Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pretty Proud of myself

I just sent this letter to my state senate representative I am pretty excited right about now

Dear Mr. Phil Bartlett,
My name is Lauren Radigan and I am emailing you today with a growing concern about our state’s health and safety. I have lived in Scarborough, Maine since the age of 12 and am now a 25 year old resident. Nine months ago I gave birth to my first daughter Mariah Rose Cowie. When I first gave birth I was asked to join several mom groups on Facebook. the mothers of one group believe in attachment parenting, organic foods and products, babywearing, and most importantly, and to my great surprise, not vaccinating their children.
                Before I became a mother I had no idea that parents were actually choosing to NOT vaccinate their children. When I learned there were many mothers making this decision I became intrigued and decided to do some research on my own.  What I found terrified me, due to these mothers who refuse to vaccinate, diseases that were once completely eradicated in America have come back. The measles for example which was believed to have been eradicated in the year 2000 has made a huge comeback. In the year 2011 there were 222 cases reported, and from January 1st to August 24th of this year there have already been 159 cases. If this trend continues it is expected that 2013 will have the highest rate of measles in 17 years. As a mother whose child is currently too young to receive the measles vaccination this absolutely petrifies me, because if my daughter is infected she will have to be hospitalized and could possibly die.
                I am well aware that we are not able to force everyone to vaccinate their children; however, there is still something we can do. The state of Maine is one of only 19 states that allow for philosophical vaccination exemptions, meaning that a parent can submit an exemption to send their child to public school with a sole reasoning that they chose not to vaccinate based on personal belief. In states that allow these the amount of exemptions between 1991 to 2004 have increased from .99% to 2.54% compared to states that don’t allow whose rates only increased from .98% to 1.48%. Out of the 159 cases of measles reported in the US so far a whopping 79% were people who were not vaccinated for philosophical reasons.
                What I would like to see changed in the state of Maine is the ability to receive a philosophical exemption for vaccinations. I believe that if we do not allow this exemption it would greatly reduce the amount of unvaccinated children in the state of Maine therefore greatly reducing the risk of measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases spreading in our state. My greatest fear is that if we don’t do something now that more mothers will refuse to vaccinate and we could see diseases such as small pox, yellow fever, and polio make an appearance again in the United States.I know that you are very busy, but I would greatly appreciate any help you could offer so that I could make a change here in the beautiful state of Maine before this issue becomes too large.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Transformation Tuesday

As most of you may new on August 24th I competed in my first 5k. I can not even begin to explain the sense of accomplishment that rushed over me when I first ran 3 miles with out stopping. To begin let me explain, in Middle School gym I was always the last to finish the mile, not even that, but I couldn't even run the whole thing. In High School I could maybe go a mile and a half and that was even after I lost all the weight. When I gave birth to my child I decided that I was going to teach myself to run. I looked up the couch to 5k plan and began my first attempt walking for 2 minutes and running for 1 and a half. I felt so pathetic I was completely out of breath and dying for the stop watch to reach 1.30.

I ran every once in a while, but it was so difficult I started finding other ways to work out. Three months later I decided to push myself with a new running routine walking five minutes running five minutes walking four running four so on until I got to one. It was unbelievably difficult the first couple of days, but I kept pushing. My friend Abby had me sign up for a 5k with her three months from then. I kept running and eventually fell in love with it. The views from my neighborhood, the sound of the birds, the wind blowing on my face, everything was beautiful. Three months later, a week before the 5k, I ran my first 3 miles with out stopping. Let me tell you I almost cried I was so excited. I even took a photo to commemorate the experience.

Running in the 5k was such a blast it definitely helped that it was one of the coolest 5k's I've heard of dressing up in ridiculous clothing while getting color cornstarch thrown at you, so much fun.
After the race I was so pumped.

Stoked to be crossing the finish line

Clearly couldn't stop smiling.

Since it is transformation Tuesday I wanted to update you all on my progress. I'm going to compare my new pics with the original one. While I haven't lost much weight since the last time I updated you all it's clear that I have gained muscle tone and I couldn't be happier about that. Hard work most certainly pays off.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wonder Woman

My very best friend posted this article by Glamour and I can't believe how true it is. Women these days are expected to be perfect housewives, perfect mothers, perfect feminists, perfect models, and perfect employees. Well, let's be real that's just not all possible.  When you become a mother you some how find time and motivation that never existed before, but no matter how hard you try and push yourself there is just not enough time in the day to be perfect at everything. The most important part is to not let your flaws make you feel like you are not wonder woman. I feel like to give you an example I should explain a day in my life.

I wake up before the crack of dawn at 4:45 am  to either do my Insanity work out or go on my run. When I'm done I start coffee, make my daughter a bottle, wake up her and my fiancee, then quickly head to the kitchen to make breakfast and pack lunch. When we have all eaten I run downstairs, get dressed, put my makeup on, and do my hair. I then play with my daughter until it's time to pack her and myself into my tiny two door eclipse. I take an hour long commute dropping her off to daycare and driving myself to work. I work 8 long hard hours selling as much as I can to afford my wedding/new house then go home.  When home I cook dinner, and I'm not talking about from the freeze pre-made dinners, I'm talking about completely from scratch, home made dinner. If it's Jack's turn to cook, I go on a run or complete another work out of some sort. I pick up after dinner, spend more time with my daughter, put her to bed, lay down, watch TV for a half hour or so then go fast asleep.

