Thanks Shipt!

If there is one thing I could do without it’s grocery shopping.  I love to cook but going to the grocery store, wandering the aisles, trying to figure out where they moved (fill in the blank) to and not to mention, I always forget my list.   Even when I do remember my list I still end up tossing a bunch of random things in my cart because fruit snacks are delicious and I can never remember if I have all the ingredients needed for a recipe so I end up tossing it in the cart “just in case” only to find out I did not need it when I get home.   These are all reasons that I was intrigued with Shipt (think Uber for your groceries.)   Today I decided to give Shipt a try, and I must say it was a breeze.  I placed my order through Shipt at 5:00 pm.  By 6:00 pm I had a text message from my Ship shopper, Christine, letting me know she was heading to the store.  I received a couple more messages from Christine letting me know that certain products were out and if this happens you can choose to go with the substitute your shopper recommends or remove the item from your order.  Christine was at my door by 6:45 pm with my filled order!  I got all of my groceries for the next week and I did not have to leave my house, talk about a win.  If you want to give Shipt a try, click the link below and we will both get a $10 credit!

 
 

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

If you are like me and love all things home and home decor then you more than likely love Fixer Upper and a trip to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market is probably on your bucket list.  But, what if I told you that Target was bringing a little slice of Magnolia to you with their new Hearth & Hand with Magnolia collection!  You read that right, Target has partnered with Chip and Joanna Gaines to bring to you a home and lifestyle collection which includes home decor and gifts.  Unlike many of their recent partnerships, this is not going to be a “get it before it is gone” release.  Target stated that “this partnership will last multiple years, and will refresh season after season.”  Hearth & Hand is set to launch in stores and online November 5th, but keep your eyes out because you could possibly see it roll out into stores early.  Stay tuned I will do my best to keep you up to speed on the arrival of Hearth & Hand at our local Target!

Hearth_Tableshot.jpg
HHf1.jpg

philly cheesesteak sloppy joe sliders

Yesterday I came across this AMAZING recipe from Dinner then Dessert.  Since I failed to meal plan on Sunday, I needed something easy for dinner, and this was perfect.  I picked up some ground beef and slider buns from the store (okay target) and had everything else at home already.  I modified the recipe by omitting mushrooms because I just wasn't feeling them last night.  But I couldn't help but share this one because it was SO good!  

Laura's Lean Beef is 10% off when you use your Cartwheel App at Target until August 13!  I picked up Pepperidge Farm Sweet & Soft Slider Buns while I was there too.

the schedule-less struggle

In my career, there is no set schedule, which is both a blessing and a curse.  They don’t teach you about the work-life balance in Real Estate School.  Last week was rough, one of those “my house is a mess, my car is on E, my fridge is empty, I forgot to do this, I forgot to do that” overwhelming “how am I supposed to do it all?” kind of weeks.  I felt like I hadn’t been prioritizing my life very well.  I wasn’t making time for the things that matter, my Mom, friends, family, you get the idea. I vented my frustrations to two of my good friends while we were sitting and chatting on the floor (she made promise of a couch soon) of Kel’s new studio (stay tuned for more on this.) Friends, they get it, and they know how real the struggle can be sometimes because they have struggles too, we all do. I am blessed to have a tribe of friends that are there for me no matter what.  Friends that have never given up on me even after I’ve made up some excuse for the 300th time as to why I can’t do something, friends that tell you like it is. Those are the best kind of friends in life.  After emptying my brain, Kel looked at me and asked, “now what?”  and to be honest, that thought had never crossed my mind.  She was right, now what, what am I going to do?  I was spending so much energy focusing on what was going wrong that I did not realize that I was the only thing standing in my way (chapter five in The Subtle Art, but I wasn’t there yet.)  I could choose to continue to exhaust energy complaining, or I could choose to refocus and do something about it.  I chose the latter.  When I got home I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and broke my life down into five categories: my work, my home, my blog, community involvement and me time.  I listed out what action items need to happen each week, reoccurring appointments and meetings, things that slip through the cracks when life gets busy (like laundry, ugh) and made sure to keep some “white space” for flexibility.  I blocked time for each of these things and created a weekly schedule that allows time for me to focus on growing my business, growing as a person and improving my relationships with my family and friends.  I was very surprised to see how seamlessly it all came together.  Does this mean that I can only eat lunch at specific times?  No, but it is a good guide to follow in my everyday life and there is enough flexibility that if, no, when something comes up, everything can easily fall back into place.  I’d love to hear how you balance the chaos of your day to day life!  Feel free to share in the comments below, and as always thanks for stopping by!  

