Sugar Free? How about, Fun Free?

…and my pants shouldn’t be this tight.

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I’ve been asked by many how I’m going through this transition of eating whatever TF I want, to actually being fairly disciplined in watching what I am eating. (Fairly is the key word in this)

Well, friends, it’s no easy task. Anyone can just log onto Instagram, Facebook, Twitter..and find a diet that is way too difficult, too unobtainable– and then give up after posting 3 pictures of themselves at Whole Foods Gluten Free aisle. Let me tell ya: Gluten Free ain’t something to do unless you have an issue: then by all means, be gluten-free.

I’ve met with dietitians that measured me, weighed me, and given me diets: and I really am happy to say that it actually worked. To get a plan was expensive but worth it. To have someone rooting in your corner was expensive and nagging…but WORTH.IT. I’ve since moved to a different state, lost a couple of years– but now, I’m back on track. (BTW pah-leeze don’t get mad at me because you think I’m wrong) BUT I am able to say: Sugar free, for me, works da best.

For three-five whole days I thought about decapitating everyone around me. I thought about food constantly, and only wanted just about everything that you walked past or saw on my Instagram feed. I did the opposite of exposure therapy.  I brought my own lunch to work, didn’t leave the office to walk past the various places with treats, and did not eat out for the first week. I needed a full on detox, from temptation and food. I made sure to drink water, not deprive myself of meals, and not load up on a ton of fruit. (You’ll just want something sweet)

Going grocery shopping when you’re deprived of something that seemed like my whole body was made of was the worst day of my life. I looked up recipes before I went and jotted down what I needed. My dietitian said to read every single label– read everything before you put it in your body– and obey the serving size. LOL have you seen how much cereal you should be eating? Jokes. Did you know cereal isn’t allowed on my diet? Lol. Jokes again. I went through aisle after aisle in my grocery store picking up things I thought looked “heathly” and putting them back down after seeing 12 grams of sugar in one serving. By the time I got home, I was crying because I came home with chicken, peppers, cauliflower, and quinoa. My dad actually made fun of me because I was crying about food. Which, in hindsight, it’s terribly funny because I was crying about food. After a week of dieting and taking pictures of every single portion I ate, I met with my good ole friend, Maria. She combed through my camera roll and gave me props or feedback about each plate.

“What kind of sauce is that?”

“Yea, your grains should never be so much that they are falling off the plate.”

“Are you sure that’s all you ate?”

She never made me feel bad about my image.  Everything she said was for me to get healthier. It was never about those measurements. After three weeks, I told her I could actually wake up with my alarm. I saw a difference in how my legs and knees felt. Yes, I had lost some inches around my waist- but I initially went to her because I felt sick, and at 24, I didn’t think I should feel so tired I could hibernate through the winter.

Fast forward to this year. I woke up the week of January 17th and felt sick. My baby was whining in the next room to get picked up and start the day- and I just couldn’t do it. I got up, sluggishly walked into his room, could barely pick him up, and unhappily started my day…at 8:30am. I knew I needed to change myself. If not for me, but for MP3. My whole life I wanted to be a young mom, because I felt like I would be able to chase my kids around and be the best mom possible…at 27, I shouldn’t be this slow. My knees shouldn’t hurt his bad..and my pants shouldn’t be this tight. (So much drama)

I knew what I had to do. After MP3’s breakfast, I made myself an Eggo waffle with Nutella and had my last meal. I packed my lunch (LOL if you know me), dropped the baby off at his grandmom’s, and pranced off to work feelin’ like a million bucks. I later got a granola bar that had 10 grams of sugar in it and said, “OK, now this is my last meal.” And, I meant it. I’m older, wiser, and have much more willpower than I used to. It’s because I know what didn’t work the last time. The last time around, I just said “just a taste” to everything after 6 months, and then it became…”well okay.”

This time, I came armed with a nagging husband, mom, and boss who all throw curveballs my way and then praise me with how well I’m doing. I’m doin’ this for me, but also for my instagram feed. (Just kidding)

If you want a friend to watch food with, or diet with–LMK. I’m not a professional, but I’m a friend!

 

Love you, mean it.

K

 

 

Disclaimer: Like honestly, go to a dietition or something if you need a food plan and don’t take my word as bible… because mine was designed around me…and they know some shit and went to school for this. This is for motivating the crap out of you.

 

 

Target Practice

Hey ya’ll,

It’s your favorite flake here– just trying to get through toddler life and also take showers– so writing kind of took a back seat. Sorry, so..sorry. But, life..right?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking I need to get writing again, and I’m going to take their toddler free week (thanks Mom and Dad!) to get on here and do my thing, but sleep..right?

