#100HappyDays: Days 1-10

28 Mar

I have a great friend, Kirsten, who I email with multiple times a week. She and her husband, Doug, are in the Peace Corps in Rwanda, you can read all about them, here: https://midwestpcvs.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/st-louis-couples-love-for-art-english-fuels-projects-in-peace-corps-rwanda/

Anyway, through the course of our emails it became apparent that I always had something to complain about. I am not proud to admit this, but I am someone who has every reason to be happy, yet, I let my summary of my day be filled with the tiny gripes in life instead of the tiny celebrations. Anyway, Kirsten recommended that I check out http://100happydays.com/

Essentially, it is a challenge to take a picture daily of something that makes you happy. To switch your focus from the things that are bad or negative, which is human nature, to the things that are positive.

I have actually been loving this project! I am sharing on Instagram under “sasharoundtheclock” (so feel free to follow me!)

Well, a few of my close friends (Kirsten included!) have told me that they don’t have instagram but want to keep up with my project. So I have decided to do some weekly recaps here on this blog, where the forum is better for story telling and giving you a deeper glimpse into what is going on behind these photos.

Now, I am on day 22, so clearly I am behind on that! So I am going to do weekly 10-photo recaps until we get caught up!

Here were my first 10 days, starting on March 6th.

Day 1

3 weeks ago

Watching tv from bed… Wonderful end to the work week and so relaxing! #100happydays

I decided to start my posting on the very day that Kirsten recommended it. So while this might not be the most inspiring tale of what makes me happy, I think a lot of people can appreciate that glorious feeling of snuggling into a couch or bed and watching tv or reading a book at the end of a long work day.

Day 2

3 weeks ago

Drinking wine with my dear friend! #100happydays

I got to spend almost an entire day with my dear friend, Nancy! We had a rocky start to our day – we had planned facials together and then one of the estheticians called in sick and my appointment was cancelled. Never fear, though, we saved the day! Nancy got her facial, and then I met her at the salon and we explored downtown St. Charles, wandering in and out of little shops together. I also came back over for dinner and to craft, but we ended up having great conversations over an amazing bottle of wine (Stag’s Leap FAY) that Nancy was kind enough to share with me. I love this amazing, fun friend!

Day 3

3 weeks ago

The weather was nice enough that I got to wear my flip flops! Looks like it might be pedicure time though…#100happydays

I absolutely love letting my feet be free! I went to the University of South Carolina for undergrad, where flip slops were a MUST. I always love when the weather gets nice enough to bust out my Old Navy flops!

Day 4

3 weeks ago

Had fun making this one-sie for a friend! I love having time to be crafty! #100happydays #embroidery

You may or may not know, but I got a sweet sewing machine for my birthday from my parents and my husband. And then I got an awesome cabinet of embroidery thread from my mother in law for Christmas, and some accessories from my sister (which you’ll see featured in part in a minute). So embroidery is my new hobby! I was so excited to be commissioned to make this for my coworker’s daughter’s first birthday! I have an extra, too, that I haven’t been able to sell so I guess I’ll have to wait for someone’s kid to turn one…haha.

Day 5

3 weeks ago

Great appointment at my dentist- my only long term care provider (other than my dad). Dr. Lambert and his staff are great and I had a cavity free appointment!#100happydays #dentist

Here’s a plug for my dentist. I’ve been seeing him for 5 years and he and his staff are just GREAT. I had an awesome, cavity free appointment. Whoo hoo!

Day 6

2 weeks ago

Practicing my embroidery by making a present for my dad’s bday! Shh it’s a secret!! #100happydays #embroidery #family

More adventures in embroidery! If you can’t read it, that says “Karachi Doc” and I made it as a birthday present for my dad. My dad is an amazing man. He is a child neurologist and he grew up in Karachi, Pakistan. He is a true testament to the idea that you can achieve  your dreams if you work hard and persevere. Love this man!

Day 7

2 weeks ago

Seeing these cute giraffe themed gifts daily reminds me of my sister and makes my heart happy!!! They certainly make my craft room more stylish!!@sparkle__ninja #100happydays

My baby sister (she’s 25 but will always be my baby sister) is so thoughtful and my desire to be crafty is rubbing off on her! She made the mason jar pin-cushion pictured. Yes, the lid of that mason jar is a PIN CUSHION that she made, and then I can keep the loose pins INSIDE the jar. I love it! She gave me a ton of accessories to get my sewing hobby off of the ground. When I see things like this in my house, it makes my heart really happy and reminds me how loved I am!

