6.28.2011

Incommunicable

Yesterday was officially 2 weeks since I last wrote a true blog post. That kind of depresses me.

I typically love writing and sharing experiences, but since we've returned from our honeymoon I've been in a deep funk. Not just writer's block or boredom with blogging.

I woke up this morning and didn't feel like updating My Happy Plan. I don't feel like posting for WILW tomorrow. I made my favorite recipe last night and didn't even care about sharing it with you.

It goes beyond blogging and into sleep deprivation, lack of appetite, irritability, anxiety, and lack of motivation...not an ounce of energy in me (which is even worse now because I start my job on July 6th!).

I've actually had a few major meltdowns since we've been home. I couldn't fall asleep, would attempt to mentally diagnose myself by delving into my past, and end up on the bathroom floor in tears.

There's a bigger problem at large here. I have an idea of what this could be and when I find a way to put it into words, I'll keep it real and possibly let you into the darkest places of myself.

For now, Josh and I are looking into my options as far as what types of psychological help our military insurance will cover. We're doing everything we can to find a solution.

I want so badly to blog. I'm dying to share our honeymoon adventures and our long-overdue apartment pictures and some awesome recipes with you, but right now I just can't get myself to write. And even if I did, it wouldn't be the same me. It wouldn't feel right and I would look back at those posts and want to re-do them. Like any good perfectionist I'd rather just do them right the first time around, so I hope you can all understand that I'm in need of a break.

I don't want to stop blogging, as this is my outlet. It's a way to stay in touch with friends, to learn new things, to gain insight...but until we can get this issue under control I need to focus on healing.

I'm going to miss this little old blog greatly, and I hope you won't stop following just because I'm taking some time off, but I promise I'll be back and I promise to still be my true self when I return.

6.22.2011

Home



We're officially home from our honeymoon. It was sad to leave paradise (aka O'ahu), but after 14 hours of flying, we're excited to relax and recover from jet lag.

Stay tuned for a few posts in the next week or so recapping our lovely trip to Hawaii, but for now, enjoy this cover of "Home" by Edwarde Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. =)

6.13.2011

Starting A Tradition

Two Fridays ago Josh calls me up while he's at work and says, "I have an idea. We should start a tradition."

So that night we started our tradition. Our first ever Friday Night Date Night consisted of delicious chips and salsa, chicken tacos, and carne at Don Pablos. We decided that, for every date night we'd try a new restaurant. Neither of us had eaten at Don Pablos before, but we loved it and will definitely be eating there again! (Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures that night, but when we go again I'll remember!)

This week, we tried out another new place. We drove over to Old Town Alexandria and just picked a restaurant that looked promising (this is our new tactic for exploring our little city). We came across King Street Blues  and hopped on in to try it out. It was so delicious, the service was great, and it had so many quirky touches! We definitely enjoyed ourselves here. (Please excuse the crappy phone pics! I forgot my camera...again!)

All of the decorations were made of paper mache!


A painting done by a local artist of the outside of the restaurant.
He can't take a serious picture to save his life.

Ignore the shiny face...and bra hanging out!

We split a full rack of ribs, BBQ beans, garlic mashed taters, and hush puppies! Delish!
After we ate dinner, we headed over to our friends' house in Fairfax for some drinks. And we came home with a............................................


PUPPY!!!
 Unfortunately, she's not ours. But it was still so fun to "have" a doggie for the weekend. Her name's Little Miss and she's our friend's miniature pincher. She's such a sweet, cuddly, princessy pup and we LOVED having her, even if it was just for a few days. Thankfully, she'll be back with us tomorrow because she and her mommy (our friend Jen) are staying at our apartment for a week while she's in from out of town. =) 

She loves to cuddle up on our pile of blankets.

So I made her a little blankie bed.
Her favorite spot in the house is on top of the sofa cushion.

They're best buds.
Playing video games together.

Josh doesn't want to be publicized as a "purse dog lover."

But he really loves her. She's just too sweet!
He was so cute with her. =) He cuddled her and took care of her and even talked to her in a baby voice!

Little Miss loved to cuddle under the covers with me in the morning.

I was taking a shower and when Josh got home from work he found her cuddled up on the bath mat waiting for me.

Such a sweetie.

Our two favorite doggies.
 So that was our weekend! How was yours?
P.S. 
Just in case you missed it, check out this post from Friday!!! 

6.11.2011

I Need A Make-Over

I feel too...generic.

