Health.

 

I got quite the shock this weekend in regards to my health. Well, I would like to say that is was a shock, but I am honestly not all that surprised. I got my labs back from my yearly doctor’s appointment to find out that my cholesterol is way high. I mean scary high. It is simply unacceptable for a 26 year old to have numbers this high.I’d been hinting to my hubs for a while that I really felt we need to make some changes to our diet and exercise routine but like most things, it is easier said than done. But now there is not really a choice.

I’ve spent a few days reading about cholesterol, a healthy heart, and researching some of my favorite foods and their cholesterol levels. I am sure this will be a popular reading topic for me in the next few months. The funny thing is, if you eat at home you are not going to have huge cholesterol spikes, unless of course you are eating lots of meat every single meal.

What was shocking was when I started looking around at some fast food restaurants and other restaurants and seeing what cholesterol lurks in their food. You know everybody talks about how bad the fries are at restaurants, now don’t get me wrong fried food in general is not healthy, but trust me when I saw you would be surprised to see how little cholesterol, if any, there is in an order of fries compare to those chicken nuggets.

Needless to say these first few days I have been days of hunger but overall I am feeling lighter and better. Not to mention my poor tummy that is always upset, is feeling a lot better.

Leave any of your favorite low cholesterol meals down below for me! I need all the inspiration I can get. ūüôā

Jade

Money Saving Tips for Travel & Life

Hey everybody! I just wanted to share with you all some great websites, apps, and tips for how to save money for travel.

My top money saving tip is Ebates. I was super skeptical about using Ebates because it seems that there has to be a catch but I’ve been using it for months now and there is no catch. Ebates gives you cash back on your online purchases through thousands of websites. You just have to¬†begin your shopping experience at Ebates then go to your desired website. Every website has a different cashback amount and there are deals you can use through Ebates. Give them a try and check them out through my link. If you use my link you and I both will get free cashback! ¬†https://www.ebates.com/r/BJADED2?eeid=28187¬†

My next tip is using a credit card that earns you airline miles. These airline miles add up quickly! Especially if you have any big purchases coming up (make sure you use Ebates too!) or you pay your bills through this card, your points will add up quickly. Make sure that you research your cards carefully, you do not want to get a card where the airline miles expire.

Ibotta is my next tip. Ibotta is an app that earns you cashback. I recommend using Ibotta prior to going to any brick and mortar store. See what stores are offering what deals and activate them on the Ibotta app. Next you will head to the store and purchase these items. You will scan your receipt and then earn cash back on the items that you purchased. This app is super easy to use and you get money back for the items you are already purchasing! Try my referral code and will both get cash back:  plicodg .

Secret Flying is my new favorite website. This website posts flight deals for all over the world. To be honest, I thought this website was a hoax but I tried duplicating their flight deals and they all worked. These flights are crazy cheap too. Check out the deals here http://www.secretflying.com/  .

I hope that these tips help you save money & travel more!

Jade

Cheap Flight Alert!

Y’all there is a crazy good deal going around online right now. You can fly from Atlanta, Georgia to Amsterdam for $372 to a bit over $400 dollars this spring. American Airlines is the one running the steal of a deal. Look for travel beginning March 1 ¬†till the end of May. Hurry because seats are going fast!

 

Lost.

Do you ever have mornings were you just feel completely and utterly lost? Thinking over what could have beens, what did not happen, and what the hell I am doing now.

Being lost creates such a lonely sadness that can really ruin your day. I truly hate this feeling. Where do you go from here? How do you move forward when you feel so damn lost.

Best books of 2016

I cannot believe how quickly 2016 came and went. It was such a busy year, especially for books! I love this little chart that Goodreads made for my year in books…

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This year I read 106 books which was 6 books over my goal for the year. I read a total of 32,091 books, wooza! That is a lot of pages. My longest book was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I re-read this book since my husband was reading it for the first time and I remembered how much I adore this series. Any Outlander fans out there?