“There is a simple realization from which all personal improvement and growth emerges.  This is the realization that we, individually, are responsible for everything in our lives, no matter the external circumstances.” Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
 

my new week

my new week

sometimes you just need a good floor chat

sometimes you just need a good floor chat

YOU DO YOU

 
 

Lately,  I have found myself having conversations with friends about how much we let the thoughts, opinions and actions of others dictate our happy.  I feel this has gotten worse due in large part to social media these days (remember when it was all babies, puppies and cute.)  Society already puts so much pressure on us to be just as good, if not better than the next person, so why do we do it to ourselves?  Why do we find ourselves striving to be better than the next person, better than neighbor with the perfect yard, the mom with perfectly groomed kids, better than the blogger with 78,000 followers, better than Becky with the good hair even if it means losing your true self.  Why do we find ourselves complaining about things that a month, a day, or even an hour from now will have zero impact on our life?   Last week a friend of mine posted a book she was reading (for the sake of language-ish, I’ll just tag it here.)  I knew I needed to read it immediately, and apparently several of her friends did as well, which is much of the reason I find myself sharing this post today, because I know that I am not alone in this struggle.  Why do we let what others do and what others say take up so much space in our brains?  Most of us already live at 100 mph from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed.  Do we really need to add to that chaos by letting these thoughts into our minds so frequently?  No.  You do you.  When I first started my blog, I found myself racking my brain trying to think of things I thought readers might be interested in.  It wasn’t long before I realized that this blog is not about pleasing others, it is about filling my cup, sharing what I want to share and not feeling pressured to please people or attract readers with my posts.  But why do we let what other people think have such an impact on what we do?  How do we stop?  And for those of you with littles, how do you teach them to ignore the ideals and opinions of the world around them and teach them to be true to themselves?  How do we teach the youth in this world that the amount of likes your post gets, the amount of friends you have, the amount of views your story has really mean nothing in the grand scheme of life?  I don’t know the answer to this, but I do know that a good place to start would be with ourselves.  The only thing that matters is YOU, the relationships you have and the life you build for yourself.  The older I get, the more I realize that at the end of the day the only thing that matters is the quality of the relationships you have, not the quantity.  Stop wasting energy on negative thoughts, live in the moment, be present and do you, whatever that looks like to you is all that matters.

My Whole30 Why

Here we go friends!  It is time to kick off Whole30 round two!  I will admit, this is probably my third attempt to make it through the FULL 30 days for the second time.  If you have ever tried to make a significant lifestyle change, you know how hard it can be, how discouraged you can get and how easy it is to give up.  My first round of Whole30 ended in March, I still tried to maintain a 90% Whole30 lifestyle, and I was doing great up until a couple of weeks ago when life got crazy, pizza was convenient and Portillo’s was open. 

For me, Whole30 is not about the number on the scale or the size of my pants, it is about being healthy and happy.  My Whole30 journey began due in large part to my food allergies which include two big ones soy and peanuts but also some pretty uncommon and odd allergies as well like carrots, green beans, apples, almonds, and lemons.  When people thing of food allergies, they tend to only consider the two most common reactions of hives or anaphylaxis.  I did not have either of these reactions, but rather I had a weak immune system due to my body constantly fighting off food allergies.  Pre-food allergy me would eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at least three times a week, one of my favorite snacks was carrots and ranch dressing, green beans were my go to veggie and I had lemon in my tea always.  Once diagnosed, all of those foods were immediately eliminated from my diet.  I won’t bore you with all the details of my food allergy journey, that’s another post for another time, and my purpose here is to tell you how this led to my love of Whole30. 

After about a year of being “soy free” I gave up.  Avoiding soy was hard  (I’m not joking, it is in everything in some form) and seemed impossible at times, so I gave up, how bad could it be right?  Well, as it turns out, pretty bad, I began getting sick all the time and eventually came to realize I HAD to give up soy to maintain a healthy life and I had to give it up for good.  I knew this was going to be a challenge and began researching “soy free diets” and Whole30 came up.  A good friend of mine had a great experience with Whole30, delicious looking foods and not a negative thing to say about it.  I reached out to her, and my journey began. 