There’s a ton of things I’ve been doing to better my life, which I’m super excited about. I stopped eating sugar (No, I’m not going to be annoying about it), I quit smoking (for good this time), and I finally got a handle on my work/life balance. What I haven’t done? Wrangled my anxiety and have a handle on my finances– because Lilly is cute, Longchamp has sales sometimes, and anxiety is the best friend that just won’t.stop.tagging.along.

But, we all have our issues. If I’m doing right by my body, I can be rich when I’m dead, right?

Today, I came on to tell you all about my frivolous purchase of the weekend from the blackhole many call Target. I haven’t been on the crazy train to Target in a while, but when I saw their new gingham trench, I decided I was going to stalk it until it suddenly popped into my cart and called me mom. Today, it did just that! I got to take the trench home with me along with some mules that make me feel like Steve Harvey. Talk about #sprang

The trench runs super big, so make sure to size down when grabbing this spring essential. The mules can make anyone feel like they have a pair of paddle feet. I had to grab a size 11, when I’m a size 10. Ok, I already have big feet, but still that’s a whole size up! I can’t wait to rock these two with a pair of black skinny pants, a white top and a pop of bright yellow, just to say…bzzz. They had some great items in their women’s section, especially their newest diversion from the exit : Who What Wear. It is everything you want for your Instagram-worthy pics for your ~blog~

Speaking of Target in general, they have a whole lot of things on clearance. The Target near my house is kind of sketchy, so I travel the extra 15 to go to the boujee one. There’s clearance sheets, lamps, water bottles, curtains, and floor mats. Just what ever domestic diva needs in her life. Just don’t get too out of hand in the first couple of aisles. It’s literally a warzone in there.

 

Love you, mean it.

 

K

 

 

 

5 Go-To Recipes Under $20

Just like Taylor, I’m back.

Needed a bit of space– blank space if you will.

So, what have I been doing? Well, I’ve been:

Trying to make sure my kid stops being so mobile, haven’t put on make up in like a month, starting lusting over the color mustard, and making my lunches at home.

Yea, that’s right. It only took me about 3 years working in the same damn mall to realize that the food is actually shit there, and maybe it’s the reason I can’t seem to lose any weight. Bitter? Yes. Truthful? Yes.

Let’s just start with the choices that the state of Pennsylvania gives you as a whole: Applebees, Longhorn, Chickies (it’s good I get it, but like..not every Friday), Grand Lux, etc. The list of chains is endless. I guess being from New York makes me spoiled– but I’ll say it again. There’s literally nothing worth writing home about in this part of PA. Sorry, boo…but when you can’t find good Italian food 10 miles in any direction from your house, you start to get a bit irritated.

So, my lovely cook husband has started to whip up some awesome “take to work friendly” lunches and dinners. My problem with making lunches at home is that my hands are so full from my purse and my coffee that I usually don’t have a free hand to carry Tupperware in and out of work. I like easy, and simple, and lazy. Here’s a list of my favs and links to their recipes:

  1. Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
  2. Paprika Parmesan Chicken
  3. Avocado Caprese Chicken Quesadilla
  4. Coconut Chicken Strips
  5. Avocado Egg Salad

If you wanted me to give you the recipes, you really are just reaching for me to do more work. In case you were wondering, this isn’t a cooking blog. But, alas– all 5 of these have something in common: They are so easy you won’t even feel like you’re really cooking– and with a 10 month old, I don’t really have enough time to cook a 5 course meal. Mostly because I’m too busy watching him crawl into my dog’s crate and try to eat one of Marlow’s 10 thousand tennis balls. Motherhood looks good on me, right?

Pro tip: Want to use Avocado in your lunch? It’s actually a freaking process– being that avocados oxidize like, super quick. You could put lemon juice on them or just leave the pit in to try to prevent oxidation. BUT I usually just wait to cut my avocados until lunch time–which is extra, and the ladies at the food court think I’m crazy when I ask them to cut an entire avocado open…but I do what I have to, amirite?

Want another pro tip? Make sure to remember to bring your containers out of your car. I know people probably adult much better than me, and that seems like a no-brainer, but just take the piece of advice and file it under your “Alright, I’m def more sane than Kate” tab. You may need it someday when your car smells.

 

Anyway, check back later this week (if I remember) to check out some new posts!

 

Love you, mean it.

K

 

Best Planners out There?

I must say, I’m still not a planner person.

So, we talked about stationary…a basic girl’s most used drug. However, we didn’t talk about their secret weapon: planners. Ugh, not this again…I know, I know. Planner talk means back to school– but with popular brands getting their planner options for the new year out NOW– it’s time for all of you guys to take charge and shop smart for a great planner. I’ve gone through a couple– and I must say, I’m still not a planner person.