Day 8

2 weeks ago

Early start to daddy’s birthday weekend!#100happydays #roadtrip

You saw, above, that I made a hat for my dad’s birthday. Well, I also drove to Warm and Cheerful (that’s Centerville, if you don’t know) to celebrate my Dad’s birthday! The picture is really pointing out that it was 3:43, so I was getting a head start on my drive! Good thing I did, because the weather and rain meant that I got in pretty late! It would have been so much later if I had worked until 5!

Day 9

2 weeks ago

Got my dad to do a birthday selfie with me!!! Love my daddy and happy to celebrate him today!!#100happydays #family

Got my dad to take a selfie with me on his birthday! I am not the best selfie taker. I guess I need practice. :)

Day 10

2 weeks ago

Made it to my home at the end of our#bestieroadtrip!!!!! Excited to spend the week with@sparkle__ninja !! #100happydays #sisterweek#sistersinstl

The best long drives are long drives you get to share with a friend!  This amazing girl decided to spend an entire week with me before embarking in employment. We had so much fun, and you’re going to see that in the next ten that I post. :)

Spicing Up That Salad

23 Mar

I like to poll my facebook friends for ideas, suggestion and advice. I usually get an assortment of types of answerers – close friends, acquaintances, former classmates, people I forgot were even on facebook…. but this post was one of my most popular posts in awhile (popularity, of course, being judged by the number of comments):

Facebook poll: what fruits, veggies, or seasoning would you add to a salad to give it some kick? I don’t care for salad dressing or nuts, and trying to avoid dairy and processed foods. Any ideas?

So you can see, I explicitly asked for suggestions that would take my daily lunch to a new level, but without adding the extra sugars, processed foods, or other junk that is honestly calories wasted on a salad and better saved for dessert (oh, how I wish I had taken a picture of the gloriousness that was the pineapple upside down cake that I made for a coworker’s birthday today!)

The ideas ranged the gamut, so I thought I’d share some tidbits with you guys:

macncheese

Thanks for the warning – I will not be trying Mac & Cheese.  However, I do love STRAWBERRIES!

I paired that with this tidbit of advice:

kale and mint

And the end result was this beauty:

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What I had for lunch all week after asking for advice — It’s a romaine/kale blend (the kale is on the bottom, I should have tossed that a bit better) with sliced strawberries that have been tossed with mint and sat over night.

Yum!

Here are some other responses to my poll — some of which I may need to be trying in the very near future!

saira salad

Great ideas!  I love jicama. I usually just eat it raw. I never thought about toasted oats or barley!

Some other popular ideas on my facebook were:

  • avocados
  • pico de gallo / salsa
  •  fruit such as mandarin oranges, pears, craisins, and apples
  • herbs such as mint, cilantro, and basil
  • alternate dressing ideas such as lemon juice, balsamic vinegars, and tomatoes cooked with a touch of honey

All in all, what I am getting at is that your salad does not have to be plain and boring to stay healthy! There are thousands of combinations. We also don’t need to hide our vegetables under layers and layers of ranch dressing… gross!

And I was glad to see so many ideas and suggestions– and to maybe even inspire some of my friends:

gwyn salad

Anyone else having a salad this week? :)

Better Breakfast

3 Feb

The word breakfast literally means to break one’s fast. A fast is a time of not eating. So breakfast is literally the time of day where we give our bodies the nourishment that it has not received during our slumber.

You can argue that our bodies need less energy during the night, to which I would agree. But breakfast skippers (my former self included) find themselves not eating until lunch time. Guilty as charged. On an average night, if I went to bed around 11, and ate lunch at noon, that means I was leaving my body without proper nourishment for 13 hours! And by the time I ate, I would crave sugary, fatty foods. And lots of it.

So I started eating breakfast.

I have been thinking about breakfast a lot lately, and doing a bit of Google-research. I find study after study that says eating breakfast has no effect on health or weight loss. And study after study that says it does. So where is the truth in it?

I’ll put up a big disclaimer – I am not an expert. I did not conduct a study. But I can say this:

The studies that seemed to prove that eating breakfast didn’t matter did not control WHAT the eater ate for said breakfast. For example, both studies cited in this article, “Is Breakfast Overrated?” only seemed to control whether participants ate breakfast. No information is given about what was eaten.

