Monthly Archives: December 2013

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Happy New Year’s 2014

new year's 2014 Today is the last day of 2013. It’s been a crazy ride, but the best one yet.
broccoli cheese soup My favorite recipe was this delicious broccoli cheddar soup.

bachelorette party - new orleansMy favorite trip was my bachelorette party in NOLA.
About Me I even shared a little about myself.
tips for creating a gallery wall I even created an awesome gallery wall filled with some of our favorite pieces.
Wedding photos My all time favorite memory of the year was the day I walked down the aisle to meet my soulmate.

Back in August J and I moved to a new city for his new job.  This December I made the decision to start a new career and have left the company that I’ve been with for over five years.  We have seen a lot and been through even more this year, but I do believe that we are stronger than ever.Here’s to many more! Hope your New Year’s Eve is filled with love, laughter, and time with friends & family.  Cheers!

Reduced Calorie Chocolate Muffin Recipe :: DIY Vitatop

Chocolate Muffin Recipe I love healthy breakfast food that is disguised as something totally bad for you, and this Chocolate Muffin Recipe is just that.

If you have heard of VitaTops or VitaMuffins before then you know that they are a low calorie, high fiber, healthy version of a muffin.  I love them, but sometimes I don’t love paying for them.  I found this recipe and did a few tweaks to make it my own.  Let me tell you these muffins turned out great.  They are super moist and so good!
Chocolate Muffin Recipe DIY Vitatop, Chocolate Muffin Recipe


1 ½ c. white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. almond milk
2 egg whites
¼ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Muffin Recipe Directions: Preheat oven to 400F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners (I ended up with enough to do 15).  Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cocoa powder. Add almond milk and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Beat egg whites with a hand mixer until they hold peaks. Fold in egg whites and chocolate chips into mixture. Spoon into muffin cups until they are about 2/3 full.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

How To Write A Personal Mission Statement

The definition of a mission statement is to give purpose or direction for a business.  It is the company’s meaning of existence.  A personal mission statement is just that, but for you, the individual.

Defining your personal mission statements will probably take several drafts.  And then after you have written a few drafts, write more.  Until it’s perfect.  It’s going to be frustrating.

If you are trying to remind yourself what you are all about then a mantra will point you in the right direction.  Especially in the online world of blogging, Youtube, Pinterest, Google Plus and so much more.  It is easy to get a split personality without even noticing.
define yourself
First things first on developing your personal mission statement – determine your values.  What do you believe in?  What are you most passionate about?  Think about keywords and phrases that stand out to you.  It’s time to brainstorm.

Here are a few that stand out to me:

Passion // Creative // Family // Making money count // Gaining knowledge // Fabulous

In the end there is no right or wrong way to write a personal mission statement.  Remember that it is an expression of who you are and how you want to present yourself to the world.

Be proud of what you have created.  Hang it on the wall and make it beautiful!

Merry Christmas

merry christmas

Merry Christmas to you and your family. May you enjoy every moment that brings you joy. I am excited that this year we will be celebrate Christmas with J’s family. We came up last year, but only for a few hours. There was an impending snow storm and J had to work the day after. This year, we live closer. Instead of a three hour drive we only have a 15-minute drive. To say I am super excited is an understatement. I can’t wait to see how J’s family does Christmas. It’s going to be good!

Time Management Tools: Pump Up Your Efficiency

time management

Today we are introducing the last post in the time management tools series.  You can probably tell from the title that we are going to work on amping up our efficiency levels.

You can read my previous post about time management here about getting yourself organized.  Now that you’ve set your priorities it’s time to amp up your efficiency.

One of the most important things to increasing your efficiency is knowing what you are good at.  Then doing something with the rest.   Delegate.  Delegate what you aren’t good at or do not have the skills for.

If you have a friend that is excellent at taking pictures then plan a day in the park so she can knock out your photos for you.  It might cost you a lunch for the favor, but she could get credit for the photos and you don’t have to suffer through them.  The one key part is that you have to be organized and know what pictures you want shot.

Fiverr is a great source for all things.  You can find someone to tweet your products to their followers, design a cover page images for your Facebook page, write a bio for you and all of these services are only $5.  Five bucks – that’s it.  It’s a pretty good deal if you ask me.  Do you not want to waste time in your down area?  Then search Fiverr and I bet you can find someone to do it for you.

Another great way to pump up your efficiency is to setup your workspace to work for you, not against you.  Know what type of environment you work best in. Quiet?  Soft music in the background?  Alone?  With others?  Then that’s what you should surround yourself with.  Have a clean space that you can spread out on.  Make sure you have all the tools you are going to need.  Being good at this point requires that you plan your day.  That’s where the last part in the series comes into play.  You have to be organized and know what you want to get done.

My favorite part of developing time management tools is by rewarding yourself when you save time.  Even it’s just a pat on the back or a piece of your favorite candy.  A little recognition goes a long way.  When you save yourself time you gain so much more.

Christmas Traditions, how to keep them alive

Christmas tradition and holiday traditions

Christmas traditions are something that I see being passed down from generation to generation.  At some point the story of why or how it got started gets blurred, but it’s all the same.  Because that is how we do it.

It’s no surprising that my family has changed some over the past year.  I’ve gotten married, which you can see the photos here.  J and I moved from the town that I had called the last 7 years home, which you can read about here.  And now we have two families that we would give anything to spend time with during the holidays.

