LIFE LATELY

Annnnd it’s Monday again. How does this keep happening?

This was our first weekend AT HOME in over four weeks! It was glorious. There was no where I would have rather been than cleaning the house, finally unpacking my suitcase (insert embarrassed monkey emoji here), getting my fall clothes out of storage, finishing some projects, starting some projects, and washing our couch. Hashtag adulthood.

Of course, we did some fun stuff too! Saturday we went to a local hockey game with my parents and some friends which was really fun but I didn’t take one picture because I’m the worst, obviously.

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Sunday was what you could call “a basic fall day” from the weather to the activities and I loved every minute of it. After church we headed straight to the closest pumpkin patch with our Godson and besties which was the best decision ever because we got there right after it opened and there was hardly anyone there. Well, hardly anyone when you compare it to the number of people that were there when we left. Sheesh.

Side note here: I’m thinking of switching careers and becoming a farmer/pumpkin patch owner. Holy money maker Batman. I almost died as I handed over seventeen of our hard-earned dollars to literally get on a tractor to ride out to where the actual pumpkins were (picked pumpkin not included) oh, and to get lost in a corn maze. As a person who works in a small, family owned business I am pretty much always doing the math on how much money people are making based off the number of people in my line of sight and like I said, I’m switching careers.

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I couldn’t leave without a few pretty pumpkins and an apple cider slushy, duh.
fall 2015 collage
Sunday afternoon I decorated the porch with our purchases (excuse the half dead plants by the door) and made this Chicken Tortilla Soup. Nathan actually really liked it and he doesn’t usually like soup! I thought it could have been more spicy. I also made cookies for the first time in…months? at least and caught up on the newest season of Reign. I loved the first season and had a hard time sticking with the second season, but am already loving this new season! Do any of you watch this show? I really haven’t found many people that do.
fall 2015 collage 2I can’t wait to see what you all were up to this weekend! Linking up with Biana, Meg, Bella, Erin,  Carly, Carylee, and Rachelle.

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FALL WARDROBE WISHLIST + SHOPBOP FRIENDS AND FAMILY SALE

There is no doubt about it – fall has arrived in Southern Indiana! With a changing season comes a change in wardrobe (duh) and I’ve found a few holes in my closet. Luckily my favorite store, Shopbop, rolled out yet another amazing sale this week and I was able to get a ton of quality things on my wishlist at some great prices! Here is what I got plus some amazing pieces that I couldn’t help but share:

shopbop sale

re:name Sweater Layer Shirt Dress $56 | Camel BB Dakota Sweater $89 | Sam Edelman Flats $75
Brixton Fedora $44 | Free People Vegan Leggings $74 | Chevron BB Dakota Sweater $71 | Grey Converse $29
Blank Distressed Denim $66 | House of Harlow Aztec Studs $21 | Deux Lux Drawstring Bag $71
BB Dakota Shift Dress $49 | Madewell Plaid Scarf $44 | Dav Quilted Boot $74

*Prices listed reflect Shopbop Friends and Family Sale 25% discount. Sale runs until Oct. 15th, 2015 at 11:59 PT. Use code INTHEFAM25 at checkout!

What sort of things are on your fall wishlist this year?

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Linking up with JennIulia, and Cathy.

 

CAPTIVA ISLAND, FLORIDA VACATION 2015

Hello, Friends! Long time, no talk. Life lately has been pretty crazy but we were able to slow down last week and visit our favorite vacation spot Captiva Island, Florida for a little R & R! Captiva 2015 Collage 1

We hit the road for our approx. 14 hour trip around 5:00 Friday afternoon so we got to the island much earlier than my parents and brothers who left around midnight. We hit the grocery, got unpacked, grabbed lunch,  and went straight to the beach. We have stayed in the Captiva Shores community the last few times and I LOVE it. It is right at the beginning of the island so the beach is directly in front of you and the bay is directly behind. It also has a pool smack dab in the middle for the people staying in the community! We are much more of beach people than pool people but it’s still nice to have the option.

Side note: October is such a perfect time to visit Florida. If your schedule is flexible I would really recommend it! It’s not as blazing hot, plus it’s their slowest season so we basically had the whole place to ourselves. We went to Disney/Universal in October two years ago and I would say the same thing about that. October. Is. Awesome.

Captiva 2015 Collage 2

Day One was filled with FOOD. A yummy Mexican lunch at Cantina Captiva (because I can find any and all gauc in a 10 mile radius) then a late dinner after some beach time at on of our all time favorite spots The Lazy Flamingo. If I could eat their conch fritters (yes those spiral-y shells you find!) and shrimp caesar salad all day every day, I would.

Captiva 2015 Collage 3 Captiva 2015 Collage 4

Day Two we were back and forth from the beach to the house on and off all day thanks to Hurricane Joaquin. I have never seen waves that big or felt wind so strong and I’ve been vacationing in this spot on the gulf for almost my entire life. It was nuts. That night we went to Nathan’s first ever Crab Races at the Tween Waters Inn. It’s basically exactly what it sounds like – the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen! You pick out a hermit crab, name it (mine was McSteamy, duh) then the comedic host tells you a bunch of stupid rules to follow, dumps the crabs in the middle of the table and they race to the edge. The do a couple of “heats” until the top three are picked.