Seeing it written and thinking about all I do makes me think, wow, I really am superwoman; but then I lift my head take a look at where I am and realize, I'm living in my parents basement and currently it's a mess. I take a look at the scale and see it hasn't changed in several days and get even more depressed. But you know what that's okay, because did you see what I accomplished today? I managed to make a completely homemade meal, work all day, work out, and still have time to play with my daughter. Am I perfect? No, but will I ever be....maybe one day?.....but realistically....no, not ever and no one ever will be.

I like this article, because it really makes you think about what you have accomplished and not what you think you should have.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wedding Venue

So I am a blogging failure and haven't posted in what has it been three weeks? Sheesh, my life has clearly been consumed by wedding planning. Good news is we have finally chosen a wedding venue and we were so lucky to have found it. It's actually quite a funny story; Jack and I had chosen the venue, we were going to go with The Union Bluff Meeting House in York, Maine. The ballroom was stunning, it was right in the beach, and it was an all inclusive venue. I fell in love with it, but just as I had emailed the woman saying I was going to email her with a date so she could send me a contract, I suddenly hated it. I started panicking, because I knew there were no other venues in Maine in our price range. I decided to check back on Theknot.com and all of the sudden there it was, this beautiful barn venue with elegant chandeliers, white walls, and a huge farmhouse for my bridesmaids and I to stay. I had no idea how I had missed this before, it was exactly what I was looking for, but couldn't find. Turns out the place was only just renovated in December and was only put on the knot a couple months ago. I called and set up a tour immediately, I checked available dates on Friday and we chose May 25th. We went and toured the place on Saturday and instantly fell in love, we called the owners that afternoon to book and the 25th was already gone, so we decided to go with the 17th. There were literally only two weekends left from the months of April to October and we got the second to last one. The last one was booked the next weekend.

The Hardy Farm Check it out!

Tell me that's not the most beautiful and perfect barn you've ever seen?

Another awesome thing about this venue is they have a separate lodge for the groomsmen. That's just going to look awesome for pictures. 

They get their own bar and everything!

The only downside of this venue is that it is completely blank slate which means that I have to find every single caterer and every single detail. Unfortunately, the barn isn't large enough to sit the amount of guests I want for a reception dinner and dancing so I have to get a separate tent for dinner, which is fine. My entire wedding is going to basically be DIY so I'm so excited to share the upcoming projects with all of you! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Mother's love

In my post yesterday you all read how my life hasn't seen any drastic changes since the birth of my child. That does NOT mean that I haven't seen any changes. In a way you could say that every single part of my life has changed, but certainly not drastically. So for those of you who are thinking of having a baby in the near future here are a few of the changes that I've experienced since Mariah was born.

  • Before Mariah was born Jack and I spent most nights cuddled on the couch with a bottle of wine and a movie. Now we spend most nights cuddled on the couch with a glass of wine (if we're in the mood), a movie, a baby, and a baby bottle. There's also several singing toys that like to join us as well. 
  • So long to being on time or cooking a meal that isn't burnt. Mariah has a tendency to instantly need something as soon as it's time to walk out the door or just as dinner is ready to be taken out of the oven.
  • We can no longer travel to the store or go shopping with out an entire car filled with various things. Even so we are always missing the one thing Mariah wants which means we have to stop whatever we are doing go back into the car and drive home to get whatever she needs.
  • Instead of listening to the radio in the car we get to listen to the sweet sounds of baby talk or the wonderful cries of baby screaming her lungs out, because Miss Mariah does not enjoy car rides.
  • 7:30am is considered sleeping in
  • Nap time is one of the most treasured things in my life. 9 times out of 10 I'd rather nap than anything else.
  • Getting to do anything is 10 times more exciting than it used to be. When Jack and I go out to dinner it's similar to the feeling you'd get if you just won a free trip to Disney World.
  • Spit up has become just another accessory to my outfit.
  • My purse currently is filled with a pair of baby shoes, a pacifier, and a diaper.
  • There's no level of stress that isn't instantly relieved at the end of the day by my sweet baby's smile.
  • Leaving the house is far more dreadful than before and I avoid it like the plague.
  • Grocery shopping now takes 1.5-2 hours
  • Free time no longer exists
  • People no longer care about you when you walk in the room which is absolutely fine, because it's so amazing watching people dote all over your baby.
  • All our extra money is now spent on diapers, formula, and baby clothes lots and lots of baby clothes. Buying baby clothes has actually become quite an addiction.
  • The biggest change is you immediately are able to love like you never have in your life. A mother's love is unlike any other love in the world and it is by far the greatest feeling I have ever felt.
So yes, to say there have been changes in my life since Mariah has been born would be an understatement. However, I guess it would depend on the person to determine whether or not these changes would be considered drastic. Maybe they are drastic and I just don't see them that way; everything I do now just has an additional step. Life now has so much more meaning and is so much more entertaining. Who cares if the most exciting thing Jack and I do is watch a movie without reading the description. Becoming a mom is the absolute most best thing that has ever happened to me and is equivalent to what I imagine Heaven is like.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Being a mom