Angie encouraged me to read “It Starts With Food”  I am not a reader, but knew if I was going to go all in, I needed to give it a go.  Within the first two chapters, I had so many “ah-ha” moments and within the first six chapters I was so grossed out by the things I was putting into my body that I was excited and ready for this change.  I pinned recipes, bugged Angie like crazy, cleaned out my cabinets and got rid of all of my candy-if you know me, you know how big of a deal this was and it began. 

Whole30 is HARD.  The timeline is spot on and the “kill all the things” struggle is real, but man, is it worth it.  Once I got through the shakes and headaches from ridding my body of it’s favorite thing, sugar, I began to feel amazing.  I was sleeping better at night, my brain was not nearly as foggy, I was far less crabby and irritable, my skin was smooth and flawless and my hair just felt so much better.  After the last couple of weeks of feeling blah, crabby, bloated and tired, I decided I needed to make a change.  No more pizza (spaghetti pie is a great substitute) no more Portillo’s (but I hear my friend Elise has a great Italian Beef Recipe so stay tuned) and no more grains.  Luckily, I don’t love sugar as much as I did pre Whole30, so that will be much better this time around.

If you are still reading, thank you!  I know this was a long one, but I felt the need to share with you why Whole30 is so important to me.  Are you starting this round with me?  I would love to hear your Whole30 why!  Feel free to message me or share it in the comments below.  And be sure to follow my page for recipes and more!  R2D1 here we go!

Helpful Whole30 Links

SimplE Chic Shower

Last week we had a little surprise shower for one of our team members.  Scotty’s Brewhouse in Champaign was great at accommodating a large party with such short notice and did not have a problem with me decorating the space.  You will never guess where the majority of the decorations came from.  Give up?  TARGET!  This momma to be prefers to not be the center of attention, so rather than having a gift opening session, I put together a basket of necessities and used the other gifts as part of the decoration.  Great Harvest Bread Co. has the MOST delicious cookies, if you haven't had them yet be sure to treat yourself sometime.  The cookies are best earlier in the day as they bake them fresh each morning.  How cute do they look on this adorable (five) dollar section cake stand.  In the white buckets we had enjoy life double brownie cookies for our gluten free friends.  The surprise was a success and we can’t wait to meet baby dos!

Pinapple Nail

IMG_7295.JPG

I love pineapples almost as much as I love target.  Over the weekend, I decided to spice up my mani with a little pineapple fun.  Summer weather is finally here, and I was feeling festive.  I got a no-chip manicure on Wednesday and decided to add the pineapple over the weekend.  For the no chip I chose OPI Toucan Do It If You Try the statement nail is OPI Alpine Snow.  I used basic acrylic paints to paint the pineapple and it was SUPER easy!

 
 

So easy and super cute!

This one is for my Mom...

To those that know my Mom will not be at all surprised that she showed up with a gift for me on Mother’s Day.  That is just the kind of woman she is.  My Mom is the most selfless, giving, kind, hardworking, independent, strong woman I know.  I could go on and on and it still would not be enough.  What some do not know about my Mom is that she became a single mother when I was just seven months old.  Losing my dad unexpectedly within months of becoming a family of three had to be one of the hardest things a person has ever had to go through.  But my Mom did it, she never gave up and I give her all the credit for the woman I am today.  Growing up (and to this day) she worked full time, always put me first and made sure that I had a normal childhood.  Now that I am older, I realize how hard it must have been to be a room parent, and an awesome one at that, while working full time and being a single parent, but she did it and so much more.  I know that raising me wasn’t easy, but my Mom never gave up on me, always encouraged me and supported me no matter what.  I don’t tell her I love her enough, and I don’t tell her thank you enough, so Mom, I Love You and Thank You!  Thank you for everything you have done for me in my thirty-three years.  I am so grateful and so proud to call you Mom.

Power of the Purse 2017

One of the (many) things I LOVE about this community is how many people support our local non profits.  If you are not already involved with a non profit, I encourage you to check out a few of them, and if you can, give!  If you are a young professional, check out United Way of Champaign County's Emerging Community Leaders program.  I completed this program in the Fall of 2016, and it opened my eyes to the non profit world and how we can make an impact in our local non profits. 

Last night I was able to attend (thank you Sue!) United Way of Champaign County's Power of the Purse at Pear Tree Estate.  The turn out at this event never ceases to amaze me.  This year's event raised over $64,000.  Those funds go directly back into our community through the Power of the Purse Scholarship at Parkland College and the Emergency Shelter for Families.  I am proud to be from a community surrounded by such generosity.  