Let’s get down to the books that made 2016 a great read! I broke down my books in to categories to try and wrap my head around all the great, and not so great, books that I read this year. I hope you like it. ūüôā

Best Cookbook

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Thug Kitchen 101  is easily my favorite cookbook of the year. I have been following Thug Kitchen for years and own every single one of their cookbooks. #thugkitchenjunkie I love that this cookbook not only promotes healthy vegan eating but it also teaches you how to make delicious vegan meals fast af. If you are looking for some healthy new meals that you can make quickly you should check this book out! I should note, if you do not like profanity this cookbook is not for you.

Best Thriller

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My favorite thriller of the year is The Good Girl. Y’all this book is crazy. I don’t want to give any of the story line away because of the plot twists but seriously if you like thrillers, check this sucker out!

Best Book of the Month Book

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The Woman in Cabin 10 was my favorite Book of the Month book. I could not put this book down and was constantly on edge about where the story was going to go. In this book journalist Lo Blacklock is given the assignment of a lifetime, to sail on the first voyage of a luxury cruise line.Little does Lo know that her world, that is already turned upside down, is about to get even crazier. Hang on for the ride!

Best Collection of Poetry

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Milk & Honey was my favorite collection of poetry this year but to be honest I loved all the poetry I read this year. I just found Rupi Kaur’s writing so beautiful. Funny story, I requested some of my poetry books through my work’s InterLibrary Loan (ILL) system (for those of you that do not know I am a librarian and instruction designer by day!) and some people in the office just happened to flip the book open to one of the more risque poems and were wondering what in the world I had ordered. Woops.

Favorite Series

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The Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter. I cannot get enough of Karin Slaughter. I know that I have talked about these series before on my blog so I will keep it short and sweet. If you love thrillers check out this series.

What were you favorite books of 2016? I can’t wait to hear about them below!

2016 Wrap Up

2016. Man did this year fly by fast. I know on the world scale 2016 sucked. We lost so many creative souls, so many innocent lives, don’t get me started on the election, the list could go on. But I wanted to take a moment and reflect on what 2016 was for me. 2016 was good year personally and these are the things I want to remember about 2016. (Note: I won’t be forgetting the hardships that the year faced, in fact it just makes me want to fight harder for equality and those with out a voice– but I want to focus on some positive aspects of the year in this post!)

January

We rang in the new year with my bestie up in North Carolina. It was so fun because we never go out for New Years. Later on in the month we traveled to see friends who relocated by the coast. It was a cold trip but so much fun.We also had game nights with friends and wished for some snow flurries.

February

On Valentine’s Day we got to bring home our pup, Luna! Although having a puppy can be trying at times, she has really brightened up our world. It sounds silly but I had no idea you could love a dog so much!

March

I got to witness my best friend finding her wedding dress! It was such a special occasion to be there and watch her find the dress that made her feel like a princess.

Chris, my parents, my brother, and I all traveled to Hawaii. It was such a special trip to be there and see my brother perform at Pearl Harbor. My mom has always wanted to go to Hawaii so it made me so happy to experience it with my family. Hawaii is also where Chris and I went on our honeymoon so it was nice to be back almost 3 years later in paradise. It truly was a wonderful trip.

April

We visited Charleston with Chris’ family and family friends. We had a great time camping with our family and it was so nice to take Luna around Charleston. The camping trip wore her out as you can see.

We celebrated Chris’ 26th birthday, Chris’ dad’s birthday, and our 3rd wedding anniversary. Luna graduated puppy school and had her first beach trip. She loves the sand but not the waves, ha.

We also got to watch one of Chris’ college friends get married in Charleston, in the same chapel we got married in! There is nothing like being reminded of your own wonderful wedding while watching friends make the same lifetime commitment.

May

Poor Chris made the mistake of taking me to Hawaii on our honeymoon and we happened to still be in Hawaii on my birthday. Now it seems like we are always doing something extra special on my day. I got pretty lucky! This year we planned on celebrating by going camping on the lake as fate would have it Luna was going through a bark.the.whole.entire.night.phase. It was awful and we did not want to subject other campers to her bad behavior so this year we got to celebrate at home.

We celebrated my dad and brother’s birthday this month as well! Luna got to enjoy all the puppy snoballs she could eat. She will give you the puppy eyes to get yours too.