A while back I read a post or a quote saying "if your life hasn't drastically changed since becoming a parent you are doing something wrong." For awhile this quote haunted me, because frankly Jack and my life has not changed drastically since having Mariah. I thought that I was a bad parent and that I was doing something wrong. Then I thought, wait a minute who is this quote to tell me whether or not I'm a good parent? Not only that, but if your life drastically changes after having a child wouldn't that mean that you were not necessarily ready for a child? Either way I don't think it's very fair to judge what makes any one a good parent or a bad parent. Mariah is a very happy and healthy baby girl who sleeps through the night and rarely cries, which could only mean I must be doing something right, right?

My whole point is that every body is so quick to judge another's parenting styles when instead we should really be embracing them. There is no such thing as a perfect parent and just because you chose to raise your child differently does not mean you are doing anything wrong. The only bad parenting style are the ones that don't exist. I can't even tell you how many times I've seen parents neglect their kids or chose drugs instead. That my friends is bad parenting, when you are trying to sell your food stamps for heroin money, you are NOT a good parent. If you love your child and would do anything for them chances are you are an amazing parent and don't let any one, any quote, or any book tell you otherwise. Only YOU can decide what is best for your child.

These are just too adorable I had to share.

Monday, June 24, 2013

I want to be a part of it New York, New York

So I'm pretty excited at how well my diet plan is working, considering it's not a real "diet." As long as I stick to it and don't get off track (which I some how do every weekend) I lose 5oz to a pound every day. What I do is very simple; I eat 4-5 small meals a day, I stay away from fried foods, sugar, sodas, and white bread. I work out for a minimum of 30 minutes a day burning anywhere between 400-1000 calories and I drink about 90 oz of water. See? not that hard, I still get to eat most of the foods I love and frankly I truly enjoy my morning workouts.

In other news my laptop died this weekend and I suddenly realized how much I truly depended on my meal planning and budget printables. I've been oh so very slowly losing my mind these past few days. I'm not sure when to pay bills, how much I should have in the bank, how much I should  be saving, I am completely clueless. Not a great start to making sure we have enough in the bank for our New York trip. Oh wait did I not mention that? Yes Jack and I will be going to New York City for July 4th, all expenses paid. That's right hotel is free, travel is free, and my boss is giving me a little spending money. We will be staying right in Chelsea at the Eventi hotel and on July 4th Allstate is hosting a huge BBQ at Hudson terrace with free food and an OPEN bar.

Eventi Hotel

I am so beyond excited for this trip Jack and I so desperately need a vacation, plus I realized last night that this will be the first vacation that I've taken since I've turned 21 where I will be able to drink.

I've been to New York City more than enough times so I really don't have too much interest in seeing all the normal touristy destination sights, but I did make a list of things I must do while I'm there.

  • Must get a traditional New York slice of Pizza
  • Must eat chinese food
  • Eat at an italian restaurant
  • Shop at Macy's
  • Go to a rooftop bar
  • Go see Cinderella on Broadway (because it's on Broadway now, did any one else know that? because I lost my mind when I found out)

I am also completely aware that half of my musts involve eating and you know what I am quite okay with that.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Meal Theme Days!

Meal Planning has recently become quite a chore for me. Cooking for 5 is much harder than cooking for 2; and it's been mentioned more than once by my family that I cook way too much chicken. I like chicken what can I say. With our grocery bill continuing to grow I finally broke down and bought a Sam's Club card which has been amazing, I saved $30 last week by shopping there, but it also means I need to add one more grocery store to my long trip and one more calculation to find where I can get products cheapest. These factors a long with our new dietary restrictions, such as no refined carbs, has made what was once a 30 minute process a 2 hour long process. If you ask me that's way too much time for meal planning, but you know what there are a lot of recipes on pinterest.

I saw online somewhere doing theme nights for food making it easier to plan what meals you want to cook when. This way when you are looking at a huge inventory of recipes you are narrowing it down to say just casseroles or just chicken dishes. I tried doing this last week and love it. This new process made my meal planning so much quicker by making it easier to choose what meals I wanted to cook that week. It still took me a good hour, but hey it's better than two! Here's a preview of what our weekly meals are.

Try it, it's super fun, even if you only do it for a week. Share with me any ideas you may have for a theme day!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Meal Planner Printout

So I have literally been trying to figure this out for the past week. I'm really trying to find a way to easily share all my forms, planning tools etc with you for the least amount of money possible. I was able to figure it out once before and can't remember how I did it. I was able to get this one together and it's available until June 24th. I wish it was available permanently, but unfortunately I can't figure out how to do that yet. If it is past June 24th and you still want to print it out email me or comment and I'd be more than happy to send you the link.

