Monday, January 27, 2014

Liebster Award

Somehow a few people have found this little blog of mine. And some even thought I was cool enough to be nominated for a Liebster Award. Wow. Thanks to Carrie and Emily for your nominations. That just means I have two sets of questions to answer, yikes! Here goes nothing, hopefully you learn something that will make you want to hang around and see what I have to say :)
Emily's questions first ...
1. If you could meet one person from history (someone who is no longer with us), who would it be and why? Hmmm, I really don't have an answer here. This isn't off to a good start.
2. What's your favorite dessert? Oh this is so hard. Anything chocolate is a winner in my book.
3. What's your favorite sport? Football, without a doubt! NFL only please none of this college stuff.
4. If you could trade places with an animal for a day, what animal would it be and why? This is an interesting question ... I guess I'd be a monkey. Hanging upside down, swinging around in the trees in a warm climate sounds pretty good to me.
5. What's the coolest place you've ever visited? This is tricky. I think Hawaii was the most beautiful but Romania was the most unique. Not sure about the cool factor though.
6. Can you speak another language? Si. Not a lot but when I drink my Spanish improves greatly, must be a hidden talent. I can also count to 10 in 5 languages, does that count for anything?
7. Share a secret with me! It's not much of a secret but people are always surprised to find out that I hate bacon. I love ham but bacon, I just can't. Scandalous ... I know!
8. What's the temperature where you live right now? 1* ... yep not lying it's freezing in Indiana this week.
9. What is your dream job? Window designer/dresser. I'm completely in awe of the NYC windows during the holidays
10. What is your favorite music genre? A little bit of everything, most I stick to the pop/rap/r&b genres. 
11. What's your favorite thing about blogging? Connecting with other people. Sometimes it's nice to lay out all your feelings and have other people say "I've been there." makes the world feel a little less big.

And up next Carrie's questions, she was kind and only gave me a few :)
1. What is the last thing you decorated in your house? We are currently redoing our extra bathroom/laundry room. 
2. What is your favorite drink? On a day-to-day basis I'd say a fountain Diet Coke (yes there's a difference). Although an iced chai latte from Starbucks sure makes my day. And if we are talking alcohol then I'm sticking with a margarita.
3. Where was your most favorite vacation at? I think my most favorite is yet to come, we're going to Disney World in March. But I'll have to say my honeymoon. We went to Mexico and had the best time except that we lost our camera.
4. How many other blogs do you read? Ooh, I don't want to actually count them, so let's just go with a lot. A whole lot.
5. What do you want for Valentine's day? We aren't big on Valentine's Day at our house. I think the last time we celebrated was buying a new water heater. True romance right there people.

Well that wasn't so bad, hopefully you learned a few things about the lady behind the blog here at It's My Life. Now it's my turn to nominate some people and give them some questions to answer. Sorry if you've already been nominated, I guess that just means you are extra special.
Quinn @ Kimchi & Sweet Tea
Jacquelyn @ JustJacq
Aubrey @ Dream about Someday
Whitney @ Whitney Blake

Here's your questions, I'm lazy and only gave you 5:
1. What's your favorite candy?
2. Do you have a guilty pleasure, please share!
3. What's your dream job? (stealing this from Emily because I liked it!)
4. What was your least favorite vacation ever?
5. What's one thing you hope to accomplish this year?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Live: Finances

We've been hangin' with Dave this year ... Dave Ramsey that is. Have you heard of him? Well if not check out his website and see what he's all about. I heard Dave's name thrown around for the past year but never really sat down and listened to his program. It's all about getting out of debt and living a debt free life. He preaches a lot about religious aspects of living without debt which I don't buy in to but his advice is solid so I just overlook that part. 

About six months ago we got real serious about paying off our debt. It was mostly credit cards and some car loans and yes of course mortgages (yes plural, remember we are landlords) but it was still more than we could handle and we were drowning. We couldn't plan family vacations because our "budget" just wouldn't allow for it. Let's face it there wasn't much of a budget, we tried to sit down and plan it out but it just never worked. We sat down with our financial planner at Edward Jones and he said pay off our credit card debt and car loans and then we could talk about planning for the future. It seemed like everything was against us. Our debt was holding us back and we didn't want that anymore! I picked up Dave's book from the library, Total Money Makeover and read it cover to virtual cover and continued to read excerpts to my husband every other page. We decided to start following the Baby Steps as Dave calls them.
Awesome free printable from Jenny Collier
We've completed Step 1 (multiple times actually thanks to rental house repairs we had to make in November). We are working our way through Step 2 which is to pay off our debt (this does not include our mortgages) and I'm so excited to say that today I will be making my final payment on my credit card. Goodbye interest charges, goodbye monthly payment! We still have one car loan and one credit card to go but I feel like I can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

I love listening to to the podcasts from Dave's radio show, has them all for free. They are full of good advice and inspiring stories. 

Here's to another step of completing my 2014 word: live
As Dave always says, "You have to live like no one else now so later you can live like no one else." Basically if you live on rice and beans like nobody else to get over your debt now, you can later live your life debt free like nobody else.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is it normal ...

The idea for this post came to me yesterday in the bathroom. As I was walking into the bathroom to be specific so don't run away yet. We have single bathrooms at work (none of that stall stuff from school) and I could clearly see the light was on but I still reached up and attempted to turn on the light when I walked in. It made me think, is that normal? Is it normal to try and turn on a light that I already know is on because I do it every time I walk into that damn bathroom! What else do I do or think that may not be normal? So here's my list!