In contrast, articles that were proponents of breakfast talk about high protein breakfasts, or low glycemic index breakfasts, and the effects on the participants. This website provides a list of studies addressing the importance of breakfast, if you’re interested: Breakfast Studies

I used to be a poptarts kind of breakfast girl. When I got into calorie counting, I nixed those, and breakfast all together as everything I considered to be a great breakfast ended up being most of the calories I would allot myself for the day. I don’t know what you eat for breakfast, but my typical breakfasts might have been:

– Poptarts on the go

– pancakes with syrup

– scrambled eggs with muffins

– eggs over easy with toast

Carb-laden goodness with a side of butter and sugar of some sort!

A Google image search for “typical American breakfast” pulls up pictures that have eggs, bacon, pancakes (with butter and syrup), a glass of juice, and a glass of coffee.

I did a poll on Facebook to see what some of my peers were eating, and some responses included:

– green smoothies

– oatmeal with peanut butter and/or banana

– chicken

– cereal

– a ham sandwich

– toast with peanut butter and banana

– just coffee

– And the closest response to the American “classic” : two eggs, an english muffin with butter and jam, and apple juice

The Case for a Better Breakfast

I used to fall asleep in class. I used to start my day with a sugar/carb laden breakfast, then a healthy-ish lunch, and I would still feel exhausted by 2. or I would skip breakfast and have a heavy lunch. Same result. Even if I had a “healthy-ish” breakfast – for a long time greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a squirt of agave was my go-to healthy breakfast!- i still ran out of energy and felt tired through out the day.

Then I was challenged to eat protein and VEGETABLES for breakfast. Gross, right? It really was, the first week. Once I got myself out of my American way of thinking about breakfast, it really changed how I approach my meals.

This website shows Breakfast Around the World, and I was surprised to see some veggies make a cameo on the breakfast plate!

Long story short, for the last few months I have been eating breakfast daily, and I typically eat a protein and a vegetable. I have more energy, feel better, and my weight has been creeping down. Just eating a good breakfast won’t guarantee weight loss, but it is a strong way to start the day — with the right nutrients so you have energy and can crack down on those cravings!

For ideas on how to add veggies into your morning meal, you can see what two of my favorite breakfast go-to’s are, as well as peruse Buzzfeed’s 29 Ways to eat More Vegetables at Breakfast.

Breakfast 1: Slowcooked Chicken with Snow Peas and BlueBerries 

IMG_2134

This breakfast eases the stress of morning food prep – I throw the chicken into the slow cooker the night before, and when morning comes around, I am awoken to the delightful scent of savory chicken. Throw it on the plate with some veggies and some blueberries, and you are all set!

Any slowcooker chicken recipe will work, but one of my favorites is below. It makes plenty for multiple meals, which is also a bonus!

1 can tomatoes

2 chicken breasts, 3 thighs

1/2 onion

1 tspn garlic powder

1/2 tspn onion powder

1 tspn italian seasoning

salt and pepper to preference

Toss in the slowcooker on low over night, and VOILA! Done!

Breakfast 2: Brussels Sprouts Power Bowl

IMG_2167

Okay, clearly my over-easy egg needs a little help. Gordon Ramsay?  Personal Lesson?  Just kidding! (but not really!) I’ll keep trying and if I get a better picture, I’ll edit this. :)

This delight is a little more work intensive, but it’s worth it!

2 ounces lean ground beef (or turkey!)

1/2 cup brussels sprouts, sliced into thin rounds (that’s the irritating part, but worth it!)

1 tspn coconut oil

1/4 onion

1/2 tspn paprika

1/2 tspn oregano

1/2 tspn red chili flakes

1/2 tspn garlic salt

1 egg

pepper to taste

Saute onions and all seasonings in coconut oil until tender. Add meat, cook until nearly done. add brussels sprouts. Saute 5 minutes. While sauteeing, cook an over easy egg. Serve egg on top. The yolk will taste so rich and delightful when it oozes out all over your breakfast!

Welcome back!

21 Jan

So I’ve been absent for a few months… during that time.. big things were happening!

I started to learn how to sew.

Jonathan started a new site for me.

I started a new weight loss venture (down nearly 15 lbs!)

