Christmas Tree Hunt

My Parents and I finally went and picked out our christmas tree last week. Here’s some photos. We didn’t do anything extra exciting, just drove a few miles up the road to a U-Cut Christmas tree farm, picked out a good tree, cut it down and hauled it home.

photo 2

photo 3

photo 1

And a week later, we still don’t have it fully decorated. Fail.

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DIY Sharpie Mugs

Supplies:

                                                          
(1) Cheap, white mug
(2) Porcelaine markers (I’ve heard oil-based sharpies work too, but I had these already)
(3) A design
For my design I decided to “monogram” the mugs for my brother and his girlfriend. (The nerd in me just laughed because the letters I used are B and G, but for Brandon and Grace, not Brother and Girlfriend… wow). I printed them off the computer (I used the Rockwell font size 150). I then flipped them over and used a pencil to scribble over the outline on the back. 

I then flipped the letter back over, and taped it to the mug. I proceeded to trace over the outline with a pen.
After removing the “stencil” this is what you’re left with:

I then simply went over my outline with the porcelain marker. These things can be tricky – you shake them up to get the ink mixed, then I recommend dotting it a few times on a piece of paper towel (you can press down and the marker tip presses back into the marker, which can cause a lot of ink to come out). If you aren’t careful you’ll get a huge blob of ink on your project. Have no fear, if you mess up – rubbing alcohol will remove any mess-ups before you bake.

Then to make them a little more artistic and cute, I “filled in” the letters
My marker was slowly dying. Then I pressed it down a few times on a paper towel and it ended up gushing out paint, so the G is a little darker than the B. But I like the way the B looked so I left it.
I then finalized the mugs with a gold sharpie paint marker on the other side with a customization for my brother and his girlfriend. I’ll see how well that stays on after they bake.
Look for an update here in a couple days with a “post baking” picture!!!

Workout: Preparing For Hibernation

I love everything to do with the holidays. Cookies, candies, bread, you get the idea. So while it may be the easy way out to gain a couple pounds, put on a layer of fat, and wait the winter out… I’ve decided to make an effort this year to continue to go to the gym, do cardio, and lift… Coming out a better, more fit person in the spring.

I have a goal in the waaaaaaaay back of my mind to run a 10k. So I’ve been training to run longer distances, and slowly increasing my pace. I figure I have all winter to work towards it, so there’s no excuse.

The first part of my workout always involves a run. Currently I am following a “plan” that may or may not be successful, but so far I find it to be one that I can increase my pace on, as well as my running distance. The plan (see below) is set up as a run/walk, so you run for minutes vs. distance, which is perfect for increasing speed because I end up going further, but the same amount of time. Each “stage” lasts 3 days, so I increase my speed each day (i.e.- 6.2 day 1, 6.3 day 2, 6.4 day 4). Then the next week I start day 1 at 6.2 again.

Here’s the plan (from Victory Fitness)

I started on days 14-17 because that was my baseline, but the link will bring you to the full plan.

Day 14-17:

Walk 3 minutes: Run 6 minutes

Walk 3 minutes: Run 4 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 3 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 3 minutes

Walk 1 minutes: Run 1 minutes

Walk 2 minutes

Day 18-21:

Walk 3 minutes: Run 8 minutes

Walk 3 minutes: Run 6 minutes

Walk 3 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 2 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 2 minutes: Sprint 10 seconds

Walk 2 minutes

Day 22-24:

Walk 2 minutes: Run 10 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 8 minutes

Walk 1 minutes: Run 2 minutes

Walk 1 minutes: Run 1 minutes

Walk 2 minutes

Day 25-26:

Walk 1 minutes: Run 16 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Run 10 minutes

Walk to cool down

Day 27-28:

Walk 1 minutes: Run 20 minutes

Walk 2 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 1 minutes: Sprint 15 seconds

Walk 1 minutes: Run 3 minutes

You can see the pattern the plan takes. It seems like there are doable jumps between weeks, even if they seem daunting before you try. I’ll let you guys know how it goes as I progress.

Then, after my run/cooldown I go lift. Currently I am working out at Planet Fitness, so if you’re familiar with the gym, you know the equipment I have access to. Depending on the day I will either focus on a muscle group, or do a full body lift. I also go with a friend who does legs a lot. I like to use some machines and some free weights.

Here are my favorite lifting exercises:

Leg press/squat:

Dead lifts:

Chest press:

Row:

Assisted pull-ups:

Lat pull-down:
Dumbbell flys:
Biceps curl:
Triceps kick-back:

Triceps dips:
Most of these exercises you can find out the proper way to do from the machine. But for the most part with free weights, keep your elbows close to your body (biceps and triceps), and use a weight that you can do 8-12 reps with. When I can do more than 12 reps with a weight, I increase. I have yet to get “huge” and “bulky” so I’m not scared to lift too heavy. I do shy away from doing too much weight with my inner thighs/hamstrings, only because those muscles seem to grow quickly on me, and then it hinders my running.

