February Wrap Up

Long time, no blog! I was hibernating for the winter. Yea, that’s my excuse. Anyway I wanted to do a little post to wrap up everything that’s been going on this month.

First things first, my life off whole 30 has not been a continuation of all things healthy. I learn that I do well when I have strict rules to abide by. I’ve really been indulging and can’t seem to get on track. This weekend I’m celebrating three birthdays and I’m going out to eat for all of them. I went from on my way to “not so Hammy” to “hammy, Hammy”.

I really want to get to a comfortable weight because I got that bridesmaid dress to wear. Amber picked one at David’s Bridal this month and I’d love to be in a size (or, dare I say, 2 sizes) smaller than I am now. I really need to buckle down, March might be another whole 30. I also might be going on a beach vacation this spring. I’m still working out the details with my girl friends, but bikini ready I want to be!

I also went to the annual Brite Winter fest last weekend. The weather was gorgeous here in Cleveland, which was perfect because the festival is held outside. I was really excited to go because it was so nice out (which it rarely is in February) and it was free. The festival is an excuse to get outside despite the weather and usually it’s miserably cold this time of year. I’ve gone to Brite a few times and I usually need my heaviest snow boots and warmest jacket. This year, I had to bundle up for sure, but with more flexibility to be cute. It was worth my while to “do my hair” and wear my prettiest warm weather accessories.

The fest was held down in The Flats so there was a mix of venues, inside and outside. It was awesome to watch some bands under the bridge and then watch the next one inside while your toes warmed up. I got to see Seafair for the first time and they were great. I’ve heard that they were good and I’m so glad I got to be introduced to them live. I’m such a fan of a badass front woman with super strong vocals. Check out their super cute Clue inspired video below:

I also saw Honeybucket for the first time. One of my friends is a big fan, I don’t know how it took me so long to see them. The put on a great show, lots of fun. Although, they started after midnight and I was running low on energy by that point. I’m officially old.

Quick summary: Brite landed on the perfect weekend and is worth checking out next year, even if it’s snowing.

I have big goals for March. I want to blog more, work on my jewelry, whole 30 it up, and plan a bachelorette weekend. Stay tuned, I want to share it all with you.

My “Whole 30”

I tried to do Whole 30 during the month of January. Key word there is tried. I know you can’t call it Whole 30 if you don’t follow all the rules, but I had a hard time. My biggest challenge was, that I eat dinner with people often. I usually eat with my parents on Sundays and then meet with friends and have dinner with them during the week. My first full weekend I ate a chicken Caesar salad that my friend made and I had to pick out cheese and croutons. I’m sure I didn’t get every last particle of noncompliant ingredient and there’s a certain point during dinner where you have to take your hand out of your salad. It’s just good manners. Then on Sunday, my dad made potatoes, which are fine, but he put butter (non clarified) on them. I ate them anyway. So that weekend, I should have started over.
Then from there things got harder. I have to say, if I stayed 100% compliant, I probably would have been less likely to add sugar (Splenda) to my coffee. I know, it’s the #1 thing, drinking black coffee is not hard. Halfway through my second week, I wasn’t enjoying life. I needed my sweet coffee in the morning. At this point, I have to say I wasn’t doing Whole 30 anymore. But I still wanted to try some recipes and I feel like I have some experiences to share.
I definitely think that you should tell your friends and family that you’re doing the program. It makes you have to own up to it and keeps you in check. So, when I didn’t want to go out for drinks or dinner I had a reason. (This also helped my spending freeze). Also, telling your friends about it made it a lot easier to explain to someone new, who, let’s say you went on a date with. On top of trying Whole 30, I signed up for Match to start up my dating life. I didn’t go on very many dates last month, but the ones I did mostly included Starbucks and passion tea. My last day was supposed to be yesterday (the 31st) but I indulged on a date and ate whatever I wanted and enjoyed a margarita on Saturday.
Overall, I have no idea how to be compliant. It doesn’t factor into my daily life. I did enjoy seeing my weight drop and learning new recipes. The carnitas and chili recipes in the Whole 30 book are definitely worth trying no matter what. Even though I wasn’t perfect, I did feel better and had more energy. Just the sense of being overall healthy made me go to the gym more too. I went a little crazy today with too much trail mix and homemade peanut butter cups, but tomorrow’s a new day.
I want to share a recipe that got me through most of Whole 30. I love, love, love overnight oats, so when I had to give them up I needed a replacement. I needed something that was tasty enough to get me out of bed in the morning, but, also, premade. I started making “egg muffins” to go! Here’s what you need to do (adapted from: Gal On A Mission)
First, start by browning some breakfast sausage (or bacon). Make sure to read labels if you want to be compliant, or grab what’s on sale, like me.