Here is a blank copy of the meal/workout planner I've created for myself. Just click on the link below and download the copy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My progress

So as you all know I was feeling really down about my lack of progress losing weight. I decided last night after I made my workout journal that I would post my dreaded before picture. I have been putting this off since I took the picture, because I hated the way I looked so much and was just too embarrassed. I'm still pretty horrified to post these, but I think it's really important. I took these a couple months ago when I was about 10 lbs heavier than I am now.

You can see where I still have the large stomach from being pregnant, not attractive in any way. I decided today to take a current "progress" picture. I was shocked at what I found I look completely different and even though I'm only 10lbs lighter it looks (I think) like I lost a lot more than that.

This made me feel so good about myself like I was actually getting there. Below I put each photo side by side.

I feel like my arms haven't changed at all, but I'm still working on those. These pictures brought me so much joy and motivation. I absolutely can't wait to show you all the next set of pictures in a month!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Workout journal

So yesterday I was feeling pretty down about my lack of progress losing weight. After some encouraging words from a friend I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and figure out a better way to keep on track. I use Myfitnesspal religously as you all know, but I felt like I needed more. I track all my calories eaten and burned online all through the work week, but then Friday hits and I completely stop. Not only do I stop tracking my calorie intake, but I start taking in a lot of extra calories and not doing anything to burn them off. I tallied up what I ate on Sunday, 2,800 calories, um that is not okay. My daily goal is supposed to be 1,500 so on the weekends I was eating 1,000-1,500 more than my goal. So it's pretty obvious why I would lose weight all week then gain it back on the weekends. 

Well folks I am not going to let this happen anymore, I am done with being overweight and done with making excuses. I have totally changed the way I am doing things. First thing is I decided I needed to set smaller goals instead of saying "I want to lose 65lbs by next year" I broke it down more. I would like to lose 40lbs by next November where I will be attending a wedding in Texas. To accomplish this goal I will need to lose 8lbs a month or 2lbs a week. Instead of focusing on that 40lbs that needs to be gone I'm focusing on the 2lbs I need to lose this week. When I was choosing to pay attention to the 40lbs I would put changing my habits off "oh I'll make sure my diet starts tomorrow" tomorrow turns into a week then into a month. Choosing to keep my eyes on the 2lbs I need to loose this week makes it easier to achieve my goal. Not only is it harder to put off my diet, but it is also more encouraging when you are reaching a goal every week. 

To make sure I stay on track I have created a workout journal. This is the beginning to my health and fitness binder I'm going to be starting soon. I am in love with it, it's a great way to keep me on track, see my goals coming to life, and see if I'm slacking. I am so excited to keep using it and I'm hoping this helps me big time. 

I hope you guys love this as much as I do. Feel free to print this off and share it with friends!

Monday, June 3, 2013


I have been a horrible blogger recently and have not made a post in over a week! I have been working on a whole mess of things to share with you all. Some of these things include a meal planner, a life binder, a recipe binder, a workout binder, and a planner. I'm super excited about everything, but unfortunately I've been so busy I haven't been able to do much. I've been currently trying to figure out the best way to use my coupons and create a grocery shopping list. I am in the process of trying several different methods and when I find the best one I'll share it with you all!

I have also been on an emotional landslide with my my weight issues I've pretty much plateaued on the scale and it's making me super depressed. I cut out all white breads and soda and most sugars, I work out 4-5 times a week and it's not seeming to make a huge difference. Now that the summer heat is here being overweight is the last thing I want to be.

It has also been a very stressful time in my life trying to plan a wedding, save up for our first house, and lose 60lbs all in the next year. Why am I trying to do this all at once? I'm pretty sure I'm crazy. I'm going to try and be much better about posting in the future! So keep your eye out for these exciting things.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Product Review!

As I was brushing my fingers through my hair this morning and treasuring the silkiness I realized I hadn't done a product review on my blog in quite some time. Well I'm sure you all remember these old gems? Who could forget them and their amazing commercials? Well guys if you haven't heard they're back!

As soon as I heard they were re releasing them I rushed to the store and bought them. Oh my word people I don't know if I just didn't notice as a child, but I have never used shampoo that makes my hair feel so silky smooth. When I was younger I always had super soft hair, because I never put product in it, never dyed it, and only blow dried it a couple times a week. As I got older and started dying it blonde and curling it and so on my hair just has felt dry and unhealthy. Not anymore! This stuff is amazing I can't stop feeling my hair. Not only that, but it smells so darn good. My recommendation is to drop everything you are doing and go out and purchase them immediately. You won't regret it I promise.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tone it up!

Okay guys I am so excited to share with you my personal Tone it up Plan. I am loving the 5 small meals a day plus two workouts, it has been amazing. PLUS I have found a new love for running. Since as long as I can remember I've hated running, I dreaded the mile run in school. I've started doing the intervals I talked about here everyday and I am addicted. I love all the beautiful views in my neighborhood it's like going on a scenic nature trail every morning. Today I even saw a porcupine run across the road in front of me.