And most importantly, STRETCH.

Don’t forget to stretch any muscle that you worked that day. Foam rolling is awesome. 
Also, drink plenty of water, no matter what you’re doing. And if you do anything with strength make sure you increase your protein intake. Whether you eat some peanut butter, or drink a protein shake, get a little extra in right after your workout to refuel your muscles and help them rebuild.

My Favorite Youtubers

Some days I just want to veg out: sit on my butt, eat junk, and watch trashy TV. Except unlike most people, I don’t always enjoy binge watching seasons/series of TV shows (with the exception of Grey’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, or The Big Bang Theory). I am addicted to YouTube videos. Some days I will just search YouTube for a certain thing and after a few clicks and videos, end up in a completely different topic or channel then when I started.

I’ve developed a keen liking to “Beauty Gurus” as they’re called on YouTube. Watching videos of hair styles, makeup looks, makeup and fashion hauls, DIY room decor, etc. I can’t get enough of them!

So let’s get into it!

My Favorite Beauty YouTube Channels:

(These are in no particular order, so PLEASE check them all out! If you like a video, give it a thumbs up, if you really like a channel, subscribe!)

Eleventh Gorgeous:

Eleventhgorgeous (aka – Tracy and Stephanie) was one of the first channels I ever watched and subscribed to on YouTube. They’re funny, and feed off each other. They do “what not to do” videos, which are hilarious, but also do “getting ready with me” videos, hauls, and some other fun videos. The part I like about them is they typically go to stores like Target, H&M, Forever21, even Kmart, vs. Lilly Pulitzer, Free People, Urban Outfitters, etc that can be more expensive then some people prefer.

RachhLoves:

Rachel’s channel pulls me in with her “getting ready with me” or “getting unready with me” videos. I also love that each month she does a “theme week” where she posts a video every day (vs twice a week), all relating to a certain theme. She’s cute, her style is sensible (she’s a new mom after all), and very down to earth.

Leighannsays:

Leighann is funny. I love when she’s “hauls” something from Target, because, like everyone else, she ends up getting a ton of stuff she didn’t know she needed or wanted, and usually doesn’t even get the 1 thing she went into Target to get (can you relate?)

Caitlin Bea:

Caitlin might be my favorite YouTuber. I love her style, her decorating, etc. She’s an artist for fun, and makes adorable and skilled stuff. Her makeup is something that I can attempt to emulate. She’s funny, and realistic too. She’s friends with Sarahbelle (below) and I love when they do videos together.

Sarabelle93x:

Sarahbelle is amazing. She’s a southern belle, with sass. She has the cutest style that I am SO jealous of, and I want her voluminous hair. She’s hated on a lot around YouTube and Instagram, but that just makes me love her even more. I like watching her hauls of Lilly Pulitzer, etc and get so jealous that I could never own half that stuff, let alone pull it off wearing it.

Aspyn Ovard:

Aspyn’s channel is one that I like to go back and watch old videos from before I was subscribed to her. She has awesome food videos, that are “healthier” than some other options, but still delicious. She’s a horrible cook, like me, so everything she makes I know I can too. She’s cute and funny, and I love her DIYs too.

ShadesOfKassie:

Kassie knows almost everything there is about makeup. I like watching her Getting Ready With Me videos, and attempting to learn how to put on eyeshadow properly. Her son, Ethan, is adorable, and they do food subscription box unboxing videos together and it’s the cutest thing ever. 

AlishaMarie:

Alisha is a younger YouTuber, but I love her just the same. She has cute style, her vlogs are fun and interactive. She does lots of cute DIY projects, and has a lot of colabs with other YouTubers. If you like her, check out the colabs she’s done and follow those girls too!

MarissaLace:

Marissa is one of those YouTubers that I wish was my friend in real life. I love getting to watch her change from her old self into the person she is now. I love that she’s discovered Advocare, and now has a healthy lifestyle where she works out (and likes it), and eats following If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM). See her vlog channel down below also. I love all of her videos, regardless of the topic!

Elle Fowler:

Elle, and her sister Blair (not their real names), both have YouTube Channels. Together they have a business that sells cute stuff (makeup bags, phone cases), and they have a couple books out. However, I am very partial to Elle. She’s beautiful, and I feel down to earth. I love her decorating ideas for the holidays, and her book reviews.

