the year of calm

Hello all, I hope that this post finds you all well, rested, and recharged after a wonderful Christmas and New Year with friends, family, and loved ones. Today I have spent some time reflecting on 2017 and all of the memories it brought me. Some joyous, some difficult, moments of laughter, moments of tears, but most of all another full year of life that I am grateful for.

I have never really been one to embrace a huge resolution or change with a New Year but I have found myself in this season of life wanting to take extra time to reflect and decide how I would like my next year to look. This reflecting is different for everyone I would imagine: some may want to accomplish certain things in a year such as fitness goals, travel destinations, learning a new skill, and the list goes on.

What I have found in my mind the last couple of days during my thinking is that I really want to embrace a new feeling in my life this year. The best phrase I could come up with to describe this feeling I am seeking is “the year of calm” and as soon as I said it I knew it felt just right. Turning 25 this year has brought me a lot of thoughts that I am slowly sorting through. Some deep feelings of accomplishment, some anxious thoughts about how life is changing, some anxious thoughts about 25 and what that might mean, some happy moments reflecting on how far I’ve come, but equally as many about how far I still want to go.

I apologize if these sentiments and words are seeming vague as you read them but I wanted to write this post as a way to get them on (electronic) paper and have a way to hold myself accountable as 2018 unfolds. I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you who take the time to read my posts and I am so thankful for each of you. Starting this blog in the summer of 2016 has been one of my most favorite ways to spend my time as a creative expression and a way of exercising my love for writing.

In a few paragraphs I am going to try to describe what “the year of calm” is going to mean for me and some ideas I have for action steps and specific things I can do to make those changes throughout the year. Before I dig into the specifics I wanted to share the photo I saw on Instagram that sparked my initial thoughts about these changes that I’m wanting to make. I think the words really jumped out at me and it showed me that it was something I needed to read and attach to. So this year is all about the moments between the destinations for me. Moments where I will learn to embrace the quiet and prepare myself for whatever reveals itself next.

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For as long as I can remember I have always been someone who enjoyed being busy. I like to take on new challenges, new projects, and begin new things that I haven’t tried before. Having this mindset and energy level has given me a lot of opportunities, especially during my college years and these couple of years since graduating and beginning a career. I have found that in the last few months I have been yearning for some calm in my life. Days where I was craving just some quiet time to relax but didn’t have the ability to do that because of commitments I had made (work, school, social, etc).

I have read a few articles recently about how a measuring stick in our modern culture, especially in the US, for being successful is to tell people how busy you are. This really opened my eyes because often when people ask me “How are you?” or “How have you been?” my response is usually: I’m good but I’m so busy! My challenge to myself this year is to no longer look at be busy as an accomplishment. My new level of success will come from my ability to embrace the calm and quiet and teach myself how to relax.

After living by myself (plus Luna of course!) for the last 2.5 years I feel I have gotten into a great routine and actually really enjoy living alone. I like the freedom to have my own space but also love the fact that I can host and entertain whenever I’d like to but then things reset back to my personal space when the gathering is done. Even though I’ve found that I love living alone I still struggle to allow myself to fully relax and enjoy time in calm and quiet. This upcoming semester with only my one graduate school course one evening per week I am going to challenge myself to find some time for calm in the other 4 nights of the week. Some of them may turn in to study nights or nights with projects and tasks around the house; but for the most part I want to try some new ways to unplug.

Some other general ideas I have for embracing this year of calm are to be intentional when I take on new commitments. Reminding myself that keeping a lesser schedule will allow for a greater level of emotional health for me and physical health too. Melissa Hartwig, the creator of Whole30, said that this year she is going to help others learn how to comfortably say no. I am hoping to get some good advice from her as this is an area where I struggle.

Lastly, I am looking to build a new morning routine for myself that will allow for a larger amount of time in the morning before I go to work that I can add some quiet reflection before starting my day. I typically read before going to bed but want to try flipping things around and spending 15-20 minutes reading in the morning. This will allow me a slow start to the day and some time to enjoy coffee or sitting outside in the early morning (when it isn’t winter of course!). I also have never given meditation and breathing exercises/yoga a full shot. These are two things I also hope to incorporate into my morning routine. A short meditative exercise through a highly recommended app I downloaded (I will share about this with all of you after I’ve tried it for a few weeks) and some simple stretching in the morning should get me off on a better foot before starting my work or weekend day!!