  
While that’s browning, start picking out veggies. I liked to use onions, bell pepper, spinach, and whatever was going bad. Add those to the pan when the sausage is done. You can use coconut oil or the grease left behind from the meat. Is that gross or lazy, or both?

I started cracking my eggs and added salt and pepper to them. I beat them with my pig whisk. 

  Once the veggies have done their thing in the pan add them to the bowl.

  
I used ten eggs and that filled ten muffin cups after filling. Make sure you use coconut oil all over that pan. My friend made these and ended up having to throw out her muffin pan. Don’t skip this step. Also, the silicone pans help to get the eggs out.

  
Cook them for 20-25 mins in a 350 degree oven. Make sure they don’t cook too long. Give them time to cool before you start to take them out. I made these on Sunday and froze 4 of them to eat later in the week. The other six were good in the fridge through Wednesday morning. Eating two of these a day with a piece of fruit kept me full until lunch.

Warby Parker Home Try On

I’ve had the same pair of glasses since 2009, so I thought it was time to get a new pair. I’ve had friends recommend Warby Parker and I finally took them up on it. My friend, Maria, and I are looking for a new pair at the same time, so we decide to do the try on program together. That way we got to try on 10 pairs instead of just 5. What’s so great about Warby Parker is you can try on the frames you’re considering in the comfort of your own home. That way you can get opinions of your friends and family. Plus, if you’re like me, check out if they go with what’s in your closet.
Maria and I worked together to make sure that we didn’t order the same pair and that we got ones we both like. This way we didn’t waste time on duplicates and since we have similar taste in frames it was easy. After we made our selections online, we placed an order for our free at home trial.
The frames arrived in less than a week and I tried them on as soon as I got home from work. I sent quick bathroom selfies to my friends. Out of the 5 I received, I only liked one. My goal was to get the biggest sized frames I could since that’s what I’m digging right now. Maria and I had a “photo shoot” the weekend we had with the glasses. See below but a full review:

    
So this first pair here is the one I initially liked the best. Their name is Winston. Like I said before, I wanted the biggest frames available and I really liked that these were chunky too. I think they look super stylish.
This second pair, I included for comparison. I like that they are big but I think the thinner plastic makes them look dated. A la Sally Jessy Raphael. No go.

  
The last pair is the winning pair. This is one Maria ordered and it’s called Finch. The frames are bigger then my current pair, but what I liked most about these, is they have a slight cat eye look to them. Plus I love that combined with the leopard looking print. I think they look fabulous!

    
I’m getting ready to order these, just have to get my prescription and insurance ready. Be prepared for some more photos with these bad boys.

Outfit Post #9

With winter in full effect, I finally pulled out my bin of sweaters I packed away in May. I have a pretty nice sweater collection and most, conveniently, look great with leggings. Today’s outfit post is the opposite of that, a great look that’s just as comfy as leggings but takes a little more effort.

  First, I got to talk about this sweater. I got it from one of my many TJ Maxx shopping sprees. I go in that store so many times, just to look. Especially if I feel like my closet needs a new article added to it. I rarely come back from these excursions empty handed. A recent trip to my favorite store didn’t disappoint, this sweater was only $16.99! The length is very on trend this winter and I’m personally always attracted to a geometric/Aztec print. I love throwing this sweater on for an impromptu dinner with the girls because it’s an instant outfit. Here’s some similar styles: | one | two | three |

  These jeans are super wide flared and I love the look of them. I feel like a 1970’s rock star when I wear them. I got them clearance shopping at the American Eagle outlet for less than $10. I’m excited about the prospect of flares coming back, I blame my millennial youth. These jeans are very comfortable and have a lot of stretch without losing shape. I think AE has some of the best affordable denim out there.

  Now these shoes make me look deceivingly tall and I love it. I’m just short enough that all jeans are a little too long and I needs some heel to lift me up. These are actually pretty comfortable to walk in since there’s decent sized platform in front. Plus, I think they add to my rock star status.