 How can you not love this? I try and go a different route everyday to keep things new and interesting. It helps that I live in one of the most beautiful states in the country possibly the world.

One of the most important things I find about my runs is keeping upbeat music. I researched the best running music and downloaded the songs I liked. A lot of it is dance music, techno music, and old school rock n' roll. Make sure you have a lot so that you don't get bored with it.

So here is my weekly meal plan/workout plan. I know it's a little strange because I start from a Thursday, but I do all my grocery shopping on Friday mornings so it's easier this way.

I love it! I've had to basically readjust everything since moving back in with my parents, because now I'm shopping for 5 people instead of just 2, it makes things a lot more difficult. I also have a new grocery list set up that I started, because I noticed that I would plan our meals for the week, but have to go back to the grocery store 2 or 3 times because I'd run out of food so quick. Now I'm prepared and once I have it finalized I'll share it with you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wedding Binder

I had originally wanted to share with you my wedding spreadsheets today, but I don't have them printed out or organized yet so I decided to share with you my binder instead. I am head over heels in love with this thing and am having so much fun putting it together. It's not quite done yet I still need to get a couple more separators, but it's looking amazing.

Even with all the online planning and inspiration tools available these days I still wanted to create a binder, because I felt like it was easier to have everything in one place printed out. I didn't like the fact that my inspiration was on one page while my budget, checklists, and possible vendors were on others it was getting too confusing.  I searched online for a printable planner and found one on Etsy for $12. (here is the link for those who are interested Printable wedding planner) There are tons available online for different prices this is just the one I picked out.

As a heads up this is just a simple introduction to the binder. Each section is so detailed I will most likely do a separate entry for each. I have literally become obsessed with wedding planning and am thinking about turning it into a career.

I went to target and searched for a cute binder, however, all the ones I liked were not big enough in the slightest so I settled on a teal Avery one that's 11/2 inches thick I'm hoping this is big enough. Because I couldn't find a cute binder,  I decided to instead purchase some cute dividers. I fell in love with these ones the patterns and colors were just too adorable.

Only 5 came in a package so I purchased 2, but I'm going to have to go back and purchase 1 or 2 more. I wanted to have a lot of different sections so that I could focus on one small piece at a time There are just too many details going on in a wedding to try and look at it from the big picture. My categories are as follows:

1) Budget
2) Bridal Party; attire, gifts, etc.
3) Guest; invitations, escort cards, table numbers, favors
4) Food and Drinks
5) Cake
6) Flowers
7) Photography
8) Ceremony
9) Reception
10) Attire
11) Beauty
12) Schedule
13) Registry
14) Bachelorette Party
15) Honeymoon

In the very front of the binder I also have my timeline. I wanted to keep it up front so that it was easily accessible and I could make sure I was staying on track.

In each section I have inspiration pages of images that I have cut out of magazines and taped them onto blank paper. I also have note pages where I describe in detail exactly what I want in each section my "vision" for that topic.

I just also wanted to share with you this simple budget that describes what percentage of your budget should go to each part of your wedding. While this has helped me get an idea I definitely don't follow it to a T and neither should you as every bride is different and certain aspects of the wedding will be more important to you than others. For example I'd rather take money out of photography and cake and put it into the reception and dress where as others may want an amazing cake and don't care much about their dress.

I'm so excited not just for this wedding, but all the organization plans I have planning this wedding and I can't wait to share them all with you!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Getting in Wedding Day shape

Yesterday marked my very first day of my wedding day diet. I am both looking forward to it and dreading it as I am completely cutting out refined carbs and seriously cutting down on sugar; removing entirely sweets and sodas. I am also eliminating almost all processed foods from my diet and eating only fresh made from scratch foods. I'm leaving in products I don't know how to make on my own such as soy sauce, hoisin sauce, mustard, etc. Also a lovely blogger I follow, Kelly from Eat Yourself Skinny, introduced me to Karina and Katrina from Tone It Up who are two beautiful girls that have a wonderful diet plan and fun exercises. I haven't signed up for their program as it's $150, but I am planning on it in the future. Right now I'm simply following their meal plan which includes 5 small meals a day, a morning workout, and an evening workout.

To give you an example of what my typical day will look like, here is today's Plan:

Meal 1: Whole wheat toast with 1 tbls of cream cheese

Workout 1: 30 minute run - Started with 5 minutes of walking followed by 5 minutes of running then 4 min walking 4 min of running and I continue this pattern until I get down to 1.

Meal 2: 2 hard boiled eggs (I eat only the whites as I don't like the yolks when they are hardboiled)

Meal 3: Sandwich on 2 slices of whole wheat bread with roasted chicken, 1 tbls cream cheese, 1 slice of provolone, red peppers, cucumbers, spinach, onions, tomatoes, and sprouts.