I hope that all of you are feeling ready to welcome 2018 with open arms and that if you have goals for this year that you have the tenacity and courage to pursue them wholeheartedly. I appreciate you reading this and am glad to have all of you accountable to me as I share my journey to embrace these new things this year for myself.

#theyearofcalm #sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

 

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kitchen reno!

Hello everyone and happy Sunday 😊 I have a really exciting post for you tonight as I’m sharing the results of a HUGE project that I’ve been working on over the last few weeks.

The kitchen in my townhouse has always been a place that I wanted to tackle a larger project and over Thanksgiving weekend I decided to officially get started. I am thankful that I have had a lot of help along the way to make the whole project possible. So big shoutout to Brittany, Shyanne, and my dad!!!!

Prior to the project my kitchen had light oak cabinets, silver pulls, and cabinets that hung overhead above the sink and island blocking my view to/from the living room. In summary, it was definitely not a kitchen to write home about….

The first step in this big project was to tackle the painting of the cabinets. I opted to use chalk paint from Country Chic that I purchased at Picks. I chose a dark gray “Cobblestone” and was so happy with how it turned out. I have had experience with chalk paint before and I knew that when doing my cabinets that was the only way to go since the prep work with chalk paint is extremely minimal. First step was to get the cabinets washed down with wood soap and ensure they were dry and ready to go. My friend Brittany and I removed all of the hardware and the doors and then got to work!

Since the base of light oak was easy to cover the island and the trim around the doors really only took one nice coat. We did touch up in some places but other than that the coverage was excellent. Then we painted all of the doors and I let dry over night. Those all required a second coat but looked great after that application.

The final step with chalk paint is the waxing which I did about 36 hours after the doors were dry and all hung back up. The wax helps to seal in the color and help the paint from damaging easily. You can reapply wax as often as needed if the cabinets begin to wear. It also helps to add a nice matte looking finish to the color overall.
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After the painting was complete I had 2 more main tasks ahead of me. One was taking down the overhead cabinets that were blocking my view from the kitchen to the living room. The removal process was quite the adventure to say the least and I’m so thankful my friend and neighbor Shyanne came over to help me. After we got them down it was amazing how much of a difference it made. It truly felt like a brand new kitchen and even a brand new house with how much it opened up my whole first floor.

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The other “final touch” to make the facelift complete was to choose new hardware for the cabinets. I found these great pulls with the brushed bronze and twine in an arrow shape at Hobby Lobby. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find something really similar in the correct size I needed for my drawers but I found a great knob at Menards that fit my budget and also had the same brushed bronze/gold finish. I added those to the drawers instead of one long pull as the size I needed was hard to come by.

 

My finishing touches to the project were to repaint the walls and ceiling that were affected from the cabinet removal and then add some new decor to the bare walls that came from taking down the corner cabinet near the sink. I was able to rework a lot of my cabinets and their organization since I take down 4 cabinets from over and near the sink. I had my superhero dad help me hang up the removed cabinets in my garage and moved a lot of my larger and less frequently used kitchen items out there! That way I didn’t really “lose” the space but I get to have a kitchen with a better layout for my house.

The new corner became home to 2 floating shelves that I bought and painted with the same chalk paint as the cupboards. I filled them with my spices as it’s a fun way to display them and they were located in a cupboard that I needed to rework. I also found this fun gold mail holder at Target that I screwed into the wall so that I can have a place to collect my mail and those items that need attention so I don’t forget. I also bought the white and gold hanging decor piece from Target and will use it as a jar to drop my keys in since it’s right at the entrance to my garage.

Lastly, I bought a 2nd letterboard because I’ve been having so much fun with the one at my office 🙂 This is the opposite of the one at my office as it has a white background and black letters. I hit pinterest up for some kitchen quote ideas and was certainly not disappointed when I found this one hahah. It matches my feelings towards bacon very well and I think it’s a good laugh for guests who will visit.

