This recipe is a super-favorite in our house! I created it because we wanted something comforting, homey, and that reminds us of mom's cooking, but on the lighter, healthier side. My husband practically races home when he hears we're having this for dinner. I like to serve it with garlic mashed potatoes (try Bob Evans brand for a pre-made, refrigerated version that cuts down on time in the kitchen) and French-cut green beans. Leftovers are just as delightful as fresh out of the oven. Bon appetit!
Years ago, I did Weight Watchers to lose the pounds I had gained in graduate school from poor eating and exercise. (This post isn't about that.) One day, a girl hit her goal weight and the leader asked if there was anything she wanted to share about what she'd learned, experienced, whatever.
She thought for a moment and told the story of how she'd was going to watch a movie with her boyfriend, and they stopped at the store for some snacks. She wanted chocolate, and like all of us watching our weight, she was reading nutrition labels. The first instinct is oftentimes to go for the lightest option - whatever low fat, lower sugar, "lean" option is there. However, she found that she wasn't satisfied with those "cheaper" options, and found herself eating more of it to try to reach satisfaction. She'd realized that she was better off truly treating herself with good quality chocolate. She was satisfied, felt totally indulged, and ended up eating less than the "diet" options.
Her story resonated with me with food, of course, but it also really works when I started looking at my closet. I had approached my wardrobe like diet food - if I purchased cheaper clothes, I could purchase more. I felt like I had more options, a better closet. But really what I ended up with was racks and drawers full of cheap clothing that didn't fit right and rarely satisfied me. I never put something on and felt good about it. Loose threads and popped buttons were common. I never felt like I was dressed nicely. I just never felt satisfied.
I remembered that girl in Weight Watchers, and how I'd agreed with her take on chocolate. Quality over quantity. And so I tackled my drawers and closet. The very first thing I did was take all maternity clothes and put them into vacuum seal bags from Dollar Tree. (The bulk of my pregnancy clothes are winter clothes, so they wouldn't work well for post-partum anyway.) Then I started clearing things out. Old leggings, cheap shirts, things that don't fit (some that possibly never did), ugly patterns, shirts from 5 years ago, stuff that I keep thinking I'll get back into but won't... it all went into bags and donated to Goodwill or thrown away. Then I got down to restocking and rebuilding a quality wardrobe I could love.
I bought one good pair of leggings. I purchased good quality shoes that offer support and are a variety of colors. I waited for a JCrew sale and ordered shorts, a skirt, and several shirts. I went to H&M and picked up basic tees in black, white, blue, cream and some new camis for underneath. I used an online coupon for Old Navy and ordered a couple shirts, a pair of black pants, and a summer dress. All of these were purchased in my current size, which is 2 sizes larger than I was before, but they fit and flatter, and that's most important. I didn't spend a ton of money and now my closet has a lot more room and you know what? I feel like I have WAY more things to wear than I did before.
I joined Stitch Fix and am only keeping one skirt from this round. It isn't like anything else I own, and my son smiled and squealed when I put it on, so I'm keeping it. The rest? Meh... so I'm sending them back. If they're not satisfying now, they'll just take up resources (space, money) from getting something that truly DOES satisfy me. So that's what I'm doing. Holding out for what I really like... and no settling for poor substitutions! Like the chocolate, sometimes splurging on one good piece of apparel is way more satisfying (and cheaper!) than a bunch of cheap substitutions that never satisfy.
Have you done any closet cleaning recently? How do you determine what goes in there and what gets tossed?
I felt like posting, but don't have pictures to go with my planned recipe post yet, so here's something a little lighthearted and fun - a tag post! Found this one randomly online... and I didn't read through all the questions beforehand, so here we go!
1.) Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Closed! That way the monsters can't get us.
2.) Do you take shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels?
I do sometimes, but not usually. We don't have room to hoard a bunch of little bottles.
3.) Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
I like them tucked in at the foot of the bed, but out along the sides so I can stick my feet out over the side of the bed if I get hot.
4.) Have you ever stolen a street sign?
5.) Do you cut out coupons and then never use them?
All the time! And I save them (like the ones from Bed Bath & Beyond) and put them on the counter, then go to the store without them.