June

In June one of my dear friends came home for the summer after living abroad for the past 9+ months. I was so happy to have her home. My brother graduated from high school, which still blows my mind!

We also went camping with some friends and our pup on one of the hottest weekends of the year. I hope we didn’t scare them away from camping.

July

In July we made a huge dream come true. We bought our very first home! I am so thankful that we were able to purchase a home and even more thankful that we had the support of our family and friends. It was a stressful process but totally worth it! We started a garden as quickly as we could. Luna wasn’t feeling too great for a while. It turns out she has quite a few allergies. I am so glad she isn’t getting sick multiple times a day anymore.

August

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My baby brother started college and I got to celebrate my bestie during her bachelorette party at the beach! My sweet Momma also celebrated her birthday this month.

September

September kicked off our first time doing season football tickets with my parents. It was such a fun experience tailgating and watching the games with them. Chris and my dad got way into the games. We also got to watch Ethan march during the halftime shows.

We spent Labor Day weekend in Chris’ favorite tradition: at the Bojangles Southern 500. He has a blast that weekend and I just read lots and lots of books. ūüėÄ

October

October called for my favorite season, fall, lots of football games and watching my bestie marry the love of her life. It was such a fun night celebrating them and I could not stop crying all day. This was also the month that Hurricane Matthew hit. It was so scary but I am glad that we did not have any damage.

November

November went by so quickly. My in laws came to see our new home and we got to take them to a football game. Luna got spayed and was so derpy during recovery. I cut open my cornea…with my own fingernail…who does that? But my favorite part was going to Disney world with Chris, my in-laws, Chris’ brother Chuck and his wife. We had a great time celebrating Thanksgiving at Disney and even got to see some of our extended family. It was only my third trip to Disney and my first time going as an adult. It was so much fun and I cannot wait to go back.

December 

December always flies by doesn’t it? I really love the month of December and decorating for the holidays. Typically we spend 30+ hours in the car visiting all of our family but this year Chris had to be close to home for some projects going on over break. So this year we got to enjoy Christmas in our own home and just get some time to relax together. Our holiday break flew by and it was filled with friends, family, lots of trips to the dog park, and lots of love. Luna also celebrated her first birthday. It is hard to believe she is officially one!

What was your year like this year?

 

 

The Happiness Planner

2017. There is nothing like a new year. A fresh start. So many possibilities. Dreams to dream, plans to make, and a year of potential. This year I wanted to start out with a fresh new inspirational planner. I use a Lilly Pulitzer Planner for work. I’ve used Erin Condren planners but I needed something new. A vlogger I follow posted about The Happiness Planner and I knew that I had to give it a try.

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The Happiness Planner is like a journal and planner all in one, which is just what I need. I love that The Happiness Planner has guided exercises, see an example here, that you complete before using this planner. I found this so helpful. It allowed me to reflect on the things that make me happy and the things that make me sad. It showed me what I needed to incorporate into this new year and what to leave in the past. I cannot speak highly enough of the front pages. My friends love it too!

Each day you have room to reflect on the day and to set the tone for the day. I love that this promotes overall happiness and growth. My husband loved the layout that he requested a planner of his own!

I encourage you to check out The Happiness Planner and their printables. It is seriously a planning game changer!

What plans are you making for the new year?

November Books

November was a busy book month! I set a goal to read 100 books in 2016 and started to worry that I would not meet my goal so I really kicked up my reading in November.

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This month I discovered Karin Slaugher. I read her book¬†Pretty Girls in 2015¬†and was floored by the story line. Silly me never looked to see what else she had written until this fall. Now if you are not a fan of murder mysterys this is not the series for you. The murders that Will Trent and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation solve are pretty horrific. ¬†I unknowingly started in the Will Trent series, which is fine, but it is much more enjoyable with if you start from the beginning with the Grant County series. ¬†Trust me, you won’t regret it. You cannot put this series down. I am only one book away from finishing the Will Trent series! The last book in the series is¬†The Kept Woman and it just came out in September of 2016. I sure hope there are more books in the series!