  This necklace is from where I get most of my accessories, Francesca’s. I bought it years ago as a final piece to a birthday outfit and have ended up wearing it quite often. I like that it’s grey because it’s super neutral and I think more interesting than just black.

Thank you to Angela for taking all my photos. You can find her at Photos By Mariposa.

Goals, goals, goals

I have so many goals, so many expectations for 2016. My lease for my apartment is up in July and I’m already asking myself “what’s next?” Should I get a roommate, move in with my parents, sign the same lease again, or move somewhere new? As of right now, I can afford to live in the same apartment forever, but I don’t know if I’ll be in this spot forever. I’m ready to grow from my currently position and I hope my career grows exponentially this year. Will it be in the same building down the street from my apartment, with the same company, in the same state even? I’m ready for anything, my feet are against the starting blocks and I’m waiting for the gun to go off. I’ve wrote and rewrote my resume, then made just about anyone in a ten miles radius of me read it. I’ve reached out to people at my company for advice. I’ve applied to at least 25 jobs in the past 6 months and there hasn’t been a pull on that trigger. I need to put myself out there and be a force to reckon with on the job market.
All this thinking about my lease ending in half a year triggered me to see if, no, when I could afford a house. It’s a nice goal to have, don’t you think? I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be a renter until I die, unless I get a better job. Can a single girl, close to her thirties, with student loan debt that equals more then she makes in a year, buy a house? I haven’t found anything on Pinterest that meets those specifiers. Ok, I’m single so there’s no second income to consider. There’s a million pins on how to buy a house in your twenties, I’m sorry, that ship has sailed. I can’t find anything other there that deals with handling student loan debt and saving for a home. I think that’s so strange because I know a majority of us have it.
Based on the facts in front of me, I’ve concluded that it’s illogical to save for a house when I still have $30,000 in debt. My savings account earns .01% interest while my loaners are charging me 6% on a large (by my standards) amount of money. Paying off the principle of my student loans will be way more cost effective then saving. I don’t know if it’s that’s obvious to you, but it wasn’t to me right away. I get so hung up on this because after working six years since graduating (sometimes two jobs at the same time), I have another ten plus years working to end up exactly where I am today. In this apartment, down the street from work, with a really expensive piece of paper collecting dust. I know that I will no longer owe a bank for my education, but now it’s time to save for a house and I’m 38…what? I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel.
This year, I would like to dust off that fashion merchandising degree and finally put it to good use. I’d love to find a career that excites me and puts me in a position where my goals are within reach.

New Year, New Hammy

Get ready for the New Year, new Hammy post! I’m feeling very ambitious this week I’m making a to-do list for the year, while I’m optimistic.

1. Save Money – So original, right? I’m respecting my spending freeze for the whole month of January. So far, so good. But last time I did a spending freeze I broke halfway through the month. This past weekend I had a lot of fun without spending money. My friend is engaged to someone who works at a movie theater so they get tickets for free. She and I went to see Sisters, so funny. Afterwards, we had a game night with her fiancé. I really love a game nights because it’s always fun and you can learn a lot about your friends, not to mention it’s free. Then on Sunday, I met a friend for coffee and some girl talk. I got a gift card for Christmas, so while not technically free, I didn’t have to spend money. After that I meal prepped for the week (which I’ll get to next) and then had dinner at my parents. The lesson this weekend was, if you have good company you don’t need to spend money.

2. The most popular New Year’s resolution: lose weight. I feel like I’m always on a diet or cheating on said diet. I would love to become comfortable with food so I can just eat and not think about calories, fat, ugh. Since I’m not there yet, I’m starting to try Whole 30. My friends have tried it and said they lost weight and felt great. I’m finding it really hard to stay compliant in every meal. You have to read every label and I still don’t feel like I’m buying the right things. I guess I can say I’m paying a lot of attention to what I’m eating with the intention of being Whole 30. I started on the 2nd but I have slipped a few times when I’m eating food prepared by someone else. I might be eating something made with butter, not clarified butter, but at least I’m not adding ketchup, sour cream, or cheese to everything, right? I know that that’s not Whole 30, but I’m trying. I guess we’ll call this a trail run for now. I spent most of Sunday getting meals ready for the week. I made some egg “muffins” and chili.

