Ask Away Blog: January 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Books I Recommend You Read [January]

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Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington
This is a family drama that takes place in the 70's and involves some scandal and murder but it's one of those books you can read in a day or two because you don't want to put it down! I just couldn't wait to see what happened next!


The Unseen World by Liz Moore
This book is a mix of the past, present, and future and is told through the eyes of Ada, who is trying to figure out who her dad is.  It has some really cool twists and it's almost like a science fiction book in a way.  Definitely a must read! 


Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
So this book is actually for teens but it's a great read. It's full of tons of family drama and lots of twisted passion.  Basically, a brother and sister that are raising the rest of their siblings fall in love and it has some really deep consequences.



The Cellar by Natasha Preston
This is a great book because it deals with an exciting plot even though it's a bit upsetting at times.  It follows a girl who is abducted and kept in a cellar with 3 other girls.  A must read!




Such A Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess
This is a very short and easy read about a girl whose father is released early from prison and has to register as a sex offender.  She has to finally face her dark past of what he did to her and those in her life.  



That Night by Chevy Stevens
This is like reading the script of a movie.  A girl and her boyfriend spend time in prison for a murder they didn't commit.  Once they are out it's as if the whole town is against them but they try to prove their innocence. 


Those Girls by Chevy Stevens
Another great read by this author.  This story is about how 3 sisters overcome some horrific experiences and how it still comes back to haunt them in the end.  This one is kind of action packed as well.  I love this book and it made me fall in love with the author even more.


Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen
This book is basically a family drama where a woman basically tells the story of her family's drama with losing their home to the government, an unwanted pregnancy, and a few more scandalous things.  I love the way this book was written and I love how easy it was to read.




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Friday, January 27, 2017

Things I'm Loving Lately

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This post is kind of a general update on all the awesome things in my life. 

So even though I'm on a diet I still indulge in chocolate from time to time.  With James being gluten free I'm careful what products I let in my home. 

This chocolate is from Whaddyalove Chocolate and Spruce 0132. They are made with cocoa beans sourced from a family owned chocolate farm in Ecuador.  And Garrett, who makes them knows that it's important to have a gluten free, vegan, and all natural product.  Each bar comes folded in an origami pattern that contains a sweet little note!








As for taste, it's super yummy and tastes better than any chocolate I've ever had before.  That's saying a lot - trust me!




I have been having some great hair days lately.   I do my own little version of a blow out (tutorial here) when I wash and dry my hair every other day but I swear by my round brushes as well. My Conair round brushes helps me pull my hair up and away and really get some body into it.



Oh and speaking of hair... this little thing is called a TubShroom and YOU need one, trust me! This little gem stops hair before it can down your drain and all you have to do is plug it into your drain hole! It prevents clogging and it's super easy to clean it.  Oh and it works great on animal hair too!



I started watching some new reality TV shows.  I'm so obsessed with Vanderpump Rules as it is so it's no surprise that now I am into Timber Creek Lodge and Summer House.


Oh and we picked out our wedding bands.  I can't show you guys until after we get married though so you'll have to wait till October!



Also I am still obsessed with LuLaRoe which I know sounds crazy because, really?? Me of all people? I explained it all in this post.

So that's what I'm up to. How about you?












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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Outfit of the Day - Mint - and Bloopers










Today's post is pretty damn funny and I wanted to share some funny blooper OOTD photos. So on a serious note I'm wearing a mint green LuLaRoe Julia dress with OS leggings.   But that's not what this post is about. 

You see the other week I shared a photo of me in LuLaRoe on my personal Facebook page, (it's the outfit in this post)  noting that my neighbor's truck was in the background. As a joke I tagged my neighbor and said 'you're welcome for the free advertising." 



This was his response.   It was epic and everyone was cracking up over it.

So the next day I went to take some photos outside and I noticed he had stuck a Grounds Guys sign in our yard.   I ran outside to post with it but I set my tripod and camera too far away so it wasn't picking up the signal from my remote.  I was began getting frustrated (as per usual) and had a few choice words to say.   Anyways, when I reviewed the photos I was cracking up because of how pissy my face looks when I'm trying to get the pictures to take.




 



Ah, I finally got it!







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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January Fitness + Health Update




So last time I blogged about my health and fitness I talked about how I was on a new journey and how I was working out consistently every day.