This blog needs a make-over. Something custom. Something totally and uniquely "Meagan."

I want my blog to feel grown up and sophisticated, but still fresh and fun. Right now it just feels like I picked something off a cutesy blog site, something that lots of other people can have. I need something exclusive. I need something that, when you type in my URL, says "Hey! I'm on Meagan's blog and I feel refreshed and lovely!"

Yup. I need a blog make-over.

Any suggestions for custom blog design?

6.10.2011

Get Fit Accountability!

After releasing this post about My Happy Plan I've had a lot of readers express interest in having a fitness accountability partner or tell me how difficult it is for them to stay on track with their exercise and eating habits. This got me thinking, if so many of us have this one road block, why not band together to help each other out?


For me, the two hardest things about exercising are 1) Actually getting off my butt to do it and 2) Working out in front of other people. Yes, I have stage fright. For some reason, I've always had a hard time letting my guard down to sing, speak, and even exercise in front of others. I think a lot of this is because I'm nervous that I'll be out-performed. I'm afraid of others seeing how "behind" I am and thinking poorly of me (not that that should matter, but it does). That's why I take my walks in the middle of the morning when everyone's already at work or school, that way no one will see my pathetic butt attempting to do the soccer mom walk.


Yes, I'm pathetic. I know. But for some reason, I just can't get past my stage fright. I've had 2 new friends offer to be my workout buddy locally and I said yes, but never actually committed myself to exercising with them because I'm terrified that they're going to out-perform me. I'm terrified that their skinny little bodies are going to run a mile as easy as pie. I'm scared they're going to want to do Zumba, which would leave my out-of-shape-hot-mess-of-a-body limp on the floor after just 5 minutes. Not only am I worried about them out-doing me, but I'm worried that they'll think badly of me for it. I'm worried that they'll think I'm weak and annoying and pathetic and hold them back. I don't want to be "that girl."

Does anyone else feel this way? Does anyone else have exercise stage fright?

Well, assuming I'm not the only one alone in my laziness and inability to be even an ounce of brave, I've come up with a simple little plan to overcome my fears of exercise and I'm hoping (crossing my fingers) that this will help others as well.

GOALS
1) To overcome laziness and mediocrity in exercise and healthy eating.
2) To overcome the fear of public exercise.
3) To become healthy women (and men!) who love their bodies enough to take the best care of them.
4) To make friends with other like-minded women with similar struggles.

GAME PLAN
1) Each Thursday I'll post some of my favorite tips for eating healthy, exercising, and taking the best possible care of our bodies. I'll also include my progress and struggles from the previous week along with my tracking of food/exercise. You, the readers, will post on your own blog, to track your progress for the previous week. At the end of my post there will be a link-up tool where you can link your blog and share your progress and struggles with other participants. 
OR
2) You and I can communicate privately through email, if it's more comfortable for some readers.  We can use the same outline for tracking our healthy eating and exercising throughout the week, but instead of linking up, we'll email instead. 


This is all about becoming more comfortable and confident with our bodies and our exercise. This is about encouraging each other through our struggles and praising each other in our triumphs, no matter how big or small. 


So tell me, would you take the challenge? Do you know of any other bloggers (or even non-bloggers) that would benefit from this link-up challenge? Send them my way! The more the merrier! We could all use a little encouragement and support, and building our network is the best way to do that.


If you have any other suggestions, comments, or concerns PLEASE do not hesitate to let me know. I want this to be a GREAT experience for all of us!

I hope you're all enjoying your Friday!

6.09.2011

STAY TUNED!!!

After releasing this post about My Happy Plan I've had a lot of readers express interest in having a fitness accountability partner or tell me how difficult it is for them to stay on track with their exercise and eating habits. This got me thinking, if so many of us have this one road block, why not band together to help each other out?

Tomorrow morning I'll be posting more on this issue of accountability and how we can help each other out, so STAY TUNED!!!

Recipe Rating: Raspberry Hoisin Chicken with Brown Rice

I love raspberries. I love chicken. And I'm learning to love brown rice. So this recipe should be a hit, right?