6.) Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
Bear. Bees are the DEVIL.
7.) Do you always smile for pictures?
Not always, but most of the time.
8.) Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
Not really, no. My FitBit does - does that count?
9.) Have you ever peed in the woods?
Yes I have!
10.) Do you still watch cartoons?
Yeah, LOL. My husband and I watch Family Guy and now we sometimes watch Little Einsteins with our little one.
11.) Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
Probably in my backyard?
12.) What do you drink with dinner?
Diet Coke, water, tea.
13.) What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
14.) What movies could you watch over and over and still love?
The Devil Wears Prada, 13 Going on 30, Identity Thief, Bridesmaids. (I like silly dumb lighthearted movies, obviously.)
15.) Were you ever a girl scout?
Nope. My mom wouldn't let me join because I played sports and had dance. To be fair, I only wanted to join because they got snacks after school during their meeting and I wanted a popsicle...
16.) Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
How much money and airbrushing are you offering? Probably not.
17.) Can you change the oil on your car?
I can pay for someone to do it.
18.) Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
19.) Afraid of heights?
No, actually. But I don't like free-falling to my death.
20.) Do you sing in the car?
Yes. My poor baby!
21.) Is Christmas stressful?
It can be due to family and if I'm doing the seven fishes. That's a LOT of cooking. Plus I love giving the perfect gift, so that requires some creativity and a lot of thought, which can be stressing.
22.) Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid.
Secretary, doctor, librarian, princess, cashier, researcher. Guess which one I am now...
23.) Do you believe in ghosts?
Not really, but I'm afraid of them anyway.
24.) The first concert you ever went to.
Billy Joel or The Hollies.
25.) Walmart, Target, or Kmart?
26.) Nike or Adidas?
Depends on the item, but I guess I'd go with Nike.
27.) Can you curl your tongue?
28.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Yes, especially lately with the birth of our son.
29.) The last concert you saw?
30.) Can you swim well?
Yes. I was a competitive swimmer. Freestyle is my jam.
31.) Can you knit or crochet?
Technically, I guess. I'm not very (any) good.
32.) Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Both. It's fine to like one over the other, but if you hate either, chances are I won't like you very much. My dog and cat are awesome.
My husband and I recently redid the bathrooms in our home. Most of the changes were just minor cosmetic changes with new toilets and paint, but we elected to totally gut our Master bathroom and redesign. I gave up my tub (that wasn't really used very often) and we had a large tiled custom shower built, plus new flooring and new bathroom cabinets and sinks. Now I had space for my dream vanity.
Picture source - Pier1 imports
Arguably the most popular mirrored vanity is the Hayworth Collection vanity from Pier1 imports. I have wanted one since we bought our house, but because our bathroom didn't have enough room, I held off. Now that I had my own little available corner, I started doing the math.
The vanity itself is $399.95 with a $40.00 large package surcharge.
The mirror is $229.95 with a $15.00 large package surcharge.
The matching bench seat is $169.95 with a $15.00 large package surcharge.
This adds up to $869.85 before tax and does not include any organizational details that I may want to add.
I looked at ways to get the price lower. I can take 10% off the prices of each unit by signing up for emails from Pier1. I can elect to pick up in store and avoid large package surcharges, which takes my total to about $719.87 before taxes. If I go through Ebates (and you should ALWAYS go through Ebates before shopping online. I can't tell you how much money I've gotten back for nothing!) then I can get an additional 2% cash back from the total, which would give me back about $15.40... Still over $700 before tax. That's pretty pricey and I haven't gotten to the organizing elements.
So... I took a different approach. And here it is!
I have recently realized that I watch WAY too much television and spend too much time sitting on the couch. I look at the coffee table that is cluttered with papers, items that need to go to the basement but instead have been sitting by the stairs for a month, unfinished craft projects and unwritten thank you notes on my mess of a desk... it's all strong evidence that I've been slacking. And television has a lot to do with it! So, I'm trying a little experiment.
One day without:
What is allowed:
Calls and texts
I'll keep some notes and check in here in this post on what gets done with the tv gets turned off. Here we go!
We've all heard the phrase "Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym." Well, as I'm trying to get my post-pregnancy body back into something I'm at least a little comfortable with, I've started spending a little more time in the kitchen and a little more attention to what we're putting in our bodies. Here are some meals we enjoyed last week!