Is it normal ...
     ... that I try to turn on the light in the bathroom that I already know is on every single time I walk in?
     ... that I wear the same 3 sets of diamond earrings all day, every day and almost never take them out?
     ... to sometimes forget that I have a tattoo on my leg? It's hard to see above my ankle and sometimes I forget it's there even though it was the first one I ever got.
     ... I still wake up in the middle of the night because I think I smell smoke even though I know our deck is not on fire?
     ... to not want to take time for myself? I'd rather spend a crazy weekend with my kids and husband than spend the weekend away even if I was at a spa.
     ... to rationalize eating an entire bag of dark chocolate peanut M&Ms? I mean they are dark chocolate, hello antioxidants! and nuts which are good for you too!
     ... to like Halloween more than Christmas?
     ... to not have a Facebook account? I deleted mine over a year ago and don't miss it.
     ... to write a post about being abnormal?

What's something you do that might not be considered normal?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Get fit check in

It's time to check in on my fit status. I'm happy to report that things are going well since my last update. I'm sticking to the Jillian Michaels DVD challenge and I'm on week 3!

Venus Trapped in Mars
For a 30 minute workout Jillian sure kicks your butt! Most workouts end with my laying on the floor wishing that I could skip the cool down and just take a nap instead. 
This is me. Dead. The photo had to b&w or you would only see my beet red face.
I keep myself entertained during the workouts by finding mistakes in the DVD. Like on the first set of strength exercises for week 3. You do 3 moves and then repeat. On the repeat you do the bear crawl, duck walk and then just as Shelly (the blonde on the right) is about to pick up her weights for the final move Ms. Jillian yells "CARDIO!" and you don't ever do the third move a second time. 
The bad thing about skipping this move is that you worked two different muscle groups on each arm so eventually you'd get lopsided if you never reversed it. I am looking forward to week 3 being over so that I can stop doing the ab hold move. I just can't figure it out and I can't get my ass up off the ground. I'm blaming it on the fact that my arms are too short and not that my ass is too big to lift up.
I've got no sunshine under my butt, sorry Jill.
I do have to say that posting my progress on IG has been a big motivator for me. You can follow along with #jmdvdchallenge

How are you fitness goals coming along for the new year? Don't tell me you've given up already!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Live: Parenting

I feel like to really live this year I need to do some self improvement. I set a goal to read 65 books this year (am I crazy?!) so I decided to start out with some that would help improve my life and really let me live. I'm starting with Parenting.
I hate when my kids don't listen to me and I hate even more when I yell at them. So I'm currently reading Positive Discipline A-Z: 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems -- I'm hoping this will let me become a better parent especially in respects to having my kids hear me and learning how to discipline better.  

I don't want to spend the rest of my life wishing I was a better parent. I wish I would've gotten a heads up as to how hard this parenting thing really is. I thought the problems didn't come until the teenage years, but apparently a six year old and almost four year old are giving me a run for my money on this one. Hopefully I can take some of the techniques I learn and apply them to my every day life. Having a strong relationship with my kids is super important to me. By having a happy family and not feeling stressed at home when it comes to discipline will help me tremendously.

What parenting tips, tricks and secrets do you have? I know that one thing won't work for everyone and that there isn't a magic formula for being a good parent. Please don't take away from this that I think I'm a bad mom. I know I'm not. I just want to be better and less stressed. 

I'll report back when I'm done and let you know what I'm going to try and implement and if it works!

UPDATE: See what I thought of the book here!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Caramel Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Yes that delicious goodness up there is a Caramel Hot Chocolate Cupcake. It was freezing and snowy on NYE so I thought I should bake something. Awhile back A got a mini size maker, I don't really know what brand but basically it has interchangeable plates that you can make mini brownies, cupcakes, donuts and such. Well the cookbook has some awesome recipes but I didn't want to spend all night making 48 mini cupcakes when you can only bake 6 at a time. So I just made regular size cupcakes (because guess who finally got a new cupcake pan for Christmas, this girl!) and I got about 18 cupcakes.

The original recipe called for regular hot chocolate but that sounded boring after I had just received some caramel hot chocolate as a gift (I'm considering mint for next time or maybe raspberry). They also wanted you to make marshmallow frosting which I'm sure would be amazing but I just used what I had on hand which was cream cheese frosting from the can, yep we are fancy.

Here's what you'll need:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 packets (1 oz each) hot chocolate mix any flavor of your choosing, I used caramel
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small saucepan combine butter and milk and heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and let cool. 
Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine hot chocolate mix, flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder and salt. 
Add the butter mixture, eggs and vanilla and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Then beat on medium for about 1 minute until everything comes together.
Fill your cupcake wells and bake at 350* for about 8-10 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick. Let cool on wire rack. Once completely cooled you can frost with frosting of your choice. I think a marshmallow frosting with caramel drizzle would've been great but I didn't have any so feel free to use what you have on hand.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ripping it up

I have a confession ... P90X only lasted about a week and a half. It was just too much. I work full-time and have two kids and husband. I don't have at least 90 minutes every day to work out. I needed something shorter. Then along came Christmas and I got one of my wish list presents -- Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD. Wahoo! I knew it was the answer to my problem. I set 12/30/13 as my start date, I didn't want to be a cliche Jan. 1st starter. 
I did take New Year's Day off, but I've done the work outs every day since I started. And I also stumbled across a Jillian Michaels DVD IG challenge which I'm now participating in and is helping to keep me motivated. Jan 2-Feb 2 you pick any Jillian DVD and work out for 30 days. You can see all the details here and join in on the fun! Tomorrow is my last Week 1 workout and then I'm moving on to the Week 2 workout. 

You can keep following my workout progress and the rest of the Jillian challenge with #jmdvdchallenge on IG.

How's your workout coming along? Sticking to your program or struggling for motivation?

Venus Trapped in Mars