Takes My Breath Away

 

As sweet and romantic as that header sounds, I am not referring to a cheesy romantic scene from a Nicolas Sparks movie. I am simply talking about my morning’s workout!

I have decided I will be sticking with Cassey Ho, a pilates and workout instructor that has both a blog and a YouTube channel with videos to walk you through some great workouts, for a while, alternating her cardio videos with more of her low key pilates videos and some yoga DVDs mixed in there.

This morning I decided to give her 8 minute “POP Cardio: Heart Throbber” workout a try figuring, eh, it’s only 8 minutes, I can handle that..

While I was able to handle the 8 minutes, my heart was definitely throbbing! It was a great cardio workout and I know that I will feel it! It was nice to feel my breathing get heavier and my heart rate accelerate knowing I was working hard. I was challenged!

I am doing it 2-3 times today taking small breaks in between to let my body catch up; this workout quite literally is taking my breath away!

Give it a try! Good luck!

blogilates

sharing fitness with love, t.

A Buckeye Brownie kind of Sunday

With a new job and a new schedule, this was my first day off since I started at the beginning of last week.

It hasn’t been too crazy, I honestly love my new job! But it had been a while since I tried baking a new recipe! Its so relaxing for me to be in the kitchen trying something new. Plus, it sure makes our home smell nice!

So, after a good night’s sleep, a good service at church, and a good lunch with my husband at our kitchen table, I pulled up a recipe I pinned on pinterest a while back.

I am so grateful for relaxing Sundays with my love and some extra sweet treats 🙂

Without further ado, the recipe is below! Enjoy!


 

Buckeye Brownies

 

Ingredients

  • 1 box fudge brownie mix (most mix calls for oil, water, and eggs)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 TB unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
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Instructions

  1. In a 9×13 pan, make and bake brownie mix according to box directions. Let cool. <– this is definitely important! Peanut Butter spread won’t spread well if not completely cool.
  2. In a bowl add your powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter. Mix well. Spread with fingers over the brownies and pat down (it has a consistency similar to playdough).
  3. Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Low heat is important so it doesn’t burn the butter. Spread over brownies 2nd layer.

My finished product. Not necessarily the prettiest but they are so delicious!

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Originally pinned from Lil Luna’s Blog.

baked with love, t.

Dream Job

Do what you love

We all know the saying “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?! Never work a day in your life?? That is something we strive for and desire more than anything else. Call it the pursuit of happiness or just being lazy and not wanting to work; either way, it is in our nature to seek a job that doesn’t actually feel like “work”.

It seems like the impossible task sometimes though. How often do you find yourself saying “If only I could get paid to do this forever!?”

But think about it. If you got paid to lay on the beach every day and get a tan, eventually, you’d be a human bearing a very strong resemblance to an overgrown lobster. This then would offer the question, was that really your “dream job” or just something you enjoy doing?

Point being, finding your dream job isn’t necessarily about turning one of your hobbies into a fully paid position. It’s about more than that.

It’s abut discovering a passion. Finding something you love thinking about in your free time that will provide an interaction level that you desire, then finding jobs, markets, industries that are there and deal with what you love.

But don’t think you should give up your tanning (or whatever it is you do for fun). It is so important to make sure to incorporate your hobby into your routine. Create a good work/home balance.

When you finally do find that one thing you think about and enjoy, definitely look for a way to pursue it, but make sure you don’t get consumed by it. I am guilty of this all the time, especially once I have what I was pursuing. It becomes hard not to let myself get wrapped up in my job all the time but when I make sure to leave work at work and come home looking forward to something else, I am end up with a fulfilling balance that really makes me feel like I’m “never working a day of my life”

This is all just some food for though. Always remember, dream jobs are out there, but getting wrapped up in finding your dream job can so quickly turn a dream into a nightmare. Find what you love, pursue it, obtain it, and balance it.

written with love, t.

 

Sleeping Bags & Quality Time

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.

-John Burroughs

This past Labor Day weekend was a first for me and M. We decided to take on the adventure of the great outdoors!

Since we hadn’t been camping together before, we decided to keep it really low key and relaxed: minimal daytime plans, no crazy meals, no expectations. Me being the type A planner I am, this was not easy for me…

But as it turns out, it was GREAT!

We went to Asheville, NC and stayed at a campgrounds called Lake Powhatan as recommended by a friend. It was a nice campsite with friendly people and easy to navigate campsites. We had a flat space for our tent, a campfire ring, and a picnic bench. It really was the perfect setup for us.

We were tucked way up in the mountains and since we were there for 3 days, we kept our phones on airplane mode to save battery. That means I wasn’t able to post to social media sites but I was able to snap some great shots that capture our experience!

We first arrived in the dark on Friday so there weren’t any pictures to capture that little endeavor (trust me, it was an interesting one!)