Guys, I really try– but I can never seem to keep track of it, or keep up with it as the months go on. Let’s face it, I buy planners because they’re pretty. If you love planners, good for you– because I sure as hell can’t seem to get it together.

Even though I forget about my planners a month into buying them, I’m still on the look out for some bitchin’ ones for you all. That’s right– I’ve been doing my homework, and I must say, we have some pretty steep competition this year.

Here it is, the best of the best planners for everyone out there:

Lilly Pulitzer, kate spade, Emily Ley, Erin Condren

Let’s just talk about these guys for a hot sec, because you know I sprinted to Lilly the day the new planners were released. These are the staples of every instagram worthy post. The artistic details, and beautiful colors, and the cute sayings all make everyone forget about the most important thing: The price. These planners can run you from about $20 for smaller versions to upwards of $65-$70 for a personalized EC. I love to waste money on frivolous items, but that’s just ridiculous. If you need to have your monogram on everything, here’s a pro tip: Go on Etsy and buy your monogram on a sticker for like, $5, and stick it on your $35 Lilly planner. Sure, we all know the paper quality is good– but let’s all face the reality: You’re writing in your plans to get drunk with your one college roommate at 6 and calling your ex-boyfriend at 9. #notapologizing

Target

Sure, the paper quality isn’t like, resume paper..but it’s good enough for what it is. I walked into Target the other day to get cookies (don’t ask) and my eyes caught a huge display of adorable, gold leaf planners. Now, I like a spiral bound notebook..so I can get a bit picky, but these are fairly cheaper than the Lilly that I did end up buying. If you can do without a spiral bound– you have even cheaper picks. They can range between $7- $17 for the dupes of your favorites.

Walmart

Oh, no. No, no, no..I’m not becoming a Walmart person (not that I don’t like it- the prices are bomb, but the people sometimes aren’t) Interestingly enough, the ones that I saw at Target had a fraternal twin at Walmart. If you want a good price, you’re gonna get it here. That’s all I’ll say. I have a couple more jokes, but I’m leaving myself to be unbiased.

Blitsy

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WEBSITE? I’m not too sure about this whole..sticker thing, but the planners are so so cute! Low to mid $20 for these newly found beauties. There are a couple that are in the high $50-$60 range as well, so you do get a variety. First off, they bombard you with coups, and have pretty nice clearance that includes Rifle Paper Co right now!

Passion Planner

Ok, so these all have similar designs on them, but different colors. I’ve never seen these before, but they are super cute and pretty competitive in price. Right now, they have a simple black, purple, blue, gold, pink, brown, and turquoise. The options are straight forward, too. Academic, undated (who does that), and dated.  What I love? The questions that are featured for goal planning. Also, check out their mission statement below:

This is why for every planner purchased, we give one away. We’re more than just a planner company—we’re a group of goal getters making a change in the world. We’re creating something more than a community, we’re creating a #Pashfam that encourages one another to graduate college, land their dream job, plan their wedding, battle depression, overcome anxiety, and achieve their dreams. And we want you to be a part of that.

So here’s to helping more people, together.

– www.passionplanner.com

Since I battled depression for most of my life so far, I felt that this is a super great way to help out, even if they are “just” a planner company.

 

 

Anywho, just know– if you like planners because they’re pretty, you aren’t alone. If you like them because you use them: more power to ya. Just remember, an empty planner doesn’t mean you have an empty life, it just means you can’t get your shit straight to write it all down. (Like me!)

Love you, mean it.

 

K

 

 

Lilly Pulitzer, Emily Ley, kate spade, Walmart. (Links attached)

5 Websites You Need In Your Repertoire

Free shipping is yours for a mere $49..which isn’t hard to do once you find their selection of throw pillows.

We all know I created this blog to get better at saving money, and all I’ve done is help you guys save money while you laugh at my constant regression into Lilly Pulitzer shopping sprees. I’ve been clean for 12 hours at this point, and I’m feeling okay.

I’m here to give you a taste of the good life: 5 ~new~ websites for you to go spend your money at…and maybe feel good about?

The Charity Websites:

Ok, so I have two of these, and I’m not sorry. I’ve purchased from both, and I’ve never regretted it. Reason why? The profits go to something that you support. Each week, Sevenly.org chooses an organization or cause that is in need of support. From the website:

Sevenly makes a pledge of $7 per purchase in its 7-Day Campaigns and 7% for its cause-themed Collections to selected non-profits.