Meal 4: Cucumbers and carrots dipped in my homemade hummus

Meal 5: Grilled balsamic bruchetta chicken with avocados (I'll post this recipe another day)

Workout 2: I chose a 30 minute at home workout from my pinterest board

I also want to point out that for every hour I work I spend 5 minutes exercising during the day. So while I'm at work instead of taking a break I just get up every hour and work out for 5 minutes this gives me another 40 minutes of working out and burns an extra 400 calories.

All my meals total to around 1500-1600 calories and I burn about 900 calories. I think it's a great start and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Wedding Planning

I've realized I have a new calling in life, wedding planning. Ever since Jack and I got officially engaged I have not been able to stop it's like I'm addicted. I just have so many ideas and want to do so much, but with a budget that's smaller than the national average it's a little tough. I've also realized I am extremely picky when it comes to even the littlest details. I think I have browsed over 100 venues literally and have kicked ones out, because I don't like their chairs or the doorway or the carpet, it's bad people real bad. But Hey you only get married once so it should be perfect although I'm quite aware that if it doesn't end up absolutely perfect (which I know it won't) that I need to try and not let it bother me to the point where my special day is ruined. 

I haven't posted in over a week, I know, I'm sorry but truth be told I've been spending the past two weeks moving into my parents basement and creating wedding organization projects to share with you all! I'm really excited. So far I have created a guest list, a wedding binder, and bridesmaid "invitations". The guest list and wedding binder need some final touches and I haven't received or sent out the "invitations" so I can't show them to you yet. 

I also think I have chosen my wedding venue and could not be more excited, it's perfect, except for the carpet I could really go with a different carpet but what can you do. It's affordable, it has a beautiful ballroom and a beautiful view what more could you ask for?

I am still struggling with a theme/color palette. I do know that light pink/blush will be included along with peonies and roses. I am really looking forward to sharing all my wedding planning secrets with you all and can't wait for the blog entries to come!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Engagement Story

Due to high demand I will post the story a day early! Jack apparently had the whole thing planned for awhile and kept it a huge secret (obviously). Without me knowing he invited several of my friends out on Friday night to celebrate my birthday dinner. I'll be honest I slightly suspected something since he was being so incredibly secretive and for the first time wasn't asking me what I wanted for my birthday. On Friday morning he had my mom take Miss Mariah for the night and told me to make sure I was ready to leave at 3pm. He told me he had rented a hotel for the evening. I texted my sister assuming I would be able to get her to spill the beans about what was going on that night, but to my surprise she had no idea. She said she was going to be painting all evening and that she hadn't heard of anything. She actually got pretty upset at the idea that he might propose and she wouldn't be there. I anxiously awaited for 3pm to arrive and when it did Jack picked me up and brought me to our hotel suite. I rushed into the room expecting there to be roses laid out and the ring to be on the bed, but to my surprise nothing. At this point I had kind of given up hope even more so when we were getting ready to leave and I filled his pockets with everything imaginable, there was no room for a ring in those pockets.

He had a Cadillac come pick us up and still didn't tell me where we were going. We got in the car and I was pretty nervous for some reason. He told the limo driver to take us to the Dry Dock in Portland. I knew that he wasn't going to propose because that restaurant had no special meaning to us. The car stopped and to my surprise my sister was standing outside a long with my good friend Abigail (who last said to me have fun tonight and see you on Monday) and my long time friend Kate Taber. The driver opened my door and I rushed out to meet my friends as I got onto the sidewalk Jack got out of the car grabbed my hand, turned me around, and got down on one knee. I lost my mind I'm not absolutely positive what he said, because I could hardly focus on what was happening, but I know it was something a long the lines of "I should have done this a long time ago" When he pulled out the ring I dropped to the ground.

The reason he chose the Dry Dock is because he apparently timed it so that we would arrive exactly on the dock at sunset and he could propose ocean side as the sun was setting. It was a little hazy out so we missed it, but it wouldn't have mattered I didn't see anything that was going on around me.

We walked into the restaurant and every one cheered for us. It was just what I wanted it to be. I also want to send out a special thanks to Abby, Kate, and my sister for being so good at keeping the surprise and being there for the big moment!

We're Engaged!

Happy Happy news Jack Cowie and I are officially engaged and now I can officially start referring to him as my fiancee. On Friday April 19th Jack got down on one knee on the dock in Portland and popped the big question. The ring is spectacular and I can't stop staring at it. I'm so excited to start planning my wedding and  get all my "Future Mrs. Cowie" gear together. So many exciting things to come in the near future; engagement party, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and of course the big day!

I can't even tell you how excited I am to blog about all my wedding day plans as I plan on doing most of this on my own. I've been researching so many different venues all over New England and to be honest none have given me exactly what I want, or they have except it would be a $20,000 plus wedding. Frankly I'm going to try and plan this whole thing for under $10,000. At the moment it seems impossible, but I am determined.

I have a bunch of ideas for the wedding itself in terms of decor, however, the location I'm still unsure about. I do know that I plan on renting out a very large house in either Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or the Adirondacks and hosting the wedding outdoors at the property. I've e-mailed over 60 properties since Sunday and have received very few responses back saying they would allow a wedding, but I am determined to find one.