But Saturday morning we woke up and started a fire (courtesy of M)

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We boiled water and made coffee in our new Coffee Press to enjoy while we read the bible aloud to each other:

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We went on some day hikes around the campgrounds:

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Cooked some hotdogs and corn for dinner:

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Naturally, we roasted some marshmallows:

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Reese’s were an amazing decision!

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I actually had the patience not to burn the marshmallows!

 

 

We drove up the mountain and passed some beautiful scenery:

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Hiked more and saw an amazing waterfall:

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M made me super nervous trying to climb up a straight cliff:

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And then we packed our things and returned home to Georgia. Overall, it was an amazing weekend where (after 16 months of marriage) we were able to learn even more about each other and spend some much needed alone, technology free, quality time together.

It was such a nice trip! I highly recommend camping to families on a budget and I also recommend it to newlyweds looking to spend time loving each other without distraction!

Some cost saving tips:

  • We made our own trail mix- You get more in the end plus it can be exactly what you want!
  • We ordered a sleeping bag from amazon and it suited us just fine.
  • We borrowed what we could from family (camp chairs, a tarp, marshmallow sticks, a cooler…)
  • We did spend money reserving our campsite since it would be a busy weekend but you can easily find free sites or first come first serve freebies.
  • We froze our water bottles before leaving so we didn’t have to buy ice. Surprisingly, this lasted us all weekend!
  • We used in the mail drive through coupons for the drive up on Friday rather than stopping somewhere “fancy”.
  • We took several kitchen containers to store our food in so it didn’t get stale overnight.

Hope you decided to go camping as well. Whether with a significant other or with some friends, it really is a peaceful time.

shared with love, t.

Getting Fit- No Excuses

I have mentioned before wanting to revamp my workout and fitness lifestyles but the problem is, gyms are so expensive! So are studios that host classes.

It would be easy to let that stop me, trust me, I can be the queen of excuses sometimes, but I decided this needs to be a priority of mine. Not just for me. Obviously, begin healthy and getting fit is for me, but it is also great for other reasons.

For example, being fit can:

  1. Keep marriage/relationships strong by keeping your significant other attracted to you.
  2. Boost self confidence.
  3. Clear skin of blemishes and acne.
  4. Keep you mentally focused and improve your attention level.
  5. Increase/better blood flow.
  6. Bring you closer to God by taking care of the body he gave you.

SO many other benefits to.

So when I started listing out the benefits in my head, I realized there was no excuse that could outweigh them. I have now decided that I will make it happen.

That being said, I have ordered a yoga/pilates/strength training DVD series from Amazon, but in waiting for it to be delivered, I found this Pilates video on YouTube. I highly recommend it. It’s free to watch and follow along and you can do it on a yoga mat, a beach towel, or just the floor of your own living room!

Pop Pilates for Beginners

happy fitness, t.

Keep Calm and Do Pilates

Doors Will Close

I am excited and saddened to announce that today was my last day working in downtown Atlanta. I am leaving the hotel business to work in…

…drumroll please…

The wedding industry!

Although this is still considered the hospitality industry, most of you who know me will agree that I am well suited for weddings. It will be a transition for sure, but one I am embracing and welcoming with open arms.

In the midst of all the “change”, I am learning to rely on the unknown rather than fear it.

“Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”

So as one door closes, another will open. Tuesday I will start writing an entirely new chapter of my life.

To all my friends who I crossed paths with at the Hilton Atlanta, I will be forever thankful that God allowed me to meet you.

But before I begin a new chapter, I will take a weekend to relax on my first camping trip with my beloved husband.

blog again later, t.

Simple Blessings & Chocolate Banana Bread

As we enter a new week, I found myself stepping back to take a look at where I am: a fresh start to a new week, planning a camp trip with my beloved husband, finishing my last week at my current job and preparing to begin another next week… Sure, there are things that aren’t so great but why dwell on that?

I feel overwhelmed with the level of gratitude I feel towards God right now. I am thankful for the little things down to grocery shopping with my husband and not having a single squabble (trust me, with my OCD Type A personality type, that rarely happens!), or the new show we are able to start watching together on Netflix. Such simple things that will sometimes slip through the cracks but are still total gifts from God himself!


 

To avoid getting super sappy on you, I will just jump right into sharing the recipe I tried last night. I had some banana’s that were way over ripe (that’s what happens when you are just above 5 feet tall and the bananas get stuck on top of the fridge…) and we had some baking cocoa from a recipe we had recently made.

Therefore: Chocolate Banana Bread!


 

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Chocolate Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS
1 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
1/3 C. Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 C. Mashed Banana (3-4 bananas)
1 t. Vanilla
1 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1 C. Chocolate Chips

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Beat together sugar, eggs, and oil.

3. Add in mashed bananas and vanilla.

4. Combine flour, unsweetened baking cocoa, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips in a separate bowl.

5. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, slowly, until blended. Do not over mix.