As mentioned in a previous post, I recently picked up the Stila Perfecting Primer on a binge trip to my local Ulta and have been trying it out. I got asked for more information on how it performs, so here it is!
Summer is almost here! So excited for warmer weather, sunny days, cold lemonade, ice cream, and summer beauty products. Stila has a great line out right now, and I picked up some goodies at Ulta recently. Here they are!
Hello, world! I said I would be back, then promptly disappeared again, but here we are. I thought I would just take a few moments to sit down and write about life and such. One thing I have been thinking about is the kinds of blog posts I want to do moving forward. I started thinking about various blogs I have read over the years, and something I realized is that my favorite blogs aren't just strictly reviews/hauls. They talk about life, share experiences. So I have been thinking about writing more about daily life, things we do and places we go. Stuff like that. If nothing else, it will encourage me to take more pictures and reflect on life more positively. Who can argue with that?
I haven't written you in a while, and the last time we spoke, I promised to take better care of you. In light of recent activities, it's time to write you again. This time, it's to apologize.
I'm sorry for not thinking you were good or strong enough. Even at my fittest as an adult (three years ago today on my wedding day), I didn't think you were enough. Arms weren't defined enough. Tummy was still a little soft. Legs could have been more muscular.
I'm sorry for constantly being ashamed and trying to hide under ill-fitting clothes instead of just sizing up and dressing to flatter.
I'm sorry for not exercising you more in general, and for taking your strength and capabilities for granted.
I know it's been FOREVER since I posted, and here's my first one back - a haul?! Well, don't worry, I have other posts planned, but I figure I can just ease myself back into blogging. It took me a long time to get blogging tendencies out of my head (it's amazing how 'habit' it had become!), so now I'm trying to ease myself back in. So, here we go.
A couple weeks ago, I ran out of my favorite body conditioner. I didn't feel like making a long drive in either direction to get to the nearest store, so I went online to order a replacement. The price, which I'd conveniently forgotten, made me cringe. It was $32.95. I bought it anyway because I'd been using it nearly every day for months, especially since getting pregnant. But it got me thinking... how much lotion and body conditioner do I own, and how much do I use?
This week I went around our master suite with an empty cardboard box, collecting all things moisturizing from my nightstand, dresser, bathroom counter, and shower. The results were astounding:
If I used all of these, I wouldn't be concerned... but many of them are old and dusty, or don't get used because I just don't like them. Why on earth am I keeping them?! It's time for a Clean Out!
I am a music person. If I could have a soundtrack for my life, I totally would. I guess it started with dance lessons. My parents enrolled me at 2 and a half years old because I was leggy and awkward, and dance would help me gain some semblance of gracefulness. I've always had a response to music... fast and upbeat to get your heart pumping, slow and calm to relax, fast and angry to work through frustration, soft and sexy to get in the mood. And who can resist dancing (even just a little bit) when a favorite upbeat song comes on?
So, I decided to create a labor & delivery playlist. It's perfectly possible that zero music will be played during labor (I've never done this before and frankly don't have a lot of perspective to go on), but in the case of a long and arduous process, I know that a good way to distract myself from the icky parts (blood, needles, etc.) is to have some music ready to go. I listen to my playlist every now and then, just to get in the zone, and I thought I'd share my list here for prosperity. And yes, my taste in music is all over the place and "kind of lame." Whatever.
2015 is going to be a pretty epic year. It would be hard to top 2014 for me personally, but we already know that 2015 is going to do it. So, in an effort to get myself to feel somewhat together, I'm going to create some resolutions for the year that I think can help manage all the major changes and life experiences headed our way.
As my blog passes 80,000 hits and rounds the corner to 100,000, I decided to look through my posts and find some of the more popular ones and give updates this week. I noticed that a lot of beauty bloggers and vloggers post raves about various products that you never, ever hear about again, and it can be helpful to hear an update on whether or not they're still loving things they reviewed.
Today's topic is Le Tote, originally reviewed here.
I was getting my camera set up with a few things to post on the blog soon when I noticed a trend - and so Pink Week was born! This week at The Reasonable Blog we're celebrating beauty-related items that are all shades of blush and bashful. The first post is L'Oreal Youth Code. Let's jump right in!