So now that I mastered working out as a regular habit I've cut it back to every other day.  I do my weight training (routine here) and my elliptical (routine can be found here) consistently and I still struggle.  Even though all I have to do is go to my basement, that almost makes it even easier to just back out.  I literally go through a huge battle with myself in my head each day that I need to workout where I try to convince myself that it's okay if I skip it because I just don't feel like doing it.


In the end, I still get my ass in gear and I feel so proud afterwards.


So on that front everything has been great.  When it comes to food however, the holidays really threw me off.  I did so good but ended up caving over New Year's so I started all over and whipped my ass into gear.   Thanks to that, I dropped a whole pound in just under 3 weeks. 


I also tried out a free app for a 30 Day Arm Challenge but I got bored with it. 
 
Weight wise, in total I lost 2 more pounds since mid December. Not too shabby for a gradual lifestyle change. I am really watching my diet now so I can lose some more inches in the next month and a half for bridesmaid dress fittings for my best friend's wedding.  So I'm using that as my goal!   Check back in a month to see more on how I did.  I'm hoping I lose 3-4 pounds!


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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Outfit of the Day | Grey Skies









 


It was super gloomy on the day this photo was taken so I thought it was appropriate to embrace the grey and put it in my outfit.



This is another LuLaRoe outfit with a large Irma and an grey OS leggings.


Sometimes grey and white seems too bland so I like to sharpen it with black boots or booties.  Since this top is shorter I went with taller boots.











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Friday, January 20, 2017

Snow Safety Tips for Dogs

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Ahh winter.  Some of us love it and some of us hate it.  Either way if you live in an area where it snows in the Winter than it's inevitable that you and your fur kids will have to deal with it.  Keeping that in mind, here are some tips for snow safety and dogs.


1.  Salt Hurts.
When salting your sidewalk, driveway, and walkway make sure you look for a pet-friendly salt.  Salt can burn your pooch's poor paws and if it's toxic and gets stuck in their fur, they can lick it out and get sick.  So make sure you opt for a pet-friendly salt brand and I assure you there are plenty of them out there.  I use Safe Paws for my dogs.


2. It's COLD on their Feet!!
If it's freezing cold outside but you just have to take your dog for a walk and you wonder why they don't like it, perhaps YOU should stand outside in YOUR barefeet! So if possible allow your pet to stand in the grass rather than the cold concrete sidewalk. And if your dog lets you put little snow booties on him, then more power to ya!





3. Meal Time is Important.
If your dog loves the snow it's not hard to notice they can expend all their energy running around in it so before they head outside make sure they've had a decent meal.  I like Blue Buffalo Healthy Starts for my gang! It's a complete balanced meal packed with protein to give them the energy they'll be needing outdoors! Plus it's full of minerals to boost their immune system.


4.  They Can Still Get Dehydrated in the Cold.
Even though we tend to think of dehydration in the summer, you still need just as much water in the Winter and the same goes for your pooch. Make sure he has plenty of water available before and after snow play time!


5. Brush that Snow Off!
Snow and ice can get caked onto their fur and in between their toes so make sure you check them all over upon entering the house and be sure to brush them off and get them dry.  No one likes the feeling of being wet and cold!


Does your dog love the snow or do they prefer to watch it from INSIDE the house?








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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Outfit of the Day with LuLaRoe










Today's just a short and simple post - an outfit of the day from my new wardrobe which really needed some upgrades.   It's all from LuLaRoe in fact!

This is a Large Irma and OS Leggings.   I love the Irma because it's basically a tunic top.   I love the sizing because it's flowy and super comfortable but still gives a nice flattering look when worn with something that's more form fitting on the bottom!  

The leggings are super warm so it's perfect to wear on an overcast rainy day like today!


I will have several more outfit posts for you from my new wardrobe so stay tuned!











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Monday, January 16, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Dip Slow Cooker Recipe + A Giveaway

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I am all about delicious foods and easy recipes so today I wanted to combine the two and bring you a recipe for my favorite slow cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip that's super easy to make and oh so delicious to eat!





Ingredients:
1 28 oz. can Keystone Meats Chicken
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (softened)
1 Cup Ranch Dressing
3/4 Cup Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
1. Drain the chicken while in the can.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat heat chicken and wing sauce until warm. 
3. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing and stir well until blended and warm. 
4. Mix in half the shredded cheese then ransfer to slow cooker.
5. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top.
6. Cover and cook on low setting for about 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Serve with crackers or celery. 