– sevenly.org

Under each cause, the website gives you some info about what you are donating to and how this purchase will help. Here’s what I like: They don’t lie about how much is going back to the cause. They tell you straight up that they do take some of it back in order to maintain the company, etc. If you’re still skeptical: here’s their FAQ.

On to the next: Serengentee.com

“By purchasing fabric from over 25 countries, we support artisans, their families, and ancient fabric making traditions.

And, by giving back 10% of our profits to a diverse range of grassroots causes, we work to improve lives in their communities.” -serengentee.com

You’ve probably seen these a bunch of places, or imitations of the same style. Basically, the founders of this company purchased fabric and patterns from various countries and communities around the world. With that, they used their t-shirt sales to give back to the community that the fabric/pattern came from. Each pattern is so beautiful and colorful. When you select the shirt you want, the information about where the fabric came from is on the page. Here’s my favorite right now.

Marley Lilly

marleylilly.com is one of those websites that you kind of miss when browsing around on the web. Not sure why, because everything is very reasonable and really cute. They even have a “monogram bloopers” on the bottom of the page that is for monograms that they made by accident and put up for sale at a discount. They even have a bridal party section! My personal faves? The 1/4 zip pullover, the baseball hats, and the earrings!

Society 6

Ok ,this place isn’t only on Ebates for a sweet 3.5% cash back, but it has just the kind of stuff that you know you shouldn’t even be looking at! Society6.com is literally the mecca for great prices on wall art, throw pillows, and mugs with smart ass comments on them. They support local artist’s work, and do a ton of collabs with artists, too.

Hayneedle

Ever go into a home goods and think…I feel like I need more? Me too. Here’s where you get it. But more…like much more. You could go crazy on here. If you want bougie for a buck, here’s where it is. Lighting, home improvements, or even just some damn silk flowers– you’re in business. Free shipping is yours for a mere $49..which isn’t hard to do once you find their selection of throw pillows. They even separate product based on styles.

I technically gave you 5 websites already– but here’s another, just for good karma.

Keep

This is sort of a mix of late 2014’s Looksy.com (where did they go?) and Wanelo. It has trending items, gift ideas, and great places to go this week for the best deals. It’s a blog, but it’s great to be in the know. There’s an app you can download so that you can be notified about sales near you, or upcoming deals. They have special deals for subscribers, such as Blue Apron discounts, etc.

 

That’s it for now, hope you go and get your browsing on. It’s okay to spend a little, as long as it’s not on a credit card!

Love you, mean it.

 

 

K

 

 

Thank You Cards

Getting mail in your mailbox, actually touching a magazine or a newspaper…it’s something that I will never see going out of style.

Ah, stationary. According to most, it’s one of the world’s lost arts. As a writer, I find it fairly insulting. Sure, I get the whole “modernization” aka, Evites, not sending thank yous, and e-zines (just to name a few) BUT, it’s a huge part of what I loved growing up. Getting mail in your mailbox, actually touching a magazine or a newspaper…it’s something that I will never see going out of style.

I know for sure, that a blog on the internet isn’t the way to exactly..protest, but what can I say?

In the past couple of years, I’ve attended a ton of weddings, birthday parties, and showers. You know what? Every single one had a mailed invite. What it didn’t have? Personalized thank you’s. More than half did, but there were some that didn’t even sign their name..it just simply said, “Thank you.”

I get it, it’s hard to get yourself together after a huge event and then a possible move into a new home. My thank you’s weren’t even ordered until I got the proofs from my wedding, so I’m not here to throw stones. I will say, it’s kind of a necessity in my book. Take a wedding for instance: Travel plans, buying a shower gift, a wedding gift, hotel rooms, new outfits/shoes for the reception…I mean it adds up to even be a wedding guest, and guests take the time out of their lives to come and celebrate the bride and groom, I think the one thing they deserve is a thank you for spending the day.

After that long winded rant, let’s get to the point of my post:

Thank You’s! My favs right now, and where to get them.

Customized

Tiny Prints, Wedding Paper Divas…you get the gist. These are the easiest sites to get thank you’s in bulk– but you pay the price. A count of 50 cards can run you around $60-$70. The styles are cute, and you won’t get the customization at Hallmark. So, if you got the cash, opt in for this. A site that is customizable but is more reasonable than the other sites? Simply To Impress is cheaper per card than the other popular sites.

Lifeguard Press

Want something bougie and overpriced? Lifeguard Press is your place for all things basic. Not gonna lie, I go to this site all the time– but a set of 10 Thank You cards from kate spade runs you $20. That’s more than getting your name in gold foil from Wedding Paper Divas. They have free shipping, but you have to stalk your emails for promo codes, because they expire quick.