I still can't get over the excitement and am thrilled to be able to share every last detail with all of you!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Reduced fat feta foldovers

This is a quick recipe that I came up with a while back for a play date I went to. These were so yummy and addicting, the father that was there ate every last one, Jack was sad I was taking them because he wanted to eat them all, and even those that thought they wouldn't enjoy them gobbled them up. I would definitely suggest making these for your next get together, they weren't that difficult either.


  • Pastry sheets
  • Fat free ricotta cheese
  • sauteed garlic
  • onion powder
  • spinach
  • garlic powder
  • feta cheese
  • parmesan cheese
Per usual I didn't measure anything out as I wasn't planning on making an entry on these, but they came out so yummy I had to. Mix all these ingredients together in a bowl and add a little salt too. Use as much of each ingredient as you think you would like. I looove garlic and feta so I put in a little extra of both. You may want to consider using reduced fat ricotta instead of fat free as it was a teensy bit bland, however, the end result was heavenly so it was fine. 

The pastry sheets you can find in the freezer section at your grocery stor.  I used two sheets and cut each one into four then cut along the fold over lines to make little squares. Wet the edges with a little bit of water, scoop a small spoonful of the filling in the middle, then pull the corners of the square together to make a tip at the top. Place them on a baking dish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then let them bake for about 10-15 minutes. Check on them frequently as I let mine cook about a minute too long and they burst open, they were still yummy, but didn't look as pretty as I wanted them too.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I heard this song on my Pandora station today at work and I fell in love. I think every one should live this way. Smile by Nat King Cole:

"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
smile and maybe tomorrow
you'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
hide every trace of sadness
although a tear may be ever so near
smile what's the use of crying?
you'll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile"

Life is always what you make of it. Frown and you'll be sad smile and you'll be happy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dijon Chicken

Another successful Pintrest meal! Normally when I make chicken I have to either add breadcrumbs, cheese, or vegetables to eat it with, but this chicken was so delicious with just the sauce. I was actually surprised, it was the first time I have ever liked plain chicken. I found the recipe on Pinterest twice on two different bloggers sites and finally decided that I had to try it. The absolute best part about this chicken is there are only 240 calories in each piece. This was super easy to make great for nights where you don't have time to do a lot of prep.

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 4 thin sliced chicken breast
  • Dijon mustard 1/2 cup (we actually did 1/4 cup of dijon and 1/4 cup of honey)
  • Maple syrup 1/4 cup
  • rice vinegar 1tbls
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary 
  • salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees, put the chicken breast in a baking dish and pour the mixture on top. Put in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. After about 20 mix the chicken a little bit so the tops of the chicken get covered in sauce.

We served it with sliced baked potato chips and asparagus. It was finger licking good. Definitely recommend trying this as soon as possible. Super easy, super delicious, and low in calories.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet and Sour chicken with fried rice

Okay seriously people this is my new favorite Chinese chicken recipe. I saw it on Pinterest and had to make it. I of course added a few things, but it is perfect. The fried rice I make is also better than any other take out fried rice I've had. Jack and I have made this twice this past week and are making it again tomorrow evening it's that good. Best part is you can easily make this for just two people.

Sweet and sour chicken Ingredients: (makes a little over 2 servings)

  • 2 boneless chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup of corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs chili paste

Step 1: After cutting the chicken into small pieces put it into a strainer. Crack one egg over the chicken and pour on a good amount of the cornstarch. Mix it all together with your hands.

Step 2: Pan fry the chicken with a little bit of oil and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. You don't want the chicken to cook all the way through just enough so it's browned.

Step 3: While the chicken is pan frying mix together the ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce.

Step 4: After the chicken is browned pour it into a small baking dish and pour the sweet and sour sauce over the top.

Step 5: Get a glass of water and fill it half way with water and half with corn starch and mix it together. Pour a little bit of the mixture into the chicken. Put it in the oven and bake it for about 45 minutes checking on it periodically. If the sauce doesn't look thick enough pour more of the water/cornstarch mixture into it.

That's it! It's super easy to make and is perfect for a quick meal.

Fried Rice Ingredients: This only takes about 5-10 minutes to make so I usually start after the chicken has been in the oven for 25 minutes.

  • 1-2 cups leftover rice
  • chopped carrots
  • chopped peas
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • chopped yellow onions
  • 2-3 scrambeled eggs
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • chili garlic paste
Step 1: Pour a little bit of oil in a frying pan and let it heat up. Then pour the rice in and mush it down. It will be a little difficult and take some effort. 

Step 2: After the rice has cooked down a bit pour in the peas and carrots. Let that cook a little bit before putting in the onions. 

Step 3: Push the rice to one side and pour in the scrambled eggs on the other. Let it cook then mix it all together.