I am SO excited because this upcoming Friday I am hosting a big group of girlfriends for a Christmas party and I can’t wait to have them all in the brand new kitchen and have us standing around the newly opened island and living room and having an easy time seeing and talking to everyone!! I hope that you all are having a successful time preparing for Christmas next week (holy smokes….) and that you enjoy a wonderful holiday filled with family, food, a joyful heart, and lots of love.

I’ll be back with more soon! #sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

must-have Christmas music

Hello, everyone! I hope that you all have started to feel the magic of this season of the year. At the beginning of this week a blizzard rolled into town and gave us back our hope of a White Christmas 🙂 I know many of you may be sad about the snow but I’m excited that it’s back!

As Christmas approaches I figured it would be more than appropriate to write about one of my favorite Christmas topics: Christmas music. My close friends and family know about my deep personal love for Christmas music and all are ashamed when I break out my CDs and my pandora stations and playlists the day after Halloween….I can’t help my excitement. I love Thanksgiving as much as the next person but since there isn’t any “Thanksgiving music” that I’m aware of I hop right on the Christmas music train.

Over the years I have collected lots of “favorites” when it comes to my Christmas music and I love that my car has a 6-CD changer. It allows me to load in 6 CDs from my collection and keep them playing on random throughout the season. Admittedly I have more than 6 CDs for Christmas so I switch them out every couple of weeks but leave my favorites in as much as possible! I even created a big Apple Music playlist this year of all of my favorite and I listen it in my office during the day on my bluetooth speaker.

For those of you who love Christmas music as much as me (or enjoy it in a more reasonable amount…haha) I wanted to share a handful of my favorite Christmas albums for you to check out. MANY artists have ventured into the Christmas album realm over the years. Some are awful….but some are excellent. Here are some of my favorites and I hope you enjoy checking them out!

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Chris Tomlin – Adore

This Chris Tomlin songs of worship for Christmas album came out in 2015 but I didn’t end up purchasing it until last year around this time. I was blown away by the CD on my first listen through and the music is truly beautiful. My first time listening to “Noel” from this album I was in my car driving to work last December. I was so overcome with emotion while listening to it that I was brought to tears. This is a great Christmas album for someone who appreciates worship music in general. Come and see what God has done….

If you only listen to one track: Noel – Chris Tomlin and Lauren Daigle 

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Michael Buble Christmas

This album really doesn’t need much explanation. It’s been a consistent listen for me since it came out in 2011 and Buble’s voice reminds me of those classic voices of my grandparent’s era of music. It’s velvet and effortless and this is one example of a Christmas album gone TOTALLY right for an artist 🙂 Ave Maria is one of my favorite Christmas songs and his version is simply stunning.

If you only listen to one track: Ave Maria 

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She & Him Christmas

I will preface this summary with one question: What can’t Zooey Deschanel do?? This lady makes me laugh harder than anyone in New Girl and I’ve always appreciated her individual spirit and eccentric style. Zooey teamed up with Matt Ward to form She & Him as a musical duo. Their short and sweet Christmas album is simple and raw. I appreciate the minimal nature of it and it’s something unique to listen to. Zooey’s voice is untouched and free which makes it all the better.

If you only listen to one track: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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Lady Antebellum – On This Winter’s Night

This album is the one farthest removed from my normal taste in music but it has been a pleasant surprise. I had a couple of roommates in college who really enjoyed and appreciated country music which has never been an interest or liking of mine. I heard some Lady Antebellum through them and I believe that is where I first heard this CD as well. I really like the male and female combination dynamics in this trio and the music on this album is feel good listening for this season of the year!

If you only listen to one track: This Christmas

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Leslie Odom Jr. – Simply Christmas

Ahhh Leslie Odom Jr. can simply do no wrong. This man’s voice is something to be in awe of and I am SO HAPPY that he has a Christmas album. No one is quite like him stylistically and it’s just so impressive to listen to him and how he uses his voice as a beautiful instrument. The song I’m choosing below for you to listen to to check out the album has always been perplexing to me as far as why it’s considered a Christmas song…but just go with me on this one. His version is unreal…as a piano player I especially appreciate the piano solo during his version of the song.