Home Goods

I know you guys are getting sick of me vouching for Home Goods SO hard, but have you ever been in the stationary aisle? Photo albums, gift bags, and a ton of greeting cards. If you’re lucky, there are a couple box sets for cheap. Grab ’em when you see them. They’re useful to have in the house.

Target

I’ve found that Target can be overpriced for some stuff, but depending on the kind of greeting cards you’re purchasing, you can get cards for $3.99 for a count of ten. They have a ton of options, and unlike Home Goods– you can see what they have available at home before you trek out to the store.

Anyway, I LOVE thank you cards. You can get so creative and send out cards for just being a friend. It’s a really nice way to show somebody they are appreciated.

Love you, mean it.

K

 

 

How to: Save Money While Road-Tripping

if you’re driving from Philly to NYC or anything LESS than 5 hours– you’re being selfish. You’re in the car, not the Gobi desert.

I’m not a connoisseur on traveling..like, by no stretch of the imagination. BUT, I do travel. A lot. I drive a ton, and as we ALL know– I’m not made of money. In fact, I’m made of about $100 at any given time, but I make the best of it.

So, how do I do it? TBH, I’m not entirely sure, I kind of don’t check my bank balance until my anxiety gets super high and then I log in with one eye open. I tend to take bets on where I am in my bank account– usually I’m right on the money (lol) but other times, I’m literally shocked.

No but really, I’m pretty savvy when it comes to this stuff. It’s like my bread and butter– only I seem to have a weird problem with bread lately– but seriously. Since it’s the summer, and all you people are out of school and some are out of work for the summer: I bet you one thing: You guys are gettin’ in that car and wastin’ all yo gas.

Drive Smart

This is one place that you can’t fly by the seat of your pants–not only because you’re driving, not flying– but because planning out your route to get where you need to go is essential. I have my ways to get back up to NY, and a back-up way, and a back-up to the back-up. If that’s..backed-up, I deal with the traffic and curse the day I decided to move to PA. If you don’t plan this part out, you can end up driving in circles, getting off at exits and having to repay when you find out it’s wrong, and driving right into bumper to bumper at the GW Bridge.

Fill Up The Night Before

I find this the weirdest of my rituals, but it’s a staple. No, it’s not because someone told me you “get more gas when you fill up when there isn’t any sun out.” (That’s an actual thing flying around the internet.) It’s simply because I’m not in a rush, panic, or waiting until the last minute when I absolutely need to get gas. The obvious reason is: Gas near highways is absurdly expensive. Don’t drive a quarter of the way there on what you had in your tank before you fill up just because you were super excited about getting on the road.

Don’t Drive Like an Idiot

I’m sorry, I just turned into my dad for a sec. But really, DON’T DRIVE STUPID, K? Manage your speed and stop pumping the brake (or slamming). It helps maintain the efficiency of your car. On top of that, you won’t get into a pointless accident because you were tailing someone and couldn’t brake on time.

Don’t Snack Up your Trip

I take my driving seriously. For anyone who has taken a long drive with me knows, we can stop for snacks once and maybe the bathroom if you’re lucky. Listen, snacks and driving are a great combo– but if you’re driving from Philly to NYC or anything LESS than 5 hours– you’re being selfish. You’re in the car, not the Gobi desert. 9 times out of 10, you ate before you got in the car. You’re not going to starve. (Exception: Coffee– it just tastes better if you don’t make it 🙂 )

If you are going on a long trek, pack those snacks. Not only do you not waste needed money, but you are probably going to make better dietary decisions if you already have food. We all know Chic-Fil-A and Cinnabon are super nutritious for your 21-day fix, but let’s get real…packing a portioned out snack is easy and already in your car…unless you forget your food like I do.

Get An EZPass

Stop being an old-fashioned “I prefer cash” kind of person. Cash is king in two places: Construction on your house (great discount) and restaurants. Other than that, I don’t carry cash..partially because I’m terrified I’m going to get mugged. So, here’s the deal. EZPass (or what ever your part of the country calls in..Sunpass, etc) has a discounted rate when you go through a toll, you aren’t always waiting in long lines of cars (unless some idiot texting and driving gets in an EZPass lane and actually just has coins) AND it can be replenished as much or as little as you use it. Just don’t get carried away and volunteer to drive your friends places just because you have a simple out of your hair way to pay for tolls. It can get expensive.

Moral of my long-winded story: driving and budgeting while driving is important. Vacas are fun, and necessary– but it doesn’t mean you have to go all out and go broke, too.

 

 

Love you, mean it.

K