paste, moving from sheet to sheet, typing formulas, formatting) is all done for me. The amazing part about this? The "work" in the background literally flashes right before your eyes in seconds. 

The major nerd alert part of this story?

I spent my entire Friday night and most of the weekend doing this. Reading, researching, trial/error and scratching my head all equated to a visible cut of close to 30 minutes of my own workday. Not only that, but I fixed some tricks up for co-workers and probably shaved 30 minutes off their day as well! 

Literally that easy (after you put in the work up front).

Press a button. Do a happy dance. 

If only blogging was this easy!

If you see me doing this in my office chair today you'll understand why:

Maybe I can go enjoy my lunch away from my desk today?

Hooray for easy buttons!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cringe at the Thought

Boo - hiss - scratch. Meah.  What a buzzkill to a snowy Friday.

Today at noon I am scheduled for a long overdue dentist appointment.

It's not that I hate the dentist that much. I just have a strange feeling that they're going to keep me around to numb up my face and stick a saliva vacuum in my mouth while they're hard at work. If I didn't have this appointment I would have stayed home from work today as the snow accumulates in Portland - super buzzkill. 

You see, with all of the cold weather lately I've noticed a problem tooth that about a year ago was almost a candidate for a root canal. It's been so sensitive to the cold that I've even taken a pause from running (in the 19 to 32 degree weather) because the wind sends shooting pains through my skull. It's also not a good friend to me when I go for midnight ice cream hunts but that was another day's story.

I sadly have to cram this appointment in today because I go off of my parents insurance plan in 10 short days and need that premium coverage while I can get it!

I wish I could say that I'm overreacting, but this isn't the first of my tooth problems. My mouth is literally full of metal from all of the fillings I've had over the years. You could probably get a tan from the sun's reflection off my shiny metal mouth. I blame my tooth troubles on my self-inflicted malnourished adolescence.

If I could go back 10 years I'd tell myself that my body will take care of me if I take care of it. Even the best brush and floss job in the world won't save me now. 

Hey, so who's in on a $10 bet that I'll drive home and Snapchat everyone my chipmunk cheeks? That is - if I can drive home. Hey Brooke, can I crash at your place if it snows too hard? kidding, kind of

Wish me all the luck! And please come over and make me a protein shake this weekend? 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Selfish Santa

Uh, so how many of you went shopping the past weekend and ended up coming home with more for yourself than for your loved ones? When I shop in December I'm normally all about glitter reindeer, seasonal hand towels and a new dress for a Holiday party I'll likely not end up going to anyway and I forget that I'm there to get mom something she'll actually use / wear and get dad something that my brother suggested because dad's are sometimes hard to shop for.

This past weekend for Black Friday I was extremely guilty of being a selfish Santa.... again.

Okay wait so hear me out. 

I've been eyeing a new MacBook Pro for some time now but never pulled the trigger. First reason is because I like keeping ALL MY MONEYS and the second reason being that I'm always on my work computer anyway. Why spend those dollars I've saved when all I need to pay for is that high-speed WiFi connection? 

Through my recent life changes I fell into some extra money when I was bought out for some of the bigger ticket items that I'd purchased for us - like a couch and an HP laptop. All the extra money in the bank made me buy-ready for this shiny new super computer.

Okay, so maybe not all the way buy-ready, but it was on my brain that I was going to make the purchase in the next few weeks/months. Thing is that I was using the laptop as incentive to continue to lose some pesky extra pounds through clean eating and a daily sweat session.

Can you tell where this story is going? 

Well I found out that Apple had a Black Friday promotion that if you bought a MacBook Pro at any time of Friday past midnight Thursday, you'd get a $150 gift card. I'm kind of serious about sales for things that don't normally have any special promotion attached to them so Thanksgiving night I set four alarms to make sure the Turkey sleeps didn't take over. Just after midnight I clicked "Buy" on the 13" with Retina Display MacBook Pro and scheduled it for Friday pick-up at our downtown Apple store.

Reward cashed in before the hard work. 

There you have it - my Black Friday shopping experience was all sorts of selfish and impatient - but guys I have a gift card now to spend on things to pimp my mac. #thankful

For a mini redemption, I hit up the Made in Oregon store to get a Christmas gift for my bloggy friend Marisa who I went to coffee with on Sunday morning when she was home over the weekend. I picked up the cutest coffee table book about the city I love: This is Portland.

What kind of shopping do you do for yourself around this time of year? How do you keep on track with buying things for others rather than yourself?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Paleo Meatloaf

I'm so excited to share this recipe with you today.

It's clean, it's mean and it's Paleo! 

This recipe is directly from mom and I've been using it for the past two weeks for glorious meatloaf meals in between chicken, turkey and other great protein sources.  If you follow me on instagram, you've seen the spaghetti squash + meatloaf work lunches and you may have drooled. Well here's your chance to make it for yourself! 

All you need are 5 easy ingredients (seriously only 5!) and hardly 15 minutes of prep time. Important note about these 15 minutes is that you'll need (and want) to get your hands dirty! Nothing like being wrist-deep in raw meat and eggs. 

Good luck! 

How amazing does that look? 

Here's how I've been eating it - with Spaghetti Squash

Make your own and tag me on instagram! Email me with questions using the comments section below!