Sunday, 31 July 2016

ATM Favorite Thing: Try the World

After eyeing the subscription service Try the World for quite some time, I finally decided to take the plunge on a promotional deal for a free box with purchase.

So, I paid the monthly subscription fee of $39 and anxiously waited for the mail.

A little over a week after my purchase my two Try the World boxes arrived.

(These boxes are quite sturdy and could easily be re-purposed as gift boxes or to hold craft supplies)

After opening the boxes, I was so happy to have purchased a subscription.

I received eight items in each box. Here's what came in my Brazil box:

Churraso spice rub, Churrasco bbq sauce and  Jabuticaba jam
I tend to collect jams to use in fillings. I'm also excited about cooking some meat flavored with the Churrasco spices. 

Brazil nut cookies, Brazil nut spread and Pao de Quito mix
I can't wait to make the cheese bread for my husband's Brazilian coworker. 

Guava paste
Cupcake filling anyone?

Not pictured: A box of Brazilian coffee

All of the items were actually from Brazil, not Americanized versions. I looked up the price of the guava paste on Amazon. I couldn't find the the same brand but packages this size ranged from $8-$10. Overall, I think this subscription is a really good value and I am excited to see what I will receive next. If you'd like to try the world yourself, use THIS LINK and you'll get the same promotion I did-a free box!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Book Review: How Do I Love Thee?- Jennifer Flanders

I was so excited when I laid eyes on this cool journal.

It is filled with illustrations (great for those stricken with the color craze!), bible verses and quotes about marriage. There's prompts and plenty of space to write and doodle to your hearts content. I love spending a little bit of extra time thinking about my marriage and reminiscing about our dating days, engagement and wedding day.The illustrations are very cute-like a classy version of the popular ecards!

Here's a peek inside:

I really like that the pages don't have to be completed in any particular order. Depending on my mood, I can choose to color and reflect on a verse, research a topic in the Bible, write out my thoughts about marriage and God's plan or spend some time on memory lane.

I think this would be a great gift, especially for a newlywed, but really for any married lady.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Stitchfix! What were you thinking?!

In June, I decided to order a second Stitchfix box. I rated my first box as an 8/10. If I'd had a coupon referral or a few things fit just a little better I would have kept all of the items.

My second box? I gave it a 3/10. It had two items in it that I actually liked and one of them I'd requested. I kept the dress I requested but the shorts that I thought were cute were too big and too pricey.

I feel like Stitchfix pulled a bait and switch. My first box was great, but the box where I had a referral coupon to spend was pretty terrible. I'd really wanted a second box filled with summer styles and colors. I went in financially prepared to buy the whole box- I had the buy all 5 items discount, plus a coupon and was so excited. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way.

Here's what they sent:

These shoes were over $100! I'm not a fan of snakeskin, or the bendy flats- there's just not enough support. Also, my stylist mentioned something else she send would pair well with a kitten heel but sent me these.

I'm not a pink fan, but I didn't check the "avoid" box for this color because I do wear it sometimes. However, this shirt hung so awkwardly on me. 

I like these shorts. In fact, I used to have a similar pair but they were too big and if I remember correctly over or around $50.

I checked avoid purple and to me this dress looks pink, purple and blue. It was insanely comfortable but not very flattering. Also, I thought the print made it look like pajamas.

I kept this dress and I love it. But, I requested it so I already knew that I would like the print and cut, it was just a matter of fit and price.  My heads cut out in this picture because it had just finished storming and my head was soaked from the rain!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Weight Loss Goals + a Review

During the two years that I spent in Korea, I lost somewhere around 10-15 pounds. I was eating smaller portions and exercising 3-5 times a week, in addition to walking everywhere I wanted to go. My abs were gaining definition, my thighs slimmed down and I felt very confident about my strength and my body. I did things like participate in a pickup basketball game because I could actually run around without getting out of breath in the first five minutes.

Fast forward a bit. I've been home 10 months and I've gained back all of the weight plus some. Running on the treadmill feels like a chore but I have mixed feelings about running outside, mostly its a mix of anxiety about safety and a lack of confidence. Some have said that I look like a praying mantis when I run. When I was in Korea, I didn't care what people thought, for the most part I was ignored. Now, I'm worried about catcalls or pointing and laughing. Thanks, America.

I hate this.

Anyway, when I was in Korea and back when I lived in PA I participated in a challenge inspired by Six Sisters Stuff and that worked well to inspire and motivate me. If you're looking for accountability I would definitely suggest starting a challenge with your friends and family. 

The success I had with the challenge made me very excited to try one of Six Sisters Strong fitness programs. I was lucky enough to be gifted with a complimentary copy of the 4 Week Home Workout Program and Menu Plan in exchange for a review.

I really enjoyed both the exercise and menu parts of the plan. The exercise plan consists of different interval workouts combined with cardio. I think the combination is very important. I didn't lost much weight in Korea until I started running. The interval exercises keeps me focused on intensity and prevents my mind from wandering like it does when I go to the gym alone.

The plan offers two choices of meal plans. I followed the simpler plan simply because it was all my schedule allowed at the time. I'm getting ready to start the plan again and plan on trying the more in depth eating plan this go around. I found the simple eating plan to be varied and sufficient. I certainly didn't go hungry

During my first two weeks I lost 6 pounds!

And then I went on vacation!

Which is why I'm about to start the plan over. I highly recommend purchasing a plan. This plan was perfect for me because the exercises were challenging but not difficult. I mean that I worked up a sweat and had sore muscles but that the moves don't require much skill to execute. Perfect for the clumsy.  Now, this program worked for me but it does take dedication to to do the full workout and to stick with it. But it is worth it! Also, I think (vacation days notwithstanding) the eating plan is fairly easy to adapt to your daily life once you have hit your weight loss goal. You can just fit your favorite recipes into the recommended rations and serving sizes once you get to the point where you are just trying to maintain. 

If you need extra accountability, they also offer a personalized plan with check ins from a coach. 

What kind of workouts work best for you? Any weight loss tips?

Monday, 4 July 2016

Pantry Challenge!

Merissa from Little House Living has challenged her readers to eat down their pantries and freezers. This challenge came at the perfect time for me as I have just under 2 weeks until my next big grocery shopping trip and my hubby has challenged me to spend as little as possible over the next two weeks.

Tonight  I did a quick freezer and pantry inventory and then made a list of meals that I think I can make completely out of the times in my fridge, freeze and pantry.


I have a gallon bag full of scones in the freezer. These are either from Jessica Fisher or Alana Chernila, 


(1) grilled ham and cheese
(3) cinnamon apple oatmeal
(1-2) Tuna salad on Triscuits


(3-4) Curry porkchops with rice and broccoli
(2) Turkey Pasta Salad
(1) Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich
(2) Turkey, black bean and tomato bowl
(1) bacon, egg and grits or bacon, egg and toast
(3-4) HomemadeTuna Helper
(4-5) Quiche (either veggie or leftover turkey/bacon with onions and bell pepper)

Raisins/Raisins with PB
Hot chocolate or chocolate milk

If my leftovers don't give me enough lunches once my "lunch menu" is finished I will allow a purchase of deli meat and cheese to go with the loaves of bread in my freezer.

I'm also planning on tidying up my freezer by making a batch of chicken broth and vegetable broth out of the assorted bags of bones and veggies hiding out in my freezer.

What are your favorite "go to" pantry meals? Also, have you ever done a challenge like this? How did it go? Any tips?