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Molly on the Range is another favorite book from this month. This cookbook is written by the blogger Molly Yeh, her blog is mynameisyeh. This was so much more than a cookbook. Just like her blog, Molly fills out the book with stories about her life. I have never read a cookbook that was hard to put down until this one. I cannot wait to try out some of the recipes!

What have you been reading this month? Don’t forget to follow along on Goodreads.

September Books

I’ve been slacking off on my reading this summer but I have been making up for it this past month.

What Remains of Me
It seems like my theme for this month was dirty family secrets. This book had some of the craziest and sickest secrets of them all. This book explores the life of Kelly Lund. Kelly spent most of her adult life in jail for¬†a murder¬†she¬†committed¬†as a teen. Many view Kelly as a stone cold killer but throughout this book we learn of Kelly’s kind heart and loyalty to those she loves. Kelly is the ultimate protector. Hang on tight as Kellly learns of deep family secrets that will keep¬†unveiling¬†till the very last page.

The Woman in Cabin 10 (Book of the Month Book)
This book is the stuff of my nightmares. Lo is a journalist in London and has been given an assignment that could really boost her career. Unfortunately for Lo, she stumbles on to a murder and no one will believe her. This book explores mental illness, love, and loyalty.
Something I did not like about this book is the author left some story lines alone that I found extremely important. (Spoiler: What is up with both Lo and another passenger on the ship being robbed prior to departure?! What is the reason behind her getting robbed prior to her assignment?).

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Let’s be honest, like most millennials I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I was a little unsure about this book/play the moment I heard about it. I really hated the Epilogue of the 7th book. I feel like our friend JK really rushed the ending of the series; like she wanted to wipe her hands of the whole thing and move on. So I was very surprised that we were revisiting some of our favorite characters in this new book.

Unlike my other Harry Potter adventures, I was able to put this book down. I had to keep making myself pick it back up. I was not invested in the story and I honestly found the whole thing to be a stretch. The story added no value to our world of Harry Potter and honestly I could have done with out the entire thing.

That said, I would probably see the play to see if it brings any magic to it, but all in all I am not a fan.

The Silent Sister
This book. Oh man. I checked this book out on a whim from my library’s ebook collection and I am so glad that I did. Can you imagine going your whole life thinking your sister died to find out she is still alive? And that is not the only family secret lurking in Riley MacPherson’s life. This book is so good because every family has secrets. Many kids grow up and realize they do not know their parents at all, which is exactly what Riley learns. I really enjoyed this book!

The Cutting Season
This book is set in the American South during the 21st century on a plantation. Although this book is a murder mystery I found this book extremely interesting from a cultural stand point. The book is a quick read but it is worth checking out!

The Couple Next Door (Book of the Month Book)
This book was just okay for me. The story line focuses around a couple, Anne and Marco, and the kidnapping of their child. I could not put it down because I wanted to find out who would kidnap their sweet baby but the book had too many unrealistic twists and turns.

What have you been reading this September? Remember you can follow along on my Goodreads account here.

House Hunting Tips

I know, I know. Talking about buying a house on a travel blog. But hey, we all need a home base. Chris and I had really been longing to have a place of our own. We were very surprised that we were able to buy a house this summer. Being relatively young, this was a very new process for us. We quickly learned that buying a house is hard. And not to mention stressful. In the end, of course, it is all worth it but I am here to help keep you sane during the house hunting process!

  1. Take a look at homes for sale in your area. This will help you get an idea of what you can afford.
  2. Decide what area of town you want to live in.
  3. Make a wish list but keep it in realistic.
  4. Make a list of no’s. These are things that you are not willing to budge on. For example: refusing¬†to live in an area with a bad school district or refusing to buy a home with only one bathroom.
  5. Research housing assistance programs. There are tons of housing programs out there!
  6. Start the pre-approval process
  7. Begin looking at homes
  8.  When looking at homes take lots of pictures. The homes start to blur together so it will help if you have pictures to look back on.
  9. Also take lots of notes about the house! You will be glad that you have those notes.
  10. Take measurements of the rooms. Our realtor kind of laughed at us the first time we busted out the measuring tape but it really helped us out in the end! I do not visualize size very well so this was a life saver for us!

What are your biggest house hunting tips?