Oh, and these tickets go fast, like Polar Express, Garth in Champaign kinda fast, so plan on getting them AS SOON as they go on sale!

 

Floating Shelves, the start of the not so mini kitchen reno...

If you are a DIY-er like me, there is not usually a lot of time between “I want to do this” and “I AM doing this.”  Sometimes I will draft it out, plan, prep and create a rendering but this time, I decided to just go for it, I didn’t even take a true before picture.  One thing I will say, DO NOT TRY THIS ALONE like I did, or you might end up tearing a muscle or two landing yourself in physical therapy for the next six plus weeks, but that’s another story for another day.

Back to these cabinets….so I decided to rip the cabinets out to the right of and above my sink to brighten up my kitchen.  I found this awesome tutorial (thanks Home Depot) on how to build floating shelves and they seemed strong enough to hold  several dishes.  The tutorial includes your shopping list for the shelves, I modified mine to make them larger, but the lovely folks at Home Depot will cut the wood to your measurements for you which was a huge help.  Building the shelf was a little tougher than I anticipated, but once I got the hang of it, it got easier.  This project turned in to “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” because once the open shelves were built, I wanted shaker cabinets, which led to wanting backsplash, then a microhood…you get the idea.  This phase of the kitchen reno project was done in just a few days and I just love how it turned out. 

napkin holder: walmart ● plates: target ● mugs: made by me ● jars: walmart ● cake stand: target dollar spot ● fake plant: ikea  ● utensil vase: target

don't mind the mess, I had no idea these would end up out there for the world to see.

On the wall: A custom BEHR blend similar to Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray

On the shelves: BEHR flat white & MINWAX Waterbased Polycrylic Clear Satin Finish

Chocolate Chip Mug Cookie

Last week I shared a picture of one of my favorite treats, a cookie in a mug & had many requests for the recipe, so here you are!  This is such a great quick fix for when you are craving warm chocolate chip cookies.  And, bonus, it serves one so you don't find yourself eating the entire batch of cookies or half of the cookie dough...it happens, it's fine.  Another thing I love about this treat is that there is hardly any clean up!  Mix, "bake" and enjoy all from the same mug.  I have been trying to eat as healthy as possible when I can (nothing says healthy like a cookie in a mug haha) so the recipe I use is a bit unique, but I included the more common ingredients in the recipe as well.  So, what are you waiting for!  Go make yourself a cookie in a mug! 

 


CHOCOLATE CHIP MUG COOKIE

INGREDIENTS

1 mug
1 tbsp ghee (or butter)
1 tbsp organic cane sugar (or regular sugar)
2 tsp grade A maple syrup (or 1 tbsp dark brown sugar)
1 splash (about an eighth of a tsp)  vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp cashew, peanut or sunflower butter
2 tbsp coconut flour (or ¼ cup flour)
2 tbsp chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Add ghee to mug & melt in the microwave
Add cane sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and salt.  Mix with fork.
Once combined, add in egg yolk and peanut/cashew/sunflower butter.
Add flour, then stir again. 
Finally, add in your chocolate chips.

Place in the microwave and cook for 45 seconds.  Depending on your microwave, it could take as little as 35 seconds or as many as 60 seconds.  The “cookie” still cooks once removed from the microwave, so you want it to seem a bit “gooey” it will firm up.

Let it cool just a bit then enjoy!
 

Fresalsa & Cinnamon Chips

Fresa = strawberry in Spanish, so fresa + salsa = fresalsa 

This delicious blend of strawberries, mango and pineapple is a perfect treat for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta!  Or a refreshing warm weather (healthy) treat!  Served with flour tortilla cinnamon "chips" and enjoy life sugar crisp cookies for my gluten free friend. 

FRESALSA

INGREDIENTS

1 pint (or 2 cups) fresh strawberries
1 mango
1 8oz can of pineapple tidbits drain & set juice aside
For a “fresher” recipe, switch for one cup fresh pineapple
1 fresh mango, diced
2 tbsp strawberry jam
2 tbsp grade A maple syrup
2 tbsp pineapple  juice


DIRECTIONS

Wash and dice fruit  (if you take the easy route on the pineapple, no need to wash, just dice)
Toss in a bowl and set to the side.
In a small bowl, mix maple syrup, juice, and jam until blended.
Pour the mix over the fruit and toss together.

