Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blogger Men Tell All

Yesterday was National Coffee Day and although Ronnie and I celebrated with a trip to the coffee shop at lunch, I really feel sad about the fact I didn't pay tribute to this special day with a blog post in its honor. I told Ronnie that I have absolutely no creative thoughts in my head lately and I think it's because I am working so much lately!  The good news is today, someone else is going to take over that space for me-my husband!

Becoming Adorrable

I was so excited about this Blogger Men Tell All Linkup hosted by my friend Samantha and I just know Ronnie was just as thrilled. This is only his second time gracing the blog with his presence-the first was his take on the Six Things We Learned In Six Months of Marriage. My husband is funny, hilarious, selfless and a way better cook than I am but you already knew all that. Now, you can get to know him even better.




If you had a blog what would you call it and what would it be about? 

I am not sure of a name but it would be about food, fitness, coffee, and life. And how awesome his wife is, I am sure.
If you could live inside any videogame, which would it be?

I'm not really a gamer but I guess I would choose Gears of War. Thank the heavens he's not a gamer...but if I could choose a game for him to live in, I would choose The Sims and I'd be the gamer. Muhahha. 

Who is your best player on your fantasy football team this season?

fantasy football...? 

If you could play for any professional sports team, which would it be?

The Chicago Cubs, the history of the organization and the environment of Wrigley Field is amazing.

What do you typically do with an hour of free time?

I like to watch netflix or hulu, mindless activity is a nice break from work and school. We do love our netflix/hulu binges!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Coffee Date + Highs and Lows



Friday couldn't come soon enough this week. I spent the first couple days of my week traveling for work and when I came home, I was starting to feel under the weather. My throat has progressively been hurting more and more and today I ended up staying home from work to get some rest. It seems like every week I come here and tell you about how busy I am with work and life, so lets talk about something else, like the highs and lows of my week.

H I G H S

As of Wednesday, we were officially two weeks away from our trip to Hawaii! I absolutely cannot wait for a week of blissful vacation on the beach with my husband celebrating our one year anniversary. Its just what we both need to recharge after the past few months.

I haven't mentioned it here, but Ronnie got a new job and we are actually working at the same organization now. It has been really fun getting to see him on our lunch breaks and we are loving that he is working one job, forty hours, and five days a week versus the two jobs, 50+ hours and six days a week he was working before.

ALL of our favorite fall shows are finally back. Some of my can't miss shows include Nashville, Scandal, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Law & Order : SVU.

We also have gotten to know our new neighbors pretty well and this week they mowed our grass for us. It was the best money we could've spent because it was turning into a JUNGLE and we just haven't had the time to get it done.

L O W S 

Being sick this week has left me feeling sluggish and I haven't wanted to do much like work out, which I probably need to get back on that train if I am going to be rocking a bikini in less than two weeks.

I also have a good friend getting married this weekend and that isn't a low but being sick for it will be! I am supposed to make cookies and help decorate the venue so I am hoping to be feeling halfway normal soon.

I've had a prayer that I've been praying for for months finally get answered...but with that, it brings change, uncertainty and a lot of anxiety. Its seems silly, for me to not just be 100% over the moon with excitement because I've been asking God for this, but I have never operated well with "unknowns" and this is just a area of growth and a chance to be obedient to what God has called me to!

I'm linking up with Jenna from Dearest Love, one of my favorite bloggers for one of my favorite link-ups. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Flourless Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins

Whoops, two days have gone by and I haven't checked into blog class. Although I know I don't have to explain, I want you to know I've been traveling for work the past few days and it was  a whirlwind of a trip. We made the five hour drive on Monday, taught a class til 4:30 Tuesday, and then drove home. Luckily I arranged to go into work a little late today, so I have a little bit of time to share an amazingggg recipe with you!


My husband originally found the recipe on his favorite foodie's instagram, FitMenCook. This guy is constantly posting healthy and delicious recipes and Ronnie likes to make them and that makes me happy.

So, truth be told, I am sharing a recipe with you that I myself didn't make, but I did eat four of these after Ronnie took them out of the oven and LOVED every bite so I have full confidence you will love them too.

The original recipe called for almond butter but we didn't have any on hand and we still LOVED the way these turned out. Just be sure to use 100% all natural nut butter, not any of the processed with lots of sugar, oils and preservatives added. We also substituted whole milk when the recipe called for almond milk because we didn't have any on hand. If you're dairy free you could definitely do the almond milk.

Ingredients: 
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1 banana
4 dates
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp baking powder

Optional: 
Gogi berries
Dark Chocolate Chips
Raisins

Directions
1. Mix the peanut butter, banana, dates and milk together in a blender (we used our ninja)
2. In a separate bowl, mix in the baking power with the rolled oats, then mix in the batter by hand.
3. If you want to add in raisins, dried berries, or dark chocolate, do that now. We used dark chocolate chips.
4. Spray muffin pan generously with cooking spray, and spread batter out between cups evenly.
5. Bake at 350 for 15-19 minutes and enjoy!



Check out FitMenCook's blog to see his original recipe and the quick video on how to make these if you want a visual!