Step 4: Throw in the garlic then put in enough soy sauce so that the rice turns brown. Mix in the chili garlic paste then right before you're done cooking throw in a couple dashes of the sesame oil. Sesame oil burns really fast so you want to just pour it on mix it then take it off the stove immediately.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Layout!

I just wanted to share with every one my new layout for my blog. So long leopard print hello shabby chic roses. Don't get me wrong leopard print will always be my favorite, but I have a feeling I may be going a little overkill with it. I made this discovery while sitting in my leopard print chair at my leopard print desk wearing my leopard print scarf digging through my leopard print bag. I may have an addiction this is phase one. I'm also more than in love with shabby chic anything I love the patterns and I love the decor. I want to have more shabby chic things, but have yet to acquire any.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

3 Months

Mariah turned 3 months old last Friday and I can't believe it. Time really does go by too quickly. These days are so much fun though; Mariah is such a smiley and happy girl, she thinks everything is funny. She's finally starting to hit at her toys which is pretty exciting, but hasn't quite grasped the concept of grabbing onto them. I'm assuming this ability will come within the next couple of weeks. It's amazing how much fun it is to watch her brain grow and develop. She's recently discovered her feet which she will stare at forever and it's so cute. I'm still just as thrilled to be a mom as I was the day she was born and can't imagine my life without her.

There have also been several new developments in my life. My family and I have recently decided that on May 1st Jack, Mariah, and I will be moving in to their basement to save money for a wedding and a down payment on a house. While it will be very crowded I'm pretty excited to start planning the wedding and purchase our first home. It will also be nice to see my family so often.

I also want to announce that since Mariah's birth I have officially lost 45 pounds! I finally can squeeze into my pre pregnancy jeans, and am back into the 100's again. I couldn't be more excited, even though I have a long way to go from here it's good to see that my hard work is paying off so well.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Strawberry and Feta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing

Last night I made my very first Clean meal. I found the recipe from Clean Eating Mag and per usual I changed it around to my liking. This is 100% my new favorite salad and my new favorite salad dressing. I've never been huge on salads and I almost never make them at home. In all actuality the only time I ever eat them is if some one makes one for me or if one is automatically given at a restaurant. So for me to prepare this one and eat every last bite means that it must be really tasty.


  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Feta Cheese
  • Onions
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbs Pure Maple syrup


For the salad I chopped up some strawberries by cutting off the leaves and slicing them into quarters. I added the spinach, feta cheese, and onions. The original recipe includes walnuts and blueberries. I'm not a huge fan of blueberries so I didn't add these, I may try it with the walnuts next time, but I didn't have any.


I of course did not measure anything out and just added until it tasted right, however, the original recipe does have measurements. The original recipe also uses honey, but I didn't have any so I substituted with maple syrup. For the dressing I just added the balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup then whisked it together. It was so heavenly I was licking it right off the fork.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Clean Eating

So I've never been one to fuss about processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and junk food, until now. I used to eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted thinking they wouldn't put it in grocery stores if it was bad for you, but what if they didn't know it was bad for you. The way I see it is over processed foods and artificial sweeteners haven't been around for that long and with a lack of research I feel it may be hard to determine the long term effects of these so called foods. While I'm not ready to go all out and switch to only organic and making every little thing from scratch, there are some things that I am ready to give up and other things I will welcome into my home with open arms.

First things first I'm paying much more attention to food labels and using my all time favorite food app Fooducate. I've mentioned it before and let me tell you people this app is brilliant. I used to eat those fiber one bars thinking they were so good for me, because they were packed with fiber, it turns out I was very wrong. They get a "D" on my fooducate app, because they're made with tons of sugar, refined flours, and BHA, a controversial additive. Needless to say those are in my throw out list. Spaghettios, while receiving a "B" it still contains high fructose corn syrup, and MSG like ingredients, right in the trash. Lean cuisines also receive a "B", but again contain MSG like products and are highly processed. I'm happy to give these up.

Coca Cola, this one is a doozie and I am having such a hard time giving up. Coke gets a "D" on the fooducate app because it contains phosophoric acid and industrial caramel coloring. Excuse me? I'd like to emphasize on the word industrial here for a moment, because I feel like anything that contains that word should not be entering my body. I also read an article online that the ingredients in it have been known to increase your risk of cancer if consumed daily so much so that the FDA is trying to get them to put a warning label on it similar to those on cigarettes. I used to drink one to two sodas a day now I try and limit myself to one to two a week and someday I plan on getting them out of my diet entirely.

So what have I been adding to my diet: fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of them. I've officially started making a vegetable side dish for every dinner and making sure that all my snacks are veggies or fruits. I'll be the first to admit that it's not cheap, but keep your eye out and only buy them on sale and it might not be as expensive as you think. I bought an entire bag of grapefruits the other day for $5 which gave me breakfast for a whole week. Apples are much cheaper if you buy them by the bag rather than individually. Individually they are almost $1 an apple where as a bag is $4 for 9 or 10.

I'm very new to this, but am very excited and have been learning a lot. I hope to get more educated in the near future and educate all of you on Clean eating and why I'm such a huge fan.