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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DIY Gold Trinket Dishes

Today I have a fun and easy DIY project. I am kind of obsessed with little decorative trinket and ring dishes. I keep them all over the house as a place to keep my rings and jewelry. I typically take my rings off while cooking, cleaning, taking a shower and sleeping, and I take my other jewelry off at some point during the day because it's usually driving me nuts (anyone else like that?). So of course I need a safe place to keep my valuable jewelry so it doesn't get lost or damaged. And if it's cute and decorative...bonus!

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I came across this idea last week over at Lauren Conrad's blog, and thought it was perfect because I already had some clam shells and just needed to pick up some gold paint.

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Supplies needed:
-- Clam shells, oyster shells, or any other fun shells you find at the beach
-- Gold spray paint
-- Cardboard or newspaper
-- Well ventilated area

All you have to do is clean up your shells to remove any loose debris. Then take them out to a well ventilated area, like your garage, and place them on a piece of cardboard or newspaper. Make sure to shake your can of spray paint really well, and do a few test sprays to make sure it's not coming out runny. Then apply a thin coat of spray paint to the inside of the shell. I thought I might need to tape off the backside, but I just carefully painted the inside with light strokes, and it really only painted the inside. The backside is still the original shell. You could paint both sides if you wanted to, but I liked leaving the other side natural. It will take about 3-4 thin coats of spray paint to get a nice opaque finish.

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Rick ended up cleaning the shell up on the bottom, and the color was really pretty (hard to tell in the photo), so I chose to keep that one natural. I think it works really well with the other 2 shells painted gold. BTW: those clam shells were part of the clam that I dissected in biology class in High School. I found them in the basement in one of my memory boxes and Rick couldn't believe I have kept them this long. But they ended up being perfect for this project.

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I'm in the process of organizing my jewelry station in my closet, and these pretty little things will likely end up part of it. As soon as it's all complete I'll be sure to share.

Do you have any cute ring dishes you like to keep around the house for your jewelry? Are you as obsessed with gold as much as I am? I have about 3/4 of a can of gold spray paint left and I can't wait to find something else to paint gold!!


Sharing this over at Borrowed Heaven for Wedding Wednesday. I this would be a great gift idea for someone newly engaged or as a shower gift. I love to give ring dishes as gifts to brides-to-be as a cute way to keep their new bling.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Meal Planning: Favorite Meals of February + Recipe for Baked Pizza Rolls

Last month I shared my tips for menu planning and then shared some of our favorite meals from January. Today I thought it would be fun to recap some of our favorite meals from February.

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For the first week of February, I took part in a 7-Day Clean Eating Challenge. I shared everything I ate, including recipes in this post.

One of my favorite recipes that I discovered during that challenge was Sweet Potato Waffles. I've had them every Saturday and Sunday since. They don't necessarily work with my current eating plan, but believe me they will be back as part of our weekend brunch as soon as that challenge is over.

Some of the other recipes we enjoyed were:

Clean Eating Meatball Sliders - really simple recipe to make, not a lot of ingredients and it's healthy.

Italian Meatloaf - another favorite recipe of mine that is healthy and simple to make. Rick actually made this for us this last month when I was working late and he was surprised how easy it was to make.

Homemade Chipotle - another healthy recipe from our clean eating challenge. This is totally customizable and Rick even said it was almost better than the real thing.

Sausage and Plantain Tostadas - my new favorite recipe and totally inspired by our trip to Puerto Rico.

Italian Zucchini Soup - perfect for these cold Winter days, it's a little spicy so it's guaranteed to warm you up!

Thai Chicken Sticky Fingers - a new favorite by Iowa Girl Eats. It's got a lot of steps, and makes kind of a mess, but it's totally worth it. And the dipping sauce is amazing! I want to dip everything in it! It's also an interesting gluten-free way to bread chicken fingers.

Steak with Red Wine Rosemary Butter & Honey Candied Carrots - this was our Valentine's Day dinner and it was a little indulgent (there was a ton of butter in this recipe), but was totally worth it for a special day. The Red Wine Rosemary Butter was amazing and we continued to put it over everything the next couple of days.

Tasty Turkey Tacos with Pineapple Avocado Salsa - this was a new recipe I tried from my new cookbook and it was an interesting twist to your traditional tacos.

Slow Cooker General Tso's & Baked Egg Rolls - Loved you could make the General Tso's in the slow cooker. The recipe needed more ginger though, and we added some after the fact. The egg rolls were amazing and so easy to make.

Baked Pizza Rolls (recipe below) - using up the extra egg roll wrappers we made pizza rolls. See below for how to make these and then enjoy as you pretend to be a kid again.

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork - one of my favorite Pioneer Woman recipes, and so easy to make. Just drop a few ingredients into the slow cooker before you leave in the morning and come home to your house smelling amazing. We enjoyed this the next day by making enchiladas. It would be great to make nachos with as well!