If you only listen to one track: My Favorite Things

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Frank Sinatra – Christmas

Ending my suggestions with a suggestion that is as classic as it can get. When I was looking to add more music to my Christmas playlist on my phone through Apple Music this came up as a suggestion and it couldn’t be more perfect. Mr. Sinatra is someone who doesn’t need any explanation. He’s as good as it gets and this album has all of the Christmas classics.

If you only listen to one track: The Christmas Song

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I hope this list of suggestions provided some new Christmas music ideas for all of you. As always, thanks so much for reading. I look forward to sharing more Christmas related things with you over the next couple of weeks. ❤

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope that all of you have enjoyed a wonderful holiday weekend filled with the celebration of Thanksgiving in places and with people you are thankful for 🙂 I sit on the couch tonight writing this post for all of you grateful for my home-ownership, my friends, and my ability to physically take on renovation projects at home. I officially wrapped up a BIG project this evening and I can’t wait to share the results with all of you in a couple of weeks on the blog once all of the finishing touches are completed.

Last weekend I was able to do a majority of my Christmas decorating as I knew I wanted to use this long weekend for my big renovation project. I added some final details to my decorations and am in the process of waiting for one more Christmas decor piece that I ordered from Etsy but since we are officially in the Christmas season after Thanksgiving I wanted to share my decorations with all of you to give you some inspiration as your prepare your own homes for this magical season!!

I am not going to add much commentary to go along with the photos but I will list where I got each of the items if you want to snag any of it yourself —

Front door/first impressions:

The left hand photo is just inside of my front door. This ornament wreath I made two years ago for my first post-college apartment and really based all of my future Christmas decoration colors on the ornaments I used to make it. I have embraced mainly decor that is non-traditional Christmas colors

The right hand photo is my front entry. I found the cute “oh what fun!” doormat at Target and I love the vintage car with the tree 🙂 My plain green wreath is from Menards and I attached a red bow along with hanging this wooden “Be Merry” sign that I bought at Picks antique store last Christmas season

Small details:

On my TV stand I have two signs from Hobby Lobby (Glory to the Newborn King and joyeux noel) as well as a nutcracker from Target, a set of bright colored wooden animals from Target, and the mint green wooden tree behind Luna’s toy basket is from Picks last year as well

Stockings and Bookcase:

I use my banister as the perfect place for stockings. Both stockings as well as both sets of garland (colored pom balls and white glittered stars) are from Target. The fun tinsel trees were also purchased at Target two years ago. I took to the basket trend this year and spray painted a pale yellow basket I no longer used in my living room a metallic silver for the mini trees to sit in.

On my book case I have lots of small decor pieces. All of the bottle brush trees are from Target ( I LOVE these trees; some of my favorite Christmas decorations). The silver/gold one on the top shelf was purchased last year but the pink/red/gold toned ones were all bought this year from the dollar spot at Target. The gorgeous white angel is from Hobby Lobby.  The silver angel on the bottom shelf was made by placing a wire angel I got from my aunt over a plain silver tree I bought at Menards. The gold deer and silver star were both purchased from Target a couple of years ago. The “Believe in the Magic of Christmas” sign is from Kittsona. And last but not least the beautiful wooden manager scene at the foot of the angel on the top shelf was a birthday gift from my parents this year. It is made from real olive wood found in the Holy Land and is such a great addition to my decor.

Table top and top of the stairs:

On my dining room table I created a scene with all pieces from Target. The yellow and pink bottle brush trees, the beautiful white and silver wooden deer, and the fun multi-colored advent calendar were all purchased at Target last Christmas season. The wooden and ribbon “joy” sign above the table I just found at Picks this weekend and the turquoise lettering makes it a perfect fit with the rest of my colors 🙂

The top of the stairs near my bedroom houses my third small tree which is a fun wooden rotating tree I bought at Picks last year. I added some fun garland and small ornaments to it to add a touch of Christmas to the upper level of my townhouse as well!