3. Focus on starting my own business. No job has ever made me happy. All I want is to own my own retail store. I’m not sure how I’ll get there, but this year I’m going to find out. I’m considering making my own jewelry and starting a shop online to see where it goes. I’m going to give myself five years to complete this plan. My first goal I’m working on is how to pay off my student loans. I need to get rid of this debt before I take more on. Stay tuned, I’d love to blog about this journey.

My Best Books of 2015

Now these are not the ten best books that came out in 2015. These are the ten best books I’ve read this year and they are from many different years. Ok, now that we cleared that up, let’s start!

1. The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes
I studied fashion in college and I call myself a fashion blogger, so I’d say that I’m interested in the fashion industry. I really liked this book because the main character was very resilient and likable, I want to be just like her. It’s the only book I read this year that I forced myself awake to just finish one more chapter. Read my full review here.

2. Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney
Basically, my life. I’ve read so many young women’s memoirs and this one was the one I could relate to the most. I, too, have a very humorous, yet empty dating life. It’s hard to explain how a cute, stable, charming, twentysomething has never had a boyfriend, but Katie manages to do it in 272 pages. I would love the fill pages with my dating stories like this someday.

3-5. The Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver
Can you picture a world where love is considered a disease that can kill you? Or do you already live in this world? This book is one of the many dystopian trilogies out there, but I think the way the author turns the feeling of love into the enemy is very clever. As someone who is always struggling with feel ok to love and, maybe, I actually do fear it like a disease that could kill me, this book really gave me a lot to think about. I actually have the last paragraph of the last book hanging in my kitchen. Allow me to share: “Take down the walls. That is, after all, the whole point. You do not know what will happen if you take down the walls; you cannot see through to the other side, don’t know whether it will bring freedom or ruin, resolution or chaos. It might be paradise, or destruction.
Take down the walls.
Otherwise you must live closely, is fear, building barricades against the unknown, saying prayers against the darkness, speaking verse of terror and tightness.
Otherwise you may never know hell, but you will not find heaven, either. You will not know fresh air and flying.
All of you, wherever you are: in your spiny city or your one-bump towns. Find it, the hard stuff, the links of metal and chink, the fragments of stone filling your stomach. And pull, and pull, and pull.
I will make a pact with you: I will do it if you will do it, always and forever.
Take down the walls.”
I love it. Ironically.

6. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
I’d recommend this book to anyone. I can really see the value of mediation and Dan goes through his entire journey with it and how it change his life. Even if you don’t want to start a mediation routine, this book has a lot of good advice on how to deal with negative thoughts. I think it would be a great book the start the year off with.

7. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
You’ve see the comics, now read the book! There is so much funny in this book, I laughed out loud multiple times. It’s a super quick read and would make a great palette cleanser after a really long, sad book. Allie’s next book is coming out and expect it to be on next year’s list too.

8. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
This is the final book in Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children trilogy. This book is purely, definably categorized as young adult, which I love. I don’t care if I’m close to 30, I love a story about kids going on adventures. If you’re not familiar with this series, the author used old photographs to inspire the story and you can see them throughout the book. I think it works really well to help you dive deeper into the story. Read my full review here.

9. Night Film by Marisha Pessel
Let me start off by confusing you, the ending it terrible and completely unsatisfying. If you can get past that fact this is a really good mystery. I strongly recommend listening to it as an audio book, that’s what I did. I got really into the mystery of the Cordova family and what happened to their youngest daughter, Ashley. This book slowly revels a little bit of information at a time and makes you want to learn more and more. There were times I wish I could jump into the story so I could watch A Cordova film and help Scott McGrath investigate what happened to Ashley. So good, until the end. Shame.

10. One Kick by Chelsea Cain
I read all of Chelsea Cain’s Gretchen Lowell series and was excited to hear about her new series. I love a strong female lead and One Kick delivers that. Kick was kidnapped at age six and rescued after five years of captivity. She turned into a vigilante and consistently feels compelled to help find a child when an amber alert is signaled. This book is a lot of set up, but I think there’s potential of this turning in to a great series.

I’m currently reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and could easily made this list if I was a faster reader. I didn’t even finish my Goodreads challenge this year. I only read 34 off the 41 books I intended to read. Do you have a good reads account? We should be friends.