Now when I say easy I don't just mean that it's because you can make it in the crockpot.  No, I'm talking about also having the chicken canned and ready to go so you don't have to prepare it yourself.  That's why I used a can of chicken from Keystone Meats.

Keystone Brand Meats is owned and operated by four generations of the Dorley family.  They originally raised beef on their family farm and processed it to supply restaurants and grocery stores through Indiana and Ohio.  Then in 1980 Dave Dorley became the third generation owner and operator and he built a new beef processing facility and upgraded everything to meet USDA standards.  He even built a meat cannery. And today, their beef is sourced from local farms and processed for local customers just like always.  They also distribute their canned meats and soup throughout the US.  No matter how much they grow they continue to serve their customers with the highest quality all natural meats!


And today I have a great giveaway for you so that you can make this recipe with the same chicken I did from Keystone Meats! Good luck!












Friday, January 13, 2017

I Gave In To Cravings...& It Was SO Worth It

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So I know I'm all about healthy choices when it comes to food but every once in a while I splurge.   I am very choosy when I splurge and go off my diet so I am careful how I do it.  Well MunchPak made it super easy for me. 







That's right! MunchPak is a snack delivery service that includes an assortment of snacks from around the world.  Depending on the size of the box you opt for you can get 5-10 to even 20 full size snacks.  It's actually really cool to see the packaging from other countries too! Honestly it's really great when you need a stash of snacks at the office, in your car, or just around the house for the occassional cheat days.   


I love everything I got in mind.  I couldn't pronounce some of the things but they were all delicious.  There were cookies to candy bars to fruit chews!  All of my favorite stuff!  And you can interact with them on social media once you get your MunchPak in the mail which makes it all the more fun!


I've also found that it's easier for me to stick with my diet if I only have one of each product.   Because I know if I ran out to the store and bought a full sized bag of cookies, I could not stop myself.  So this kind of helps me with my portion control even on cheat days.


You can even give MunchPak as a gift which I think is a fun idea for college students, coworkers, and siblings!   Check it out today and let me know what your favorite snacks are!




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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

UGHHH LuLaRoe! [A Confession & A Real Ass Review]




Ugh Ugh Ugh UGHHHHHHHH! It pains me to write this.  No, seriously.  BRB while I go bang my head against a wall.   

AHHHHH Hold on. I can't even type this right now.   

Ok fine, here goes.  

Sigh.....
Soooo uhhh, I own a pair of LuLaRoe leggings?   I mean I guess that's not a question, it's a fact at this point. Wait wait! Don't click away. I know you might want to because I would have before all of this went down.  And before you fret....no, I'm NOT a consultant and I never will be. 

Now first of all you all know how i feel about products like that and in-home parties.  I mean I wrote an entire blog post about it here


Well, LuLaRoe was something I always avoided like the mother flippin' plague that it has become.  People are obsessed with these damn leggings and they search for the design they like like a mad person.  It turns out, not every consultant gets the same stuff so if you see a design you really like, you have to hunt for it.  Now, that's all way too much work for me.  



If I want leggings I'll go to TJ Maxx and buy some on clearance.  James didn't mind the hunt though.  You see on Christmas Day I opened one of my gifts from him only to discover... GULP.... a pair of Chihuahua LuLaRoe leggings!   Now I knew these existed because many people have messaged me to show me a picture of them (always with the disclaimer that they know I  don't like LuLaRoe but they thought of me when they saw them).
  

So anyways, I asked James how he found them and he said he asked his sister (a LuLaRoe consultant - you can find her page here) if they had any Chihuahua ones.  She said she'd hunt around for some and she found them and he bought them.  He said they were $25. 



So I loved them right away because they have chi-chis on them and they were from James.  

Then....
I put them on. 
I PUT THEM ON!!!!!
I wore them with a tunic top and some comfy ass boots.  

OMFG YO! 

They were so soft and comfortable right away. Everyone always says they feel like butter. THEY DO!!! AHHHH! What the hell?!?!?! 

So honestly I figured I'd just give you a real ass review of what I really truly think as someone who isn't afraid to tell it how it is! 


They feel so good...
Really, they do.  They are super soft and super cozy.  They don't squeeze me funny or ride up or fall down.  I could literally wear them as my skin and keep them on day and night.  



They are adorable...
The designs really are so cute.   