The cherry on top: The Tree!!!

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The real showstopper this year is my brand new tree. I decided it was time to purchase a larger tree since I now had a house that could accommodate something bigger than the tree I used in my smaller apartment. This beautiful white flocked tree I purchased at Walmart. My ornaments and varieties of garland are all from either Hobby Lobby or Target.

The natural wood and glitter star tree topper was just purchased at Target this weekend to tie in with my wooden star hanging on the wall. I also decided to put my large Christmas tree in a basket this year since that is such a new tactic. I bought a plain wicker basket at Target (ensure that your tree stand will fit in whatever basket you choose!!!) and then bought a can of silver metallic spray paint and painted it to match my theme. This is the same spray paint I used on the other basket my smaller tinsel trees are in. I also love my burlap and silver tree skirt which was purchased at Target a couple of years ago so I chose to keep it underneath the basket so it could still be a part of the tree scene.

On my white chair I have a fun multi-colored beaded deer pillow that I got at Target a year or two ago. The silver JOY decor piece on my end table is from TJ Maxx and I have some great smelling pine wax melts in my warmer to keep my home smelling like a real tree 🙂 Another tip for those of you with an artificial tree: at Target (and probably other places too!) they sell pine/tree scented sticks that can go on ornament hooks and hang inside your tree so you can have that fresh Christmas-y smell from your non-real tree.


I hope that those of you who have already decided to decorate for the season have felt as much joy as I have as I prepare for this magical time of year. Getting my home ready for this season is one of my favorite things to do each year and I hope that you all experience that same warm feeling!! This might be my favorite photo of all. My sweet Luna puppy all tired out at the end of our first day of decorating. Sitting on the couch just like this and looking towards my tree is my favorite place to be this time of year.

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Wishing all of you a wonderful week and excited to be back again soon with some more to share next Sunday 🙂 Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate all of you so much!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

Financial tips and tricks

Hi everyone! This time of year can be especially stressful on our bank accounts and cards. With Christmas gifts and other holiday obligations and parties we may spend more than we are comfortable with or put our budget by the wayside.

Since graduating from college I have been working to find financial programs and budgeting tips and techniques that work best for me as I navigate my income and prepare and plan ahead for expenses that come with homeownership and my graduate school expenses.

One of the best things I have done so far to hold myself accountable for my finances and budgeting is to buy a financial notebook/planner to consistently use each month and keep myself on track. The planner I use is one I found last year at Kittsona: a local boutique. It has been great for tracking my months financially and setting financial goals.

When I first decided I needed to get my finances on track and commit to better managing my money I spent one month tracking every single thing I spent money on or bought. This month long snapshot of where my money was going opened my eyes to areas where I knew I was spending too much and gave me an idea of how I could cut back or improve.

Then after my spending habit tracking I worked to create my first monthly budget and set parameters for what was feasible for me to spend in different categories. Keeping in mind that some monthly expenses for me are variable (mainly utilities like electricity and water)

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Another vital piece to my financial planning came from my reading of a book by a well known financial educator named Dave Ramsey. I received one of his books as a gift from my parents since they believe his advice is sound. Of course this book is by no means the only book to read if you are seeking financial advice. Everyone has a different mindset when it comes to money so find a book, method, or person that works best for you!!

Just to keep things abbreviated I had three major takeaways from this book but it is filled with valuable information for people in varying financial situations.

1) The envelope spending cash system

– One of the main takeaways I had from Dave Ramsey’s book and overall philosophy was the envelope system for cash budgeting. Dave believes that by paying for things with cash you take on a greater feeling for the spending of the money since it is in physical form. Cash is king in his eyes and so adopting this system has helped me to rethink my spending habits as I’m not always swiping away my money.

The basic concept behind this system is to budget out all of your non essential spending categories for the month, add them up, and then withdraw that money in cash. Then make physical envelopes labeled with each of your categories and put your corresponding budgeted amount for that category in cash in the envelope. As the month goes on you take money out if the appropriate envelope for purchases. If you empty the envelope for a certain category then your only choice is to dip into another envelope if you need money for a purchase in the category or choose to go without. This process helps with impulse spending and also helps in the overall facilitation of your budget.