I went on a trip to the Azores with Alysha to celebrate her 25!

Thanksgiving.

10 year high school reunion.

Christmas.

New Year’s.

annnnnnnd here we are!

So, I’m welcoming myself back to blogging.

I mentioned Jonathan started a new site for me. it’s not live yet, but I think it will be good when it is! I’ll let you know what it is as soon as it’s ready. :)

It’s going to be started with intention and organization so I can blog about the various things I love in a way that makes it easy to follow what I’m blogging about, and in a way that makes me be more organized with my thoughts and ideas.

It’s going to have travel posts and review.

DIY crafts and tutorials.

Recipes and food ideas.

Exercise and healthy living ideas.

and of course some personal anecdotes sprinkled in.

It’s gonna be GOOD!

The other big thing is that I opened an Etsy shop! It’s https://www.etsy.com/shop/SashAroundTheClock

I mentioned that I am learning to sew, and I am selling these SUPER soft, adorable lime green infinity scarves for Valentine’s Day.

Infinity Scarf - Super Soft Jersey Fabric- Green with Hearts - Great Valentine's Gift! - Shipping Included!

If you know someone who needs one, pick one up! I’m including free shipping since this is my first item!

Anyway, until the new site is live, I’ll be blogging here, so keep coming back. I am about to try to make slow cooker chicken and if it turns out, I’ll put a recipe out there tomorrow! :)

Existential Questions

15 Sep

I signed up for Blogging 101 on The Daily Post. I am hoping that this course will help me get back into blogging and have a little bit more focus both with this blog and with my writing style.

The first assignment is to write about who I am, and why I am here. I felt like I should share this background because I have had this blog for a long time, so a random post about myself and this blog might seem odd.

I really feel like I need one of those surveys that we used to do on our livejournals when I was a teenager that asks a whole bunch of random questions and you just answer them. Who am I? Why am I here?

I am Sasha. I have a lot of interests. I am a trier of things though master of few. I don’t have one THING that I do that I want to blog about. That’s why this site seems to lack focus, I think.

But I also think that that’s who I am. I am easily distracted and easily entertained. I love trying crafts but I rarely stick with any one thing long enough to get good at it.

I live in St. Louis, I work full time. I love my family, my friends, my pet rabbit.

I like to blog about DIY crafts, cooking, beauty, healthy living, travel, reviews of things I’ve tried, and any adventure that I encounter!  I want this blog to be a place where I can connect with friends and family who are far away, as well as anyone who is also interested in the things I like to blog about and can share ideas, advice, or even just try out my recipes or crafts.

This might have not been the most eloquent of posts, but I think it’s a start. :)

I am open to any feedback, and I hope this course helps me blog smarter instead of harder!

Little girl’s layer dress

8 Aug

20140808-220013-79213608.jpgFor my first “unsupervised” sewing project, I decided to tackle a little girl’s dress for my dear friend, Nancy’s, daughter, Charlotte. Doesn’t she make the SWEETEST model? :) In this picture, I hadn’t quite figured out the buttons yet. I actually literally just finished those, so I’ll be sending the dress on over tonight! 

I used the tutorial in this post: http://crazylittleprojects.com/2012/10/girls-tiered-ruffle-dress.html

but edited the size to fit the measurements for Charlotte. 

Once I finished, I realized that I wanted a more finished project, so I used a zigzag stitch to finish the inner seams.  I also had to figure out how to make button holes and put on buttons. It was pretty complex, but I enjoyed learning some new skills and feeling like I craftily put together a project largely on my own! 

20140808-220014-79214523.jpg20140808-220012-79212733.jpg

 

 

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Craftiness!

18 Jun 20140618-210247-75767501.jpg

I am taking a break from the clean eating posts after a quick week two weight update…
Sasha: 162
Jonathan: 178.4
Weight loss has slowed down and the clean eating is running closer to 75% over the last few days due to work functions. We are going to try to get back on track and add back exercise this week.

Now into the point if this post… Craftiness!! My mother in law has kindly lent me her sewing machine and I have been taking lessons. I have made two projects so far, a small tote bag and a pillow! I am also signed up for a three zipper bag and quilting 101 in July. Right now I know how to read a basic pattern and do basic stitches on the machine. If any of my friends see out there, I’d love recommendations for simple projects that I can take on to build confidence! 20140618-210139-75699871.jpg

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