Like I said, it was Nathan’s first time and his darn crab got third place! He got $12, a third place ribbon, and a kazoo. My stinking crab just sat there and never moved. That’s what I get for naming him McSteamy instead of McDreamy I guess.

Other than a crab race, it’s basically a comedy show. The host makes up all sorts of stupid rules (ex. You can’t sit at the table and wear contacts – hence why I am wearing goggles in some of the pictures.) There is a family show at 6 PM, which is the one we went to since we were with my brothers, and an “adult” show at 9 PM. It’s definitely worth going if you are in the area!

Captiva 2015 Collage 5

Day Three was pretty laid back! More beach time then we made dinner and played some board games. My brother’s got the biggest kick out of Evansville-opoly which is just like Monopoly but customized to our town.

Captiva 2015 Collage 6

Pretty much every day after that was more of the same! Beach, beach, beach, beach, dinner. I loved it! I read so many good books – I will definitely be reviewing them here soon.

There were SO MANY dolphins out this year! That top picture isn’t even the time they got closest to the boys in the water. It was so crazy. Another time there were packs swimming by of like 5-6 at a time all day. It was so so so cool!

Captiva 2015 Collage 7

The Bubble Room is another one of our all time favorites and CAN NOT be missed! Carolina Moons (homemade chips with cheese and bacon) and chocolate cake. There was some sort of real food in the middle there but I can’t be bothered to remember what it was. They are famous for their cake selection here and for good reason! Cheesecake, rum cake, chocolate cake, orange cake…the list goes on and on and all of them are delicious.

Captiva 2015 Collage 8

Like I said earlier, there were sunrise and sunsets views just steps from our door! Though I can’t say we were ever up early enough to see the sun rise we were faithful sun set watchers. I mean…look at those views!

Captiva 2015 Collage 9

I think it is 100% safe to say that Captiva is my favorite place in the whole world. Hands down! Do you all have a place where your family has vacationed for as all as you can remember? Let me know in the comments!

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Simple Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers (21 Day Fix Approved!)

slow cooker stuffed peppers - main
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SavingsSalute #CollectiveBias

Now that I’m deep into my 21 Day Fix I’m constantly scouring Pinterest looking for simple and delicious dinners that are not only Fix-Approved, but Husband-Approved. I’ve also been trying to think of ways to change up our favorite dinners to fit into The Fix diet guidelines. These stuffed peppers are a direct result of that! What could be easier than about twenty minutes of prep work, throwing everything into a slow cooker (one of the best life-hacks ever in this busy girl’s opinion) and having a complete, healthy meal on the table whenever you are ready for dinner? I’ll wait while you think about it. Bonus? You can change these up so many ways to suit your families tastes!

Side note: If you know me IRL you know that I am obsessed with Schnucks grocery stores (and if you don’t know, now you know). I do all my regular grocery shopping there and have for as long as I can remember. Their produce, deli department, meat department, and just general selection is just…the best. For years, I have put up with their slightly-higher prices because the quality of their produce and meats were noticeably (I’m talking LEAPS and BOUNDS) better compared to the other grocery store options in my area. BUT NOT ANY MORE FOLKS. The first time I did my shopping after they rolled out their new Savings Salute program I almost kissed the bag boy. I saw a difference in my bill right then and there. Less money weekly on groceries means more margaritas on vacation, am I right?!

Schnucks Collage

Finding the ingredients for this recipe at my local Schnucks seriously could not have been easier. Walk in, grab a few peppers and an onion from the produce section, turn the corner to grab a pound of lean ground beef, then head to Aisle 3 for your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (we like it HOT) and brown rice and you are DONE. I’m here to make your life easier guys, it’s what I do.

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Here’s a more official shopping list for you:
4 Green Peppers (the bigger the better!)
1/2 White Onion
12 oz. Can of Tomato Sauce
8 oz. Can of Mexican Style Diced Tomatoes
1-1.5 lbs. Lean Ground Beef (or your ground meat of choice)

Schnucks Collage 2
Here’s what to do with all of it:
1. Finely dice onion
2. Brown onion and meat in a large skillet (seriously make it big)
3. Drain meat/onion mixture if needed after cooking and return it to the pan
4. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the pan and let it simmer for a few minutes
5. Cut off the top of your peppers and clean out the inside. DON’T cut them vertically! You want them to be able to stand up on their own.
6. Fill peppers with meat mixture and place in your slow cooker
7. Cook on high for two hours or low for fours hours
8. Sprinkle a little bit of mozzarella on the top and enjoy! Yum.

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21 Day Fix Meal Details (Per One Pepper)
2 Green
1 Red
1/2 Purple
1 Yellow
1/4 Blue (if you use a sprinkle of cheese)

What are your favorite slow cooker recipes? Let me know in the comments! And make sure you check out the Schnucks Savings Salute site to keep up with all of the low prices at your local Schnucks.