2) The debt snowball

This concept is very straight forward. Once you accomplish your initial savings and emergency savings requirements you start paying down your debt(s) . Dave’s recommendations to approaching debt is compared to the forming of a snowball. Start small and before you know it you have a huge snowball. When you begin to pay down debt start by writing out every debt you have from smallest to largest. Once you have those amounts listed you can begin to pay them down by starting with the smallest and working your way up. As you pay down small debts and start crossing them of your list you will gain a positive outlook and also build your financial confidence.

One thing that’s important to note is that you will need to continue to pay any minimums on larger debt like student loans and credit cards but can focus the rest of your funds on smaller debts to start with. Once you only have larger debts remaining you can start to apply larger amounts to pay off those debts more quickly instead of feeling stuck paying only minimums.

3) The unprecedented importance of early savings for retirement

I won’t make any specific comments on the subject of retirement savings as everyone has different priorities and philosophies but I will stress how important it is to begin saving for retirement early. Those who are in their early to mid 20s like me: whatever you save now for retirement will pay off in HUGE ways when you reach your retirement age. It’s also important to be sure those who are contributing to employer sponsored plans are taking full advantage of any matching opportunities they are giving you.

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If these concepts intrigue you I highly recommend buying one of Dave’s books and diving in. He also sells financial workbooks that can help you get started with the physical planning pieces. I also have friends who have attended classes in one of their local churches our other places that are called “Financial Peace University” which teach Dave’s principles in multiple in person sessions.

Finances are not easy and they are certainly not an easy thing to talk about with others. If you’re feeling that way about money you are not alone!! I hope these tips and ideas give you a good place to get started if you have been looking for motivation or a reminder how important it is to be as financially well as possible. Financial wellness is a key to lower stress and a better relationship with money and feeling in control of your spending.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all have a great week!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

Whole30 results and recipes

Hello everyone! I am back from what seems like lengthy hiatus from the blog. The month of October was a blur and it’s crazy that we are already to mid-November. I am currently on a trip visiting one of my best friends in Seattle and had the chance to spend some time writing content to publish for the next few weeks 🙂

The first thing I wanted to share with all of you was some results, recipes, and tips from my whole30 experience that I wrapped up last week. I began the 30 day program in mid-October with my mom and had a great experience during my thirty day reset.

As far as concrete and numbers based results I lost just under 20 pounds during the program. It was amazing to see the  changes that occurred during the month that aren’t as obvious to others that are commonly called non scale victories. I found that during the program I slept better than I have in a long time and also had a much easier time waking up in the mornings. I have also experienced clearer skin and healthier looking hair. And this is just to name a few!!

One of the largest victories of this program for me was the challenge it gave me to spend more time and energy being comfortable in the kitchen. I have never found myself trying to build on cooking skills or have an interest in being in the kitchen but whole 30 pushed me to get in the kitchen and try new things.

I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I said the month was easy. There were lots of trying and challenging days that I experienced throughout the program but once I got through the initial “sugar hangover” and sickness feelings of the first 5 days everything was pretty much smooth sailing. I avoided scenarios where I knew I would be tempted with foods I couldn’t have and that really made all the difference. After the second week I felt unstoppable and the routines became easier and the cravings lessened.

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Here are some general tips for any of you that might be considering a whole 30 in your future:

– Find some breakfast options you enjoy that don’t involve eggs.As someone who doesn’t really enjoy eggs I easily got tired of them and had to find other options that worked for me in the morning.

– Planning and preparing on the weekends (or any other night that works for you) is essential to your success. By making your breakfasts and lunches for the week ahead of time you won’t be tempted by off plan and non complaint foods because you are prepared with foods you can have.

– Do your grocery shopping after you’ve eaten. I went to the grocery store a handful of times while I was hungry. Big mistake!! The temptations are real. Another grocery shopping tip: go to the store fully prepared with your list and one week at a time.