INGREDIENTS
1 cup fresh raspberries
3/4 cups hoisin sauce (Found in the Chinese cooking section - I only used 1/4 cup to decrease the amount of sodium)
5 tbsp. rice vinegar, divided (Also found in the Chinese cooking section)
1 large clove garlic (I didn't mince mine...yucky mistake...mince before adding)
1 slice orange peel zest (I forgot this, but it sounds like great flavor!)
1tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (Stay tuned for my chicken mistake...)
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1/3 cup green onions (scallions), thinly sliced (I forgot these as well, but they'd be delicious)

P.S. I made a mistake and accidentally bought split chicken breasts with ribs attached...time consuming to pick out all the bones, but it still tasted good. Also the linked recipe says to BBQ the chicken, but I baked mine according to the directions on the chicken package and it was still great!

DIRECTIONS
1. Combine raspberries, hoisin sauce, 3 (of the 5) tbsp. rice vinegar, garlic, orange zest, ginger, pepper, and cayenne pepper in blender or food processer. Blend until smooth (about 1 minute). Set aside 1/4 cup for dipping sauce.

2. Use the rest of the marinade to cover the thawed chicken in a medium bowl. Coat chicken evenly, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, no more than 24 hours.

3. Place chicken in baking dish and bake according to directions on package of chicken.

4. Combine water and rice in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook rice for 40 to 50 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed. Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp. of rice vinegar and green onions over rice and stir thoroughly.

Not the simplest or quickest recipe ever, but it sure was tasty! I served the chicken over the rice, as pictured above, but I think a green veggie (maybe asparagus) would taste great with it as well! All in all, I'd give this recipe a B, just for personal preference. 

Recipe Rating: Goulash!

I have been a very bad blogger these past few weeks. I've been keeping up with all those weekly link-ups and challenges and what not, but I've fallen behind in terms of personal blogging. For instance, a have a few wedding posts to write up and I have 2 recipes to share with you...from last week.

For now though, I'll play catch-up sloooooowly by sharing one recipe with you. This was probably my favorite meal as a child. Essentially, it's just spaghetti's ingredients made with macaroni noodles instead. I love the green peppers and onions (I pretty much love them in just about anything) and I love that it's filling and makes a LOT so we can enjoy leftovers.

MMM. I can't wait to make this again.
This recipe differs a little bit from how I remember my mom making it, but it's still SOOOOOOO delicious!

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. ground beef (I used lean ground turkey to make it a little healthier)
1 green pepper
1 large onion (I only used 3/4 of a large onion and it still had a lot of flavor)
1 tbsp. margarine or butter (I didn't use any because I used my non-stick pan)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 cups cooked macaroni (Typically I'd buy whole grain, but they didn't have any in stock at the commissary)
1 quart whole tomatoes (I used the juices, but you can choose not too if you like it less "saucy")
1 (32oz) can tomato sauce

DIRECTIONS
1. Combine ground beef, diced green pepper, diced onion, salt, and pepper. Cook until meat is browned.


2. Add meat and veggie mixture to cooked macaroni with tomatoes and tomato sauce.


3. Simmer on low heat until heated through (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
4. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve with garlic toast!

Not really the healthiest, but oh-so-yummy!


Up close and personal.


Don't you just love simple recipes??? All together, this took me about 20 minutes prep time and 20 minutes cook time, so it's perfect for nights when you don't feel like spending hours in the kitchen. But let's be honest, when does anybody actually feel like spending hours in the kitchen?

All in all, I'd give this recipe an A+. The husband was RAVING about it non-stop and even asked me NOT to make dinner the following night so we could eat leftovers! This meal is a real crowd pleaser and great for families with young kids too! Delish!

6.08.2011

WILW #9

Hey everyone! Today's Wednesday and you know what that means! Yup, I'm linking up with Jamie for What I'm Loving Wednesday!


Today I'm loving...

All 6 seasons of Numb3rs!


These gorgeous bags from Jonathan Adler!



My weight loss realization this morning!


182 in December.

175 in February. Notice the roll on my stomach? That's from my pants cutting into me because they were too tight.


Those same pants in the picture above fit comfortably on me today AND I can button the bottom 3 buttons on my shirt! I haven't been able to wear this shirt in 2 years and now I can! Check out my tiny waist! 164 today!!!

No rolls like last time! I can even sit comfortably in them!
I've lost a total of 18 pounds since December and some of my old clothes fit me again! I cannot tell you how much of a triumph this already is, and it's only the beginning! My goal is to be a size 10 by the end of the summer (currently a size 12) and to be a size 8 (what I was my senior year of high school...about 140 lbs) by Christmas. Most of my weight loss has been purely a change in my eating habits and getting rid of unnecessary chemicals in our home, creating a healthy atmosphere for my body. I can only imagine the results if I'd just get my butt off the couch and exercise too!