6. Spray loaf pan with non stick spray and see baking times below:

Standard Loaf Pan- 70 minutes.
3 Small Loaf Pans- 40 minutes
6 Mini Loaf Tray- 30 minutes

I used the mini loaf tray and they turned out phenemonal! Definitely a make again! (Note there is one missing- we ate it right when it came out of the oven!)

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shared with love, t.

 

Workout Revival

So, I have been known to start things and either finish them and drop it like a bad habit or (in worse cases) quit altogether.

It is natural to go through phases, I totally understand that. But what I am talking about is achieving a goal and then falling so far from the original habit that you may as well not have even started.

I think there are several things I struggle with.

1. I lose motivation
2. I get bored
3. I don’t see desired results
4. It becomes “too hard”
5. I get “too busy”

These are all excuses, and pretty poor ones at that. The thing I am struggling with most right now is my physical health. I know I need to get back on top of things but I have really been letting myself slip for a while now.

So, question for readers: Where do I begin? Do I join a gym? Do I find a workout routine? Do you recommend anything? How can I stay motivate?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

I know goals are a good place to start. I will decide on some achievable ones and post later.

shared with love, t.

The Power of a Thank You

Thank You Cards

Compliments are nice. Everyone knows that. Hearing “you look so nice” or “you did such a great job” builds you up and really encourages you to continue either doing what you were doing or to do and be even better. This applies to all aspects of life.

The power of a thank you is the same. Being thanked for a gift, sharing your time, helping someone with whatever, all serve as a piece of gratitude. In a way, a Thank You for a gift is just as great as a gift itself. It’s a token of gratitude, a sign of appreciation, a gift of gratefulness.

Also, outdated (and grossly underestimated): a Thank You card. A simple handwritten, self addressed, piece of fancy pretty paper that says “I appreciate you so much that I took the time to write down in words that gratitude and spent 42 cents to mail it (within the U.S.)”… That puts a smile on my face for sure!

This is what I came home to tonight. After spending a very long time fighting traffic and trying to remain patient and calm, I was able to walk in and read two sweet letters of appreciation from people I feel close to. I am grateful for the uplifting words that can help turn my impatient and irritated frown into an ear to ear smile knowing I made others happy.

Just Pray!

Blog Philippians 4;4

Such a busy week. I’ve been going non stop and running a million miles an hour. Very grateful for some down time this morning. I thought about chipping things off my “To Do List” (cleaning, grocery shopping, dog bath, etc.) and not blogging but skipping out on my few readers didn’t feel right. I should make time for God. I should make time for His word. And I should want to make time for you! But more than “should”, I want to take time to share Him and His word with others. I want to thank him for what he has given me, what he has done for me, and I want to share that with you!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)

Prayer is our best form of communication. We make excuse after excuse for why we don’t pray. 

So I have come up with 7 reasons why we don’t talk to God, and why those reasons are lame:

1. “I’m to tired”- talking to God isn’t exhausting. You don’t have to do jumping jacks while you talk to Him. He isn’t like other people either, if you fall asleep talking to him, he forgives you! That’s grace 😉

2. “I don’t have my bible with me”- you don’t need your bible to pray. It helps understand God better and can definitely guide you through life, but it’s not essential when you are praying.

3. “I don’t have time”- make time. Saddest excuse because He always makes time for you. He never leaves your side. You don’t have to talk for hours- during a car ride, in the shower, while you are cooking or cleaning, even while you go to the bathroom. He is always listening.

4. “People will think I’m weird”- that’s ok. Be weird. “There are no ordinary people.” -C.S. Lewis\

5. “I just don’t want to.”- it isn’t something you should feel obligated to do by any means, and sometimes you may feel like you are forcing out words. But I promise, the more you stick with the “conversation”, the more you will actually want to and the more free flowing it will feel. Eventually you may even start to pray without realizing it!

6. “I don’t know what to say.”- sometimes, that’s ok. It’s the same as spending time with a friend and not knowing what to say. Silent quality time is still quality time. If you need to take long pauses in prayer, it’s cool, God doesn’t judge. Just pick back up when you can.

7. “I don’t know how.”- I am ending here and dwelling on this point because this is my least favorite because I have been there and favorite because I have moved past it. For years, I didn’t know how to start, how to end, what to say; I “knew nothing”. Or at least I didn’t think I did. But I soon realized, it is so easy! And liberating. And refreshing, exciting, entertaining, relieving, reviving; nothing shy of amazing. Just start with a simple “hey God!” or if you want more formally, “Dear Heavenly Father.” Follow with thanking him for whatever you can think of. Everything is a gift from him. Praise him for being the amazing God he is. Make your requests known to him. Ask for forgiveness when you need it, guidance when you feel lost, and earthly desires when you dream of them. Close out with “I love you.” “In your heavenly name.” “In Christ’s name.” Or simply put, “Amen.”

If you have never prayed before, haven’t prayed in a while, or still aren’t fully on board with it, I urge you to give it a try. Get rid of the lame excuses, and invest in Him, because Lord knows (<–see what I did there), He has and always will invest in you!

Praying with love, t.