– Potatoes truly are amazing and can be used in so many ways. This was a staple food for my mom and I. We also found that soups were some of our go-tos for larger batch cooking.

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Last but not least I wanted to share some of our favorite recipes that we tried during our month long program. most if them we made multiple times as they proved to be really flavorful and filling.

I know I said to find non egg breakfasts but this is a great option that includes eggs.I just found myself wanting something different after the first couple of weeks.

For a non egg breakfast option thing was my favorite. A sweet and hearty meal to start of the day. You can also get creative with your toppings. I enjoyed it next with fresh raspberries on top 🙂

 As I mentioned earlier soup was one of our go-to meals. This was by far my favorite soup recipe that we tried. The red pepper flakes added a nice bite and the chicken apple sausage was really tasty.

 Last but not least I wanted to share this spiralized veggie recipe. You will eat a LOT of veggies during your thirty days so finding different ways to prepare them helps make things more fun. And who doesn’t like adding bacon to something!!??

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All in all I am so happy I decided to give whole 30 a try. I love the new energy I’ve found be eating food that is good for me. I’m going to continue eating whole 30 as best I can between now and the holidays while allowing myself to have some of my favorites along the way. Then I plan to full on return to the plan for the month of January to continue my reset and work forward on my journey of becoming healthier. Especially in my food and eating practices and habits.

Thank you for reading and I’m happy to be back with some consistent content for all of you as we head into prime decorating season for the holidays!!!!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen

the making of plant ladies!

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all enjoyed your weekend. I’m happy to be back to the blog and hopefully on routine for our Sunday schedule going forward 🙂

This Saturday morning I started off my weekend in a relaxing way. Myself and two of my friends, Brittany and Julie, attended a class hosted by All Seasons garden center on succulent and cactus gardening!

I have never attended a class at All Seasons before but I am so glad I did. It was a relaxing and informative class that allowed me to express creativity and work in an area that I am trying to learn more about: gardening and plants! There were multiple employees there to assist everyone with each step in the process and one of the employees did a demo at the beginning showing us all of the steps before she set us loose!

The fee for the class itself was $10. Then all of your materials and plants you chose were at your cost. We got to choose from a huge wall of containers; different colors, shapes, textures, and sizes.

Then they had soil prepared for us as well as pearock to line the bottom of your container of it didn’t have built in drainage. Next we could choose any cacti, succulents, or small plants that we wanted for our container! There were so many options so it took me quite awhile to decide what I wanted to do.

I ended up choosing 2 cacti. One fun colored one and one green. Then I chose one small coral flowering plant to match the colored cactus. The two succulents I chose were so fun and unique. The one in the front is referred to as “string of pearls” and is a trailing succulent that will grow out and trail down over time. The other succulent reminded me of an underwater seaweed with its neat tubular arms!

Once I had my plants out and planted I decided I want to add some fun colored rock to give it additional personality. I found this multicolored rock that was perfect for the colors I chose! I scooped and sprinkled some throughout before watering them to finish everything off 🙂

It was so fun to see all of the different combinations that my friends and others in the class came up with! Maybe my favorite part of the whole class was that we were able to make a mess and get dirt everywhere without being worried! They encouraged us to cause a mess and it was nice to work and not be concerned with keeping things tidy.

For those of you that live in the Grand Forks area I encourage you to check out the All Seasons Facebook page to see what kind of classes they have coming up this fall. They have one most weekends and covering different topics! I am already looking forward to a class I signed up for next month with my mom that will have us making large outdoor holiday greenery containers.

A few succulent and cactus tips for each of you that I learned this weekend: these plants LOVE sunlight and prefer 4-6 hours of sunlight each day if possible so placing them on a sunny windowsill is best. They also shared that the number one killed of succulents (and actually all plants in general) is overwatering. They shared you need to monitor the soil and only water when the plant feels dry through about the first inch of soil.

I can’t wait to display my little garden on the sunny windowsill in my office to bring some live plants into my working environment! Thanks so much for reading and we will see you next week!!

#sugarspiceandstylethatsnice

xoxo Jen