What are you loving on this gorgeous Wednesday???

6.07.2011

Happy Plan Update/WADT

It's officially been 2 weeks since I started My Happy Plan (link up with Lindsay) and I can say that I'm progressing in some things, but...ugh...others are not so good. Let's update, shall we?


Exercise on a daily basis & Eat out less/eat healthier meals - I didn't exercise at ALL this week. Part of my excuse is that Aunt Flo came to visit and her side-effects were pretty crippling the first few days, but the other part of my excuse is that I'm lazy and can't be held accountable. I need a workout buddy, but not one to actually work out with. I need someone who wants to be on the same plan and call each other up daily to see how our exercise went. Any takers? Maybe I'll start a blog challenge for that one.

As far as food goes, I've been doing really well! We only at out twice this week --- once for date night (new tradition, more on that later) and once after church on Sunday. Other than that I've been doing really well at cooking healthy meals at home. I'm still tracking what I eat and drink and I think that helps a TON. Now if I could just get my butt into gear and exercise...

Less sweats, more real clothes - This week was a partial fail. I wore pajamas all week except Friday (date night), Sunday (church), and today (WADT). I think part of it is that I'm waiting to wear all my new clothes in Hawaii (and most are dresses) and that all my old clothes are still too tight to be comfortable in. That leaves sweats and pj's. 

Spend less/save more - We spent $100 on groceries on Thursday. In the one month that I've lived here we've spent $600 on groceries/eating out. This needs to change. Food is our biggest recurring expense and it's draining our bank account. Not that we're going broke because of it, but there's no excuse for spending that amount of money, especially since we only buy groceries at the commissary (which is half the price of all other grocers). Gotta get this on track ASAP.

Develop my role as a wife - I think this is going well! I've stayed on top of the laundry and dishes, I've been cooking more, I've been trying to relieve as much stress for Josh as possible...All that good stuff. I think this is going well. So far, so good.

Socialize more with other women - This week wasn't a huge success. I'm pretty quiet and secluded during the week because I'm still not brave enough to hang out with new women that I've met without it being a couples' thing. What is wrong with me???

I guess you could say that this week was only a partial success for My Happy Plan. Hopefully I can do better during this upcoming week! 

P.S. If you're interested in keeping up with your own Happy Plan, feel free to link up with Lindsay over at My Happily Ever After

Today is also Wear A Dress Tuesday! I love the idea of this and I've enjoyed wearing more feminine outfits the past few weeks, but I need more dresses/skirts that are comfortable for wearing around the house. Right now I've got 2 skirts that fit the bill (WADT #1 and today's skirt) so hopefully, once we get back from Hawaii I can stock up on some cute casual stuff. Check out Sarah's blog, The Strength of Faith, for more info on WADT!


Ignore the wet hair and the messy bedroom.
 That's all for today, folks. Check in tomorrow for What I'm Loving Wednesday!

6.05.2011

Deliciously Simple {And Healthy!}

I'm not a huge fan of long, intense, complicated recipes. I'm not patient when it comes to my food...even if that food tastes incredible. But I AM a fan of quick and simple recipes that taste great! Pretty much everybody is, right?

So I've got a few deliciously simple meals that meet my "impatient" needs and I'd love to share them with you!

First, alfredo penne with chicken and tomatoes. It's as simple as it sounds.

Boil whole grain penne.
Sprinkle some lemon herb seasoning on a boneless, skinless chicken breast and bake.
Halve a few grape tomatoes and lightly saute.
After draining the pasta, I like to drizzle on some Bertolli Mushroom Alfredo.
Mix it all together and...VOILA!
This meal is super delicious and perfect when you want a real meal without all the prep and cook time.

Meal Number 2, simple summer fruit salad. Yummo!

Cut up any fruits you love, whether they sound good together or not (banana + kiwi?). I used grapes, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, apples, strawberries, and kiwi. Trust me...it's good.
Here it is all mixed together! Colorful and delicious!
 What are your favorite simply delicious meals? Leave a link in the comments section to share.

6.04.2011

Lust List #3

Another Lust List for the summer! We've covered dresses and swimsuits already. Today's cravings? Accessories. I love them. I'm an addict. Let's get started.







eBay











What are you lusting after on this lovely day?