As promised, here is my recipe for Baked Pizza Rolls. Who loved pizza rolls as a kid? I still love them, but they aren't the healthiest thing to eat. This is a somewhat healthier version which you bake in the oven instead of frying. You can actually fill them with whatever ingredients you like. Just make sure not to over stuff them or they will explode. Also FYI, I was unable to find gluten-free egg roll wrappers. I tend to make a lot of gluten free stuff, but this recipe is NOT, so keep that in mind if must eat gluten free.

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-- Package of egg roll wrappers
-- 1/2 pound of ground turkey (or ground beef or Italian sausage)
-- Pepperoni, chopped into fourths
-- Jar of pizza sauce (I think I used 3/4 of a small jar)
-- Cheese of your choice, we used Parmesan
-- Italian seasonings, salt and pepper to taste
-- Any other pizza toppings you enjoy
-- Cooking spray

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1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then brown your meat and then combine all ingredients together.

2. Place your egg roll wrapper on a cutting board in a diamond shape. You will need a small dish of water. Take you finger, dip it in the water and then run along the 4 edges of the egg roll wrapper

3. Then place a couple of tablespoons full of filling in the lower corner of your egg roll wrapper

4. Fold the bottom corner up and tuck under the filling.

5. Then fold in your two side corners.

6. Then finish wrapping from the bottom. Place your egg roll wrapper, seam side down on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. This will help them brown up in the oven.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 mins and then let cool a bit before eating as they will be hot! 

These would be great dipped in more pizza sauce. You can use the same method to make the egg rolls that I mentioned above. The options are really endless.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Day 1 of 21 Day Fix Challenge

Happy Monday!

Last Monday I mentioned I was starting a new fitness program. Last week I started the workout portion, just to get myself used to working out every day. Today I start the nutrition portion.

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In case you were wondering, the program I'm doing is the 21 Day Fix. It's a 3 step program where you:

1. Drink Shakeology every day for a boost of nutrition and protein.

2. Complete a 30 minute workout DVD every day.

3. Follow the nutrition plan, which uses these colorful containers to help you learn what a typical portion should be.

I'll be honest, when I first saw the containers I thought I am totally going to STARVE!! Seriously they look so small. But I made dinner last night following the program and using the containers so I could have left-overs for lunch, and they are pretty decent sized portions. I'm now feeling like I may not be able to eat all of the food I have planned for myself. Ok, I'll find a way to eat it, I love food too much not too...ha! But it is an eye opener to what and how much you should be eating from each of the food groups.

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I completed the 1st week of meal planning, shopping and prepping (my grocery haul above), so at the very least let's hope this gets me into a good habit of meal planning and prepping each week. I usually have the meal planning done, but the prepping is something I totally need to work on, so wish me luck on that!

I'm excited to share my journey on this program. I did a ton of research before deciding on the program and there are a lot of reviews out there from Beachbody coaches, and I wanted to share the experience of someone not associated with Beachbody. I'm not getting compensated for this program, and I paid for the program 100% out of my pocket, so whether I love it or hate it, I'll be sure to share. 

I also tried a nutrition drink similar to Shakeology from GNC a few weeks ago, so I'm planning on doing a comparison post and share my thoughts on Shakeology. It's an expensive drink and again I've done a lot of research and found a lot of biased opinions, so I'm hoping my experience can help others in deciding if this program is right for them. I was also really overwhelmed when I first got my kit and started the meal planning/prepping, so hopefully I'll learn some tips and tricks to help others, whether you try this program or something similar. And hopefully I'll have a rockin body ready for Summer by the end of all of this.

Have you ever done the 21 Day Fix or something similar? What were your thoughts? Any tips you can share?

If anyone is currently doing this, or is interested and you want to reach out to chat and share experiences, please leave a comment below or you can email me at lifeloveandpuppypaws@gmail.com. Again, I'm not associated with Beachbody, so all opinions are my own.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Fashion Inspiration

Happy Friday!

Hope everyone is staying warm and surviving all of the snow. Speaking of cold weather and snow...I am so ready to breakup with Winter..who's with me? I'm also so very ready to breakup with my Winter wardrobe and can't wait to start wearing some of the cute Spring fashions everyone is posting about. BUT, Winter is here to stay in Ohio for at least another month, and it's still likely we will have some cold weather into April. So I've been searching on Pinterest to find some cute outfit inspiration that will keep me warm, but feels a little Springier (yes that is a word I looked it up :) ).

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1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Yes pink is a big theme here, and seems to be a big trend in many of the wardrobes I've come across lately. My goal is to wear more fitted layers for warmth, and then add a pop of color through jewelry, a scarf, or a cute vest or cardigan to brighten things up. Pink, teal or bright yellow are perfect colors this time of year and will hopefully give Mother Nature a hint to bring on Spring.

I'm actually planning on recreating some of these outfits, as well as a few other outfits I've found on Pinterest. I found this really cute reversable pink vest at Kohls, and have found a few cute ways to wear it on Pinterest as well. I'm hoping to share next week, so stay tuned!

What are you wearing lately? What colors are you excited to wear for Spring?

And for more Friday fun, check out the Five on Friday linkup hosted by ChristinaDarciApril and Natasha.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rocksbox #2 and #3

I've shared before how much I'm loving the Rocksbox subscription box. If you are not aware, Rocksbox is a monthly jewelry subscription box. You pay a fee of $19 a month, and they send you 3 pieces worth up to $250 to wear as much as you want. When you are done, just package everything up in the pre-paid envelope and send back. In a few days they will send you new pieces to wear.