Zoella:

Zoella is a YouTuber from across the pond. She has the cutest style, the longest hair, and the sweetest accent. I love her Primark Hauls, and it actually upsets me that I can’t go out and buy the things she gets (Reminds me of Forever 21). She’s starting to “blow up” if you will, with her own book, and it’s awesome to see her videos about anxiety and the social problems she’s had, and how she’s overcome them to get to where she is now.

*Note: A lot of the YouTube Beauty Gurus are changing their channels over to their names, vs the names they started with (e.g.: Aspyn’s channel used to be HauteBrilliance).

My Favorite Lifestyle/Vlog Channels:

SHAYTARDS

The Shaytards are a family that vlogs daily. Shay Carl and his wife have 5 kids, and their vlogs are always humorous. Sometimes Shay can get a little preachy (especially about haters), and there’s a lot of sponsorships being thrown in lately, but still a good channel. I love their kids: Sontard, Princesstard, Babytard, Rocktard, and Brotard. (Not their real names, don’t worry).

Teeandess

The Other Side of EG (as they are formally known). I LOVE Tracy and Stephanie. On this channel they do awesome stuff like taste test those seasonal treats that you’re not sure will be good or not (pumpkin spice oreos, etc). It’s always amusing to watch, and usually they’re spot on.

TheDailyMarissaLace

Marissa has changed so much since I started watching YouTube, and I love her more and more as time goes on. She started as a beauty guru (see that channel above), but has grown into so much more, which I like. She’s began doing much more with healthy lifestyles, dieting, and working out. I LOVE her vlogs more than anything else she does.

Kalyn Nicholson

Kalyn is one of my favorite YouTubers. She does videos on healthy recipes (that are actually healthy), awesome DIYs, both clothing and decorating, she does workout vlogs, and motivation as well.

Jenna Marbles:

Jenna is super popular in the YouTube community, and is expanding. I listen to Hits1 on SiriusXM, and she does a weekly show now about trending music on YouTube. Her dogs, Kermit and Marbles (and she has a new one!) are adorable and I love that she spoils them and “abuses” them. She uploads every Wednesday, and I find myself anticipating her new video each week.

Ayydubs

Alyx is weird, inappropriate, honest, and fun. Her videos and guaranteed to make you laugh, and are amusing takes on more serious subjects (and by serious I mean: How to get a guy to notice you… Or, Why I’m the worst roommate). A good quick laugh is guaranteed.

Cambria Joy/BreeLovesVlogs

I have recently stumbled upon Bree’s channels. She’s cute, perky, and one of those that I can put on in the background and listen to her blogs while I clean my room, etc. She’s religious, which is a healthy change from some media these days, but not down your throat about it!

My Favorite Fitness/Health/Food Channels:

Blogilates

Most people by now have heard of blogilates. Cassie is awesome at making quick, but effective workouts. I love that they’re all free to watch. When I’m lazy or only have a few minutes, I pick 1-3 of her videos to do, and by the end I’m sore and sweating. She’s so positive and motivating, which can get excessive so beware!

KaraLeigh83

Kara lives in Upstate NY, so she’s naturally one of my favorites. She’s sponsored by P28 and MTS, but gives really good reviews, and I love watching her daily workout/food blogs. Love seeing that you can eat what you want and still have an awesome figure.

Sarah Fit

I love Sarah’s opinion on what’s worth the money at places like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, places where you can spend a lot of dough if you’re not careful. 

The Domestic Geek:

Love, love love the recipes on here. She does a great job of getting to the nitty gritty quick. Not a lot of fluff. Some of my favorites are the same base (i.e. – mac and cheese), but 3 different ways to change it up! Also, AWESOME smoothie recipes!

So what do you think of these channels? Do you watch a lot of YouTube? Any channels I’m missing out on and need to check out?

Opening Day of Gun Season – My Experience

My boyfriend is an avid hunter. He loves the outdoors, and could just sit in his treestand for hours and be happy. Over the past couple years I have begun to be interested in hunting, and the practice/experience of harvesting game. So, this fall I took a Hunter Safety Course, which is required in New York to get your hunting license. I took the combination Bow and Gun course, allowing me to hunt with whatever I chose.

I went out once with Mike during archery season and just sat in the tree stand with him, which I posted some funny pictures in this post here. Today was the opening day of gun season. Therefore, I partook in the ritual of getting up at 5am, dragging my butt out of bed, throwing on layers upon layers of “warm” clothing with an outer layer of camo. I loaded my gun, and we headed off the the ground blind. Now, thank goodness we hunted out back of Mike’s house. Because here’s my play by play:

0600: Leave house. Walk up a steep incline approximately 200 yards to the food plot/ground blind location.