Christmas Traditions Holiday Traditions
On top of all of my changes, my family has gone through some adjustments over the past few years.  My cousins have gotten married, had families, moved away to college, and even my sister has moved recently.  It’s getting harder and harder for all of us to be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

However, there are ways to keep them with me even when we aren’t all together.  Our Christmas traditions have become second nature to me.  Some of them I can’t imagine NOT doing during Christmas.  It would just be plain weird and wrong.  I mean really wrong.  But I realized that I have a husband and I’m sure not all of his Christmas traditions growing up were the same as mine.  And I’m sure that we will create our own traditions over the years.

But there are a few holiday traditions that I want to keep alive from my family.  Here are my favorites:

1) new set of PJs on Christmas Eve so we can wear them on Christmas morning
2) watching the new and old version of Miracle on 34th Street on Thanksgiving
3) filling our stockings with knick-knacks and favorite candies
4) mystery gift for one person each Christmas Eve
5) no bake, chocolate oatmeal with coconut cookies like my Grandma makes
6) Theme nights for Christmas Eve (as you can probably tell by the photo)

This year we spent Thanksgiving with my family and plan to spend Christmas with his.  So these little Christmas traditions is how I am going to keep my family close to me even though I can’t be with them.


O Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree It’s a family tradition that the weekend following Thanksgiving that Mom and Dad break out the Christmas tree.  One of my favorite moments out of each year is when we get to decorate the tree, hang the ornaments and then stand back in awe of our creation.  Each year we choose a new theme for the tree, and then we go out to the stores to find the perfect ribbon or garland.
Christmas Tree This year we chose bronze.  It’s not so much a theme like winter wonderland, but it’s still a theme nonetheless.  We found some pretty ribbon at Hobby Lobby and added that to our tree.  The best part is when we get to hang ornaments on the tree.  Hearing stories, laughing and spending time together is pretty special.  Plus, we have one ornament that is always put on last.  It’s a clip-on porcelain dove.  Mom says she bought it years ago when my Mom and Dad were first married at Dillard’s in St. Louis.  We’re not sure why we started hanging this one last or why the tradition has stuck around so long.  This year to ensure that I could be the one to hang it up, I noticed it in the box, grabbed it and then hid it from everyone else.  It may be a little childish to hide an ornament, but at the end of the day I am the one that gets to hang it!  It’s good being the awnry little sister sometimes.
Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Christmas Tree Can’t wait to celebrate Christmas this year!

Red Velvet Cookies Recipe

red velvet cookies recipeI stumbled upon this red velvet cookies recipe a few weeks ago.

  I ‘pinned’ it and then I could not stop thinking about it.  Red Velvet cake holds a special place in my heart.  It’s my family’s favorite and just so happens to be my favorite too.

I thought that it would be a great addition to our Thanksgiving Dinner and made a few adjustments to the original recipe to create my own.  It was a super easy cookie recipe to follow, which makes me want to jump and down for joy.

6 T. butter, melted and then cooled
1 box of Red Velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1 t. cornstarch
3 / 4 c. powdered sugar

Steps for the Red Velvet Cookies Recipe:
Preheat your oven to 370 degrees.  Grease 2 cookie sheets or cover with parchment paper (which I find so much easier).  In a medium bowl, mix together cornstarch and powdered sugar.  Set aside.  Beat together eggs, cooled butter and cake mix until well combined.  Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes so that the dough is easier to work with.  Roll dough into about 1-inch balls and dredge in the powdered sugar mixture.  Place on cookie sheet, about 2-inches apart.  Bake for 7-9 minutes.  Let cool completely and store in airtight container.
red velvet cookies recipeThese were delicious and a big hit at Thanksgiving!

Time Management Tools: Get Organized

time management
Welcome back to the time management tools series.  We are developing skills to become masters of our time.  So that we can do more, successfully.  We’ve talked about setting a value to your time so that you can do more in your day, which you can read about here.

If you have probably heard the next advice before, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly.  It’s the stepping stone to developing your time management tools.  Please do not skip this next step: set priorities.

If you do not know what task is the most important then you will waste your time.  As mentioned in our previous post – assign a value to each activity that you want to get done.  By establishing a value to each task then you know which one to tackle first and which one can wait.

When you have a full to-do list people tend to put their faces down and get to work.  Majority of people do not look up to see which tasks can be done quickly, which ones are more important.  So you have tendency to get side tracked by the minute stuff.

By taking a few minutes each day to evaluate your activities then you make a powerful to-do list.

By creating a to-do list you are making a map for your day that you can follow.  Try to pick at least three things that you want to get done each day.  Tackle them and then move on to the lesser important tasks.  If you try to spread yourself too thin with too many tasks then you won’t actually get anything fully completed.

Three tasks.  That’s manageable and not overwhelming.  If you would like to read the first post in our series, take a look at it here.

You have a nice face :: New Headshots

headshotsWhen I was home over Thanksgiving I had my sister follow me around with my camera to take a few new headshots.  My parents’ neighbors probably thought we were crazy.  J and my sister’s boyfriend made fun of our poses.   Also, it was pretty cold outside so it made even harder to concentrate.  In the end I got quite a few good shoots and have used them endlessly already.


I’ve never had real headshots taken before and am pretty excited to finally have some.  Here is a sneak peek at my favorites, even if some aren’t “headshot” material but just me being myself.