Friday, September 19, 2014

15 Ways to Practice Self Care


Life is crazy for all of us, am I right? Whether you are a full time career gal like me, or a stay at home mamma, our schedules fill up fast, don't they? Its easy to let things that we do just for ourselves slip in the midst of the craziness. When there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, commitments we must attend, dinners to prepare and people to see, sometimes self care is something we push to the back of our to-do list.

I am working two jobs, trying to maintain a consistent blogging schedule, following workout and meal plan that takes dedication, preparation and time, spending quality time with my husband, family and friends and more. I realized that sacrificing self-care is NOT the answer to getting it all done though. Even in the midst of my busy schedule, I still take time to do things that I know will fill me up and help me rejuvenate. Here are just a few ways you can practice self care-be sure to schedule time in because it is just as important as all the things you have written in your planner. If you burn out, you aren't going to do anything well, friends.


1. Declare an entire day of rest-no work, chores or commitments.

2. Treat yourself to a mani/pedi

3. Take yourself on a date to a coffee shop to read and write

4. Sleep in as late as you want on the weekend

5. Go for a walk on your lunch break to get some fresh air

6. Take a bubble bath

7. Light a fall candle and read your favorite book

8. Say no to plans one night

9. Cook yourself a heathy dinner

10. Pack your lunch the night before so you have healthy options ready to go in the morning

11. Slip on your favorite stretchy pants and slippers right when you get home from work

12. Get a spray tan

13. Meet a friend for lunch

14. Exercise-we all need those endorphins!

15. Meet your besties for happy hour after a long week

What other things do you do to practice self care when life is crazy?





S P O N S O R   S P O T L I G H T

Ashten from Always Ashten 



This girl is legitimately one of my blogging best friends. I only text and talk regularly with a handful of bloggers and Ashten is hands down one of my closest and most trusted pals. You probably already know her but if you dont, you SHOULD. I asked her a few questions to help you get to know her better-below are her answers and I hope your next stop is saying hello to her at her blog or on Twitter!

Describe yourself in five words or less.

Sassy, Classy and a little Smart Assy. If you don't count the words "and", "a", "little" I pretty much nailed it.

What is something you've ALWAYS wanted to do?

I've always wanted to own my own business. I think I would be a really great boss to myself. I'm really hoping to accomplish that goal sometime in the next year or two.

What are the secrets to making a long distance relationship work?

So, when it comes to long distance I am DEFINITELY not an expert. I can't say what works for everyone, but for me communication and creativity are key. Kyle and I send each other pizza when we can't cook for each other, we plan "dates" via Facetime and every morning he emails me episodes of "The Hills" and "Laguna Beach" to watch while I'm on the stair master at the gym. It's the little things that make long distance work for me.

What are you most looking forward to in the next few months?

Pay Day. But that's every day.

Sum yourself up with a GIF


She also was so kind to chose a GIF without a swear word but I mean, it fits her so well and its Friday, and anything goes. ASHTEN IS  MY FAVORITE. She also is soaking up some loverboy time as her long distance boyfriend she mentioned is visiting her in Atlanta this week. HI KYLE!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 GREAT END-OF-SUMMER GIFTS FOR GUYS

Hello, Happy is a Choice readers! My name is Elizabeth, and I head up the product design for Mercer + James, a men’s grooming and accessories brand that I started with my hubby a couple years back. We started our online shop, www.mercerandjames.com, from our home in New York and continue to run it together, sharing a collection of things we design ourselves along with high-quality tools and products that we curate from our travels. We usually see gift guide roundups for men only twice a year: Father’s Day, and the holidays. But what about all the times in between? We decided to use this opportunity to make a gift guide specifically for the end of the summer, highlighting some favorites both from our store, and from some of our favorite small makers. Enjoy!

1. The gold safety razor: Luxury perfect for everyday use


 With Movember still a long way off, a great safety razor will help finish the season with classic, fresh-faced flair. A gold plated version takes it up a notch(or two), letting an everyday object be a work of art.




Link: http://mercerandjames.com/collections/classic-safety-razors/products/gold-plated-classic-safety-razor


2. The day bag: Easy grab-and-go from work to weekend


This one is easy – an everyday bag built to last, and look good day in and day out. This awesome bag can hold a laptop or some weekend essentials, and is made by Concord Street, a fun new brand out of Brooklyn.





3. Post-Shave Tonic: A great soother to transition to fall



From sun and sand to over-blown AC in the office, summer can be hard on men’s skin. A post-shave tonic is always a welcome gift to deal with the elements, and is especially great paired with the classic shaving oil.





4.  The shaving brush: a manly tool upgrade


No accessory with upgrade the daily routine quite like a great shaving brush. They lift the hair to allow the blade to cut more closely and accurately. They’re the best way to get the face whipped in to proper condition before cold weather attacks. Plus, they look awesome




5. Scout Books: Awesome custom notebooks for one-of-a-kind guys


This recommendation is actually pretty unisex. Who doesn’t want to jot down notes or sketches in an amazing custom notebook during the last trips of summer? And they’re made in the USA!