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Linking up with Coffee with Caitlin, September Farm, Meet @ the Barre, The Grits Blog, Liz, xoxo Rebecca, The Diary of a Real Housewife, The Slaughters, Leanne, Lory, Jenna and Two Thirty Five Designs.

THE WEIGHT STRUGGLE POST + A GIVEAWAY

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*Do you ever start writing a post and it turns out completely different than you originally planned? That’s what happened here. My apologies. 

The weight struggle post. Does it make you want to roll your eyes reading that? Another blogger struggling with her weight.

Truth? I’m not sure if I think it’s cliche to talk about your weight struggle OR being the perfectionist that I am, it’s just really hard for me to admit that there is one area of my life that just cycles in and out of control. Probably the latter if I’m being honest. Even though it is 100% obvious to everyone looking at me now compared to looking at me a year ago that I’m in the middle of a weight struggle saying it out loud makes it so much more real. Like I’ve failed (again). Is there any worse feeling in the world?

I have been through it all when it comes to my weight. One of my earliest memories of elementary school (third-ish grade at the most) was an “exercise” we did in the middle of class where a few people stood at the front of the room and the rest of the class had to make comments about things that we all had in common or things that were all different about us (really not sure where the teacher expected this to go besides south but ok…). Someone said “None of them are fat – except Rachel.” Umm, heartbreak. Even for my 9 year old self. Heck, my 27 year old heart breaks for that little girl. (Side note: I was chubby, at the worst. Not morbidly obese like some of these sad babies you see now.)

Fast forward to high school where I wore sweatshirts to school EVERY DAY because I was so insecure about the fact that I was still a little chubby. Enter competitive cheerleading. Turns out, bouncing around for multiple hours a week was just what I needed to shed some of that weight and become slightly more self-confident. Go me.

Fast forward to college, moving out, fending for myself for dinner every night, cheerleading career over, drinking…the whole nine yards. I gained all the weight back plus some a lot. About two years in I took a break, headed to Vancouver, BC to nanny for my cousins, had all the time in the world to work out at the gym my aunt and uncle paid the membership for and I could walk to from their house. Surprise, surprise I lost the weight again!

A year later I came home to mostly the same things I left but, desperate to not gain the weight back, I developed an eating disorder. I wouldn’t eat, and if I did eat I would eat “too much” and promptly go it throw up.

Around that time I started seriously dating my now husband and like, you can’t have an eating disorder that you expect to keep secret in a serious relationship. My weight went up ever so slightly (and I fought every day to keep my food in my stomach) before I realized that is just not what I wanted for my life.

So I engrossed myself in eating healthy and working out. I wanted it so badly to become my new lifestyle and it was for that five(ish) year period of my life. Fast forward to last summer, planning a wedding, buying a house, getting married, adopting a dog and I got off track AGAIN. I’m sitting here now and I still can’t believe I let my weight out of control like it is AGAIN.

You might be thinking “Dang! This girl is vain worrying about her weight so much” but it’s really not that. My worth comes from Jesus, I have a husband who loves me and thinks I’m beautiful, and I have more family and friends than I can keep up with. My life is not lacking in meaning because I feel like I’m overweight – I don’t want it to come off that way. Here’s what I do know. I am not the best Christian, wife, sister, daughter, friend, WHATEVER I know that I can be in the mental place I go when I’m feeling bad about my body. I have spent the last six months trying to make small lifestyle changes (no soda, making healthier dinners) in hopes that those things would bring the changes I was looking for. They didn’t.

If you are a regular around here you might know that I am in the middle of a health and fitness challenge called the 21 Day Fix. To me? It’s not a quick fix (though the results I’m seeing are definitely coming quickly than I thought they ever would) it’s a lifestyle change. Being conscience of the food I’m putting in my body, getting proper nutrition and working out thirty minutes a day in the comfort of my own home. Not to mention a community of people in the same boat as me lifting you up and ENCOURAGING me on this journey.

Part of the challenge is access to a private Facebook group where we check in every day, share our struggles and triumphs, post recipes that we are loving and just generally support each other for the entire 21 days. Without this group I would have no doubt skipped a workout (or two) or maybe been a little more lax in my eating. It has really provided the accountability I personally need.

I’m no where near where I want to be yet so I’m going to keep going. Would you like to join me? I 100% believe in this 21 Day Fix program but maybe you just want healthy eating and working out accountability? I’m starting my first group October 12th and I would love to have you join me. Fill out the form below so I know you are interested and we will chat about the details!

*Keep scrolling for the giveaway 😉

Want to join my next Fit Challenge (or just want more info)? Sign up here!

 

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 On a completely unrelated note I’m taking part in another awesome Facebook group right now where I’m connecting with some other really awesome bloggers. Check them out below and win yourself some cash!


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Linking up with Annie, Natalie, Joey and Amanda.