0615: Get situated in the ground blind, with 2 people, 2 chairs, 2 guns. Open vents so we have sight all around us in case a deer comes in.

0630: Listen to the neighbors drive their ATV into the woods. As it’s just starting to get light out, here the first shot.

0645-0830: Hear multiple gun shots all around us. See no deer. My hand warmers are doing awesome. My nose is frozen and snot is starting to drip (super attractive for Mike, I’m sure). My toes are ice, despite the wool socks, Ugg boots, and space boots I have on. Mike keeps trying to talk to me, but my headband, hat, and 2 hoods make it impossible to hear anything (how I wouldve heard a deer is a moot point at this time).

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 10.24.53 AM0845: Mike tells me I lookmiserable, gives me a hi-five for coming out. And tells me to pack my stuff up and head back to the house where I can warm up, drink coffee, and take a hot bath. And, defeated, having seen 0 deer, I do as he suggested.

0900: Warm my car up because, screw sitting inside, I want Dunkin Donuts.

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Mike would be proud though, I didn’t take an camo selfies this time!

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Responsible (Christmas) Gift Ideas

As someone who is finally starting to pay back on student loans, I have begun thinking about how to be more responsible with my money. Sure, I have the basic expenses, but this time of year, spending can become excessive. Decorating, baking, and gifts add up quickly to an astronomical total.

Of course there is an expectation to give gifts to those close to us, for example my parents, siblings, boyfriend, and best friend. And my sisters boyfriend and brothers girlfriend are both awesome people and I want to include them as well. But how do you give awesome gifts, while still being responsible?

Here are some cute DIY gifts I’ve found on Pinterest that I’m loving. And the best part is, they are truly gifts that I would love to receive myself.

First: Hand painted coffee/tea mugs. I love the simplicity of these mugs from Designmom.com. The white mugs with black writing will match anyone’s decor, however I like the idea of changing the black to a gold to make it more festive.

diy sharpie coffee mug

diy sharpie coffee mug

Second: This DIY Anthropology Hack Animal Jewelry Dish. I LOVE that you can use a plain plate, a decorated plate, a cheap plate from Good Will, you can pick the size, etc. AND you can pick whatever animal they like, and paint it all whatever color you want. It’s super easy, and very customizable.

DIY ring dish

DIY ring dish

I found the idea from a Buzzfeed article, but it seems simple enough to duplicate without instruction. Target or the Dollar Store are perfect spots to look for all different kinds of animals.

And last (that I’ve come across so far), is this adorable wine bottle, and 4 glass holder. My dad would have to help me with this one just a little bit, but it would be cute for a gift, include the wine! The post I saw this on is Home Talk, and I found the instructions there, but the picture said it’s from Down Home Inspirations.

Wine Bottle/Glass holder

Wine Bottle/Glass holder

Here’s the quick and dirty instructions:

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 x 8 board (you’ll only need 7 1/2 inches, so the smallest you can find at your store)
  • saw (I used a miter saw, but a hand or jig saw could work if you have a steady hand)
  • drill
  • 5/8″ drill bit
  • 1 1/2″ drill bit
  • scroll saw or jig saw
  • Optional:
    drill press
    1 1/4″ drill bit
    Dremel tool

What do you guys think? Good ideas? Do you have any other suggestions? Things that look like you’d want, and they’re worth keeping around?

Anxiety

I have had some for of “anxiety” (self-diagnosed that is) for as long as I can remember. Some times it’s completely Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 5.13.36 PMwarranted, sometimes it’s my brain thinking up/creating things, and sometimes it’s my past rearing it’s ugly face and involving itself in my current situations.

Through all of this I have yet to learn how to properly deal with my anxiety. Typically I can run or work out and that will allow the energy I was spending to be spent doing something productive, versus dwelling on things and working myself up. I have also tried supplements like Gaba Calm, or Calms Forte (Calms Forte is a homeopathic supplement) to at least take the edge off. These work best when I am anxious about something specific, such as a meeting, interview, event. Hell, I even took a Gaba Calm before my first date with Mike. Taking things like this may be more psychological than anything, but sometimes a placebo is all that’s necessary.

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I had a bout of anxiety this weekend, and when it was all over (and during it also) I realized it was all caused by my brain. Caused by me overthinking, and creating scenarios in my head and making things up. I take a good (or great) situation and let it fend for itself in my head while I am creating every reason I can to turn it into a negative situation.

And while anxiety isn’t something to joke about, I find posts like these on pinterest/instagram/tmblr comforting. They remind me to laugh, and to relax. They remind me that my brain is creating problems for me, and I need to take a step back and relax.

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