I also recently started earning "Shine" dollars, which is $10 a month to spend towards purchasing any piece(s) of jewelry in your box. I actually purchased one of my jewelry pieces (which I'll share below), so in addition to receiving 20% off the regular purchase price, I also received an additional $10 off. I actually priced the piece I purchased on a few sites and this was definitely a savings. I assumed there might be a markup, but there wasn't which is good. So you pay $19 a month, but you get $10 towards a piece of jewelry if you choose to purchase. If you don't then you lose that $10.

What I love most is that I can try out all kinds of fun jewelry, some that I may have never tried before, and then whatever I don't like I send back. It's like Netflix for jewelry as you can switch out your box as many times as you would like to during the month.

So today I thought I would share my 2nd and 3rd Rocksboxes.

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For my 2nd Roxbox, I received the Perry Street Gwen Crystal Studs, the Charlene K Charm Necklace in Turquoise (it's a long necklace that is doubled up in the pic), and the Gorjana Bali Three Charm Necklace.

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My 3rd Rockbox is my favorite box so far. I received the Perry Street Lina Necklace, Margaret Elizabeth Faceted Drop Earrings in Moonstone, and the Gorjana Ryder Charm Bracelet. I LOVED the Margaret Elizabeth earrings, and ended up purchasing them because they seemed to go with everything. I think I wore them almost every day for the last 2 weeks.

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I also attempted to take some pictures of how I wore Rocksbox #3.

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I got the cardigan last Fall from Hazel and Olive, but unfortunately it's sold out and I'm not sure if they will restock due to the new Spring styles coming in. It's been one of my go to pieces this Winter to stay warm and I get a ton of compliments when I wear it.

I sent my 3rd Rocksbox back yesterday and can't wait to see what I get in #4. I'll be sure to share soon!

Has anyone else tried Rocksbox? What did you think? If your are interested in trying Rocksbox FREE for the 1st month let me know and I'll share a coupon code with you. Just leave me a comment below or shoot me an email at lifeloveandpuppypaws@gmail.com. It's a lot of fun and a little addicting!!

*Please note I did not receive any compensation for this post. Just sharing things I love.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Puerto Rico Recap Part 2: Old San Juan

Today I'm back to recapping our trip to Puerto Rico back in January. Last week I shared our trip to Castillo San Felipe dell Marro. That same day we walked around Old San Juan and just checked things out. There were so many fun things to see, so this post may get a little picture heavy :)

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I loved all of the colorful buildings. Too bad the streets were lined with cars or else it would have made for some fantastic pictures!

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I loved this peach and green one!

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I also loved the blue brick streets. I recently found out these bricks are made from beautiful blue stones called adoquine. They are blue stone cast from furnace slag which was brought over as part of the ballast for Spain's sugar-carrying ships to provide stability to the ships. Due to age and moisture, the pavers have turned more blue over time.

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Old San Juan has some beautiful churches as well. This one is Iglesia de San Juan and I just loved the architecture.

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This one is the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. Its one of the oldest buildings in San Juan and the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. As you can see by the sky, it was getting ready to storm, so we headed inside to take a look and wait out the rain. I told Rick this was probably God's way of saying we needed to get our bums to church! Mission completed :)

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It was beautiful inside, so many intricate details.

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This was also this lovely nativity scene inside.

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The church also is the home of the tomb of Juan Ponce de Leon. 

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Some more colorful buildings. We found a place right along this road that Rick and I decided we should buy as our fixer upper. It was completely gutted, so it was definitely a fixer upper.

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There were lots of unique fountains throughout Old San Juan. We thought this one looked like a pineaple on top and reminded us of our trip to Charleston, SC.

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This is one of the stone walls that connects to the fort that we visited earlier in the day.

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There were cats all over Old San Juan, and we actually found a book all about the Cobblestone Cats of Old San Juan that our friend Andy almost bought...he loves cats! I told him we could make our own book for him of all of the cats we saw along the way. This one was pretty, be he definitely didn't want his picture taken.

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We also came across this pelican who was just chilling along the water.

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This is the Raices Fountain. The Raices, or "Roots" Fountain was commissioned to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America and to celebrate Puerto Rican culture. It consists of a group of sculptures which symbolizes the roots that gave birth to Puerto Rico's cultural heritage.

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I loved seeing all of the Christmas decorations in the trees.

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The 3 Kings holiday was the day before we arrived, and there were a ton of decorations around the town celebrating the 3 Kings. It was kind of a bummer we missed all of the celebrations, but still fun to see all of the decorations.

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While we were there we stopped into the Old Harbor Brewer, which was the only microbrewery on the island. We didn't eat anything, but we enjoyed a cold beer and some relaxing time in the air conditioning before we headed back out to find a cab to take us back to the hotel.

There was so much to see, and we were only there for a few hours. I would love to go back and explore some more. There were so many beautiful buildings I could have explored and taken pictures all day long.

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