Today's post is a little different, but in today's digital age, we rely so heavily on our phones, tablets, and computers that I thought it might be fun to share a couple current favorite apps: one for productivity, and one for leisure.
Covergirl has a new mascara on the market - Bombshell Volume. Given the popularity of the other Lashblast mascaras, I was excited to give this one a try. Let's first take a look at what the product is supposed to do… then let's see what kind of results I got!
Bombshell Volume is unique because it's a 2-step process in one mascara. The first step, which is unlike other primers that are clear or white in color and meant to add length to the lashes, uses a wand that is short and rubbery, putting color on the lashes.
The second step, which uses the same color, has a regular wand with longer bristles. In these two steps, your lashes are supposed to look thicker, longer, and more luscious.
While it is convenient for the two steps to be in the same tube, I want to point out that this mascara is a behemoth! Here is the tube next to a quarter:
So keep that in mind if you have smaller hands or like mascaras that are easier to hold and control.
Now onto my experience - complete with REALLY CLOSE pictures!
Images courtesy of Herbal Essences (Proctor & Gamble)
This month, Herbal Essences is releasing their newest line of haircare products: Naked. Naked has three product lines:
I was able to snatch up an early-release set of products from the Naked Volume line, which is perfect because volume is definitely something I need help on! The set includes four products:
Naked Volume Shampoo
Naked Volume Conditioner
Naked Volumizing Souffle (aka mousse)
Naked Volume Dry Shampoo
The Volume line also includes a hairspray ("Flexible Hold Spritzer") but my set did not include that, so I won't review it here. If you're interested, the set can be purchased for $12.99 (USD) here. (Pro tip: Go through ebates.com to get 4% cash back, making the price $12.47, which is decent for four full-sized haircare products! CVS in my area has these normally priced at $4.99. Keep reading to get my thoughts...
One "subscription box" service I wanted to check out was Fortune Cookie Soap. I don't love Bath and Body Works (mostly due to to overwhelming and synthetic fragrances), and Lush is great but I tend to spend a fortune there. So, I wanted to give something new a try, and I'd heard good things about FCS!
The Fortune Cookie Soap Box is a sampler of themed products that is delivered to your door 4 times a year. It can include bath bombs and melts, body lotion, antibacterial hand gel, soap, and so on. All boxes include 8 items, and cost $19.99 if you're in the US, $34 international.
My first box was the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed winter box. Keep reading to see what was included, and my thoughts on everything!
This week has been quiet for this blog as well as Twitter and Instagram because I have been traveling for work. I wanted to review some things in the week as a follow-up to this post about my little changes goals for 2014. So, here's my first check-in!
Welcome to my first health and fitness post of 2014! This year, my first resolution is to be happy and healthy. (My second is to waste less time, but that's another post.) And I'm determined to set positive, reasonable goals for myself and meet them through small, sustainable changes.
I said I wasn't going to buy the Naked3 palette. "It's too redundant," I said. "I don't need it," I sighed. "Too pricey and ridiculous!" I wailed.
Then I got a VIB credit to Sephora and caved. Here are my [honest] thoughts. Bear with me while I try to be as thorough as I can. There are a million reviews of this palette online right now, so I'll mostly stick to the basics and pictures (including swatches).
Lately I've noticed that my pores need a little extra attention, probably due to wearing fuller coverage foundations more often. I decided to try out some face masks that specialize in removing the crud from pores and helping cleanse the skin without sucking out all moisture. If you follow me on Instagram (here), you may have seen that I got a sample of the Origins Clear Improvement active charcoal mask to try, and [spoiler] I liked it well enough to buy a full size.
I'd heard rave reviews about the GlamGlow Supermud mask, and had been eyeing it at Sephora for quite some time. So, when I had a 20% off coupon, I picked one up to try out. Although the effects were also good, I have to admit that the Origins mask wowed me more.
Read below for my thoughts on each and recommendations on where to spend your money! Note: I have dry skin that can be sensitive in that it's easily reddened, but I am generally not acne-prone. Keep that in mind when reading my thoughts as your mileage may vary.