They are reasonably priced so far...
I mean if these end up falling apart in two months I'll be super pissed.  $25 for a pair of leggings is still a lot to me so I wouldn't be buying a million pairs.  But as long as they maintain their good quality I won't mind investing in 2 or 3 pairs total.  



They don't hold in my gut...
Unfortunately I wish they were control top like I normally wear because I hate my midsection be all floppy sloppy everywhere. So I will have to dress in a way that helps conceal my belly. 



I don't really NEED them...
I am careful how I spend my money.  Honestly, I'm just as happy with cheaper leggings.  I can forgo the butter feeling.  So I won't be one of those people that gets carried away. If I see another pair or two that's cute I may get them but I'm not going to stock up on tons and tons because it's just not realistic for my budget.  


It's More than JUST Leggings...
Honestly, I thought it was only leggings but no LuLaRoe offers a ton of comfortable, colorful, flowy tops and dresses.  I am obsessed with dresses and tunics and long tops that I can wear over leggings so I'm in Heaven now !



So there..I frickin' frackin' fruckin' admitted to owning some, wearing some, and liking some of those damn leggings.   

So why was I so against them before this? Well, could it be that maybe the whole craze of consulting for products such as dietary supplements, diet plans, and skin products has ruined it for me? Yes, absolutely.   I still don't want people bugging me about buying some.  I prefer to shop privately and quietly on my own terms.    I also was never of a fan of how you  just get added to the groups. But knowing what I know now, that technically is kind of how consultants had to spread the word.  Now, the product sells itself so people seek out Lula groups. 

So since I began writing this post I actually purchased a UNICORN!  If you don't know what a unicorn is it's basically a hard to come by pair of leggings.  Lo and behold I got into a group my friend added me to and there they were. Chihuahua leggings with a black background. I mean they look just like Pixie don't they!








The other thing about Lula groups is that there are weekly giveaways in each group which is how I ended up winning the pair of leggings I wore in this outfit below with a LulaRoe top.
Then I went over to my future sister-in-law's house over the weekend and I shopped through her Lula and OMG.  CUTEST AND MOST COMFY STUFF EVER.




So now I own a ton of LuLaRoe stuff and I love it and GET why everyone else loves it.  And it's honestly not the same as all those other things that people sell.   So I get it, I really do.


Now if you've read this far it means you might also be a LuLaHoe! Just like me... and if that's the case you're in luck because I'm hosting an ONLINE LuLaRoe PopUp on Thursday, January 19th at 7 pm.  For 24 hours you will be able to shop my hosted party through the Facebook albums!  If you are interested let me know in the comments below and leave your email address so I can send you the link for the party. I will be there the whole time to help you with any sizing or product questions and so will Vicki!  It will take place through Vicki so if you want to join her group in advance follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LuLaRoeVictoriaLynn/ 


So.... now that I got that off my chest... what do YOU think about LuLaRoe?  Have you been a LuLaHoe for a long time now?  






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Monday, January 9, 2017

Wedding Planning [OR NOT] - A BIG Announcement




So obviously, you know I got engaged in December.   I was never much of a girly girl/dream wedding type person but I love the idea of planning and organizing things so shortly after I became engaged, I started thinking of plans. 


The date will be in the Fall of 2018 which you think is a long way away but it's now less than 2 years. 

Our budget that we were shooting for is under $6k.  We were each planning on paying half so that means I'd have to come up with $3k of my own money by then.  Honestly, that normally would be possible with my blogging income, but with all the vet bills from the dogs now (which is where all my extra income goes) I was really going to have to stretch every last dollar and cut back where I can in my everyday life and budget.Not only that but I have some things I want in the near future like Lasik for my eyes (can't stand paying so much for glasses and contacts each year), things for the house, and just other things that we would be happier spending our money on. 




So we decided on the best thing that works for us....


We will be going to a JP in the Fall and getting that over with and then we will be inviting all of our friends and family over to our house for a backyard BBQ! This way we don't have to limit our guest list, we can have people pitch in to help with some of the food, and we can do everything in the comfort of our own home and not have to worry about going anywhere and planning much ahead of time.  I mean how hard is it to throw a backyard BBQ.


This is ideal for us and we couldn't be happier!   It'll be super budget friendly because we will just have food and drink costs but we will know exactly how much we will need of each.  So woohoo!! I get to save money and have an even bigger bash!  


Cheers to 2017!













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