For best results, chill in the fridge, but can be enjoyed right away!


 

CINNAMON CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

6 small flour tortillas
1 egg
3/4 cup pure cane sugar
4 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a small bowl combine cinnamon and cane sugar, set aside.
Whisk egg in a small bowl or cup
Brush the top and bottom of one of the tortillas with the egg, coat with cinnamon sugar mix.
Repeat brush, stack sprinkle until you have three tortillas piled. Then repeat with the second set of three tortillas.
Slice into 6 triangles
Place on your baking sheet and bake for ten minutes.
Flip them over and bake for five minutes.
Let cool & Enjoy!
 

Market at the Square

Urbana's Market at the Square is by far one of my favorite things in our community.   No doubt you will see a lot of shares as soon as Market Season kicks off, which is THIS Saturday May 6th in case you were wondering.  I can't wait to pick up fresh local produce each week, and of course, you have to grab yourself a bouquet of flowers while you are there because who doesn't love fresh flowers.  Maker's from all around the area fill the market's middle section while you can find local food trucks along the Vine Street side of the market and locally grown produce, flowers, and more throughout.  Arriving early (Market hours are 7am until noon) is key to get the best produce and beat the crowds. 

Appreciation Basket

This week we celebrated Administrative Professionals Day.  To say "Thank You" to our staff, I created a basket full of  gifts that everyone could use with punny tags.  Everything that I purchased was from Dollar Tree or Target making each basket affordable.  If you are a frequent Dollar Tree shopper, you know that they tend to mix up their inventory, so I won't link the specific items I purchased.  All of these items are pretty common and should be easy to locate at any store.  BONUS I have included the tag files I created for you to download. 

 
  • nail file
  • tea
  • bath bomb
  • candle
  • hand sanitizer
  • nail polish
  • socks
  • chapstick
  • toe separators
  • nail clippers
  • lotion
 

home SWEET home

Make your next Open House a little "sweeter" with a custom candy buffet!  Your Open House will be sure to stand out with a unique display of sweet treats.  I would suggest using candy that will last for a couple of weeks and use as many pre-packaged items as possible.  You might be concerned that the wrappers might get left behind, but by providing stickers to seal the bags shut, guests are encouraged to take their treats with them.  To create the candy bar as pictured, I used containers that I found at Party City, where I also picked up the blue lollipops.  The twizzlers, swedish fish & bubble gum came from Target and the cute little bags were a hobby lobby find.  I order all of my labels from amazon and picked up a cheap frame at Dollar Tree.

 

blue lollipops  ○  lollipop container  ○  swedish fish  ○  swedish fish container  ○  twizzlers  ○  twizzler container  ○  bubble gum  ○  bubble gum container  ○  square labels  ○  treat bags

Click HERE to download the home SWEET home sign template.

Sunshine Design

Meet my friend Kelly Hieronymus.  Kelly and I have been friends for over a decade, she is one of my biggest cheerleaders as I am hers.  Kelly is an amazing artist, an incredible designer and a huge asset to our community.  Growing up in a "builder" family (Sunbuilt Homes) gave Kelly the design bug early.  I am convinced that there is nothing that this girl can not do!  If you are looking for custom art, or need assistance in residential design definitely check her out.

 

Oh, and don't take my word for it...see what other's have to say.

News-Gazette 10/30/2016

Smile Politely 3/18/2016

Kelly on Houzz

texture home

I just LOVE everything about this place!  Opened by two lovely ladies in 2014, TEXTURE home has proven it's value in our community.  From the candles to the restyled pieces and everything in between, I dare you to walk out empty handed.  Did I mention that the owners support local artists?  That love people, that is love.  Visit their facebook page, or better yet, stop by and take a look for yourself!

Rifle Paper Co. Keds

Anyone else as obsessed with shoes as I am?  When my friend Deb posted these Rifle Paper Co. Keds on her instagram, I instantly fell in love and had to have them.  But, these suckers sold out fast!  After (obsessively) watching the nordstrom, anthropologie and keds sites for weeks they FINALLY came back in stock (shout out to anthro.)  I ordered them right away and they rarely leave my feet.  As a REALTOR®, comfy shoes are important and these are so cute you can dress them up to make them "business casual" acceptable.  Seriously, get them, you won't regret it!