Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Week to Be Grateful

This has been a pretty good week for me.  I'm starting to get busy outside of work with socializing and interpreting.  I have more this coming week and am looking forward to what this year will bring.

Jan 26 - I am grateful that I was able to catch up with my best friend, Jordanna.  She's been busy and it's rare that I get to talk to her on the phone.  It made my day to talk to her.  I was also grateful to catch up with my friend Kate.  I am so grateful that I have them as friends.

Me and Jordanna

I need new pictures of me and Kate!

Jan 30 - I am grateful for going out with a group of people.  I had a great time, got to sign, and hopefully will gain friends.

Jan 31 - I am grateful for having a great time at my friend Reba's Ava Anderson party.  I got chapstick and got some free lotion!  I think I might need to host a party.

What are you grateful for?

"Keep Moving Forward"

People and Food

Meeting new people can be difficult, especially for me.  I love meeting new people and socializing, but I am quiet and observant when I first meet people.  All my close friends who lived in the city with me have moved away to start their dream careers.  I miss them like crazy.  I do need friends I can hang out with.

I was invited out to dinner last night with a group of people.  The group consisted of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing who know sign language so we could all get together and chat with some good food.  I was very excited because I've been practicing interpreting with videos for so long that I don't get to use sign language often on a daily basis.

We went to the Chicago Diner in Logan Square.  I've never been to this one.  It's a different atmosphere than the one closer to me.  This one seems a little more upscale and even has a bar.  The food is still the same and delicious as always.

We shared an appetizer of Poutine which is waffle fries with Teese creamy cheddar, gravy, and green onions.  It was so YUMMY!!  I've never tried it before because it never really appealed to me.  So worth it!  I got the Cesar salad to try.  I wasn't really hungry, so this was perfect.  I didn't end up eating a lot of it, but I took it home to eat later.  Definitely something I'd have again.

The food was excellent and so was the company.  I had such a great time meeting new people and getting to know the person who invited me better.  It was such a fun night!  I'm looking forward to more nights like this in the future.

Have you done anything fun this week?

"Keep Moving Forward" 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Plank Challenge

I am determined to do this!  I am horrible at planks.  I want to improve and be able to do push ups (at least one full push up) by April 1.  Bring it on!!

"Keep Moving Forward"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Vegan Mac and Cheese in a box

I finally found vegan mac and cheese in a box!  I don't crave it often, but sometimes I just want mac and cheese.  But making it from scratch can be a bit much.  I enjoyed this product but I definitely like the homemade version better.

Have you found a fast version of a food that you like?  Or perhaps one, like me, where you just prefer homemade?

"Keep Moving Forward"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Give Out What You Want Back

This one is important for me to remember this week.  I've been feeling like I haven't been getting much back after giving so much.  I have to remember that it's more important to control what you can.  Give out what you want to get back and treat others how you want to be treated.  Be in control of your own happiness and put positive thoughts out into the universe.  Eventually, what you want will come back to you (even how you're treated).

"Keep Moving Forward"

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I've been working a lot this week and forgot to post a lot.  That's why I posted mostly yesterday.  Sorry about the late posts.  It was a busy week.

Jan 18 - I am grateful for a fun night out with Sebastian last night. Had drinks and had a blast.

Jan 20 - I am grateful for time with Sebastian to celebrate his birthday.

Jan 21 - I am grateful for time with a friend.

A lot of Sebastian this week, but it was his birthday and we celebrated.  It was nice to see my friend on Wednesday.  Haven't seen her in a while and it was so great to catch up.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Friday, January 23, 2015

Birthday Celebration and Sushi

Monday was my boyfriend's birthday.  He had to work so we celebrated when we could.

Saturday night we went out for drinks.  Our schedules have been hectic and we've been missing each other a lot.  So going out for some fun was fantastic!  We drank a little too much and just had a blast.

Tuesday night, we went to Sushi Para for dinner.  He loves sushi and needed some for his day.  We brought a bottle of wine and enjoyed some delicious food.

I had avocado rolls, sweet potato rolls, and tofu sushi.  Yummy. 

It's great that I can always find something to eat anywhere.

This wine was really good.

After dinner we watched the new Godzilla movie and had a relaxing evening.  It was a great celebration and he seemed to have had a good birthday.  I certainly enjoyed spending it with him.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Quick Pilates

These are great Pilates moves to strengthen the core for a quick workout.

Have you found any quick workouts that you enjoy?

"Keep Moving Forward"

Reach Out

An important message to remember.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I am Grateful

This week I am grateful for...

Jan 12 - I am grateful for time to draw and relax.

Jan 16 - I am grateful for being able to catch up on sleep.  I've been really stressed out and haven't been sleeping.  I even started to break out and those are starting to go away.

Jan 17 - I am grateful for going out with my guy.  And for making a lot of art.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Friday, January 16, 2015

Christmas Gift ART FUN

For Christmas this year, I received a lot of art supplies as gifts, both from my parents and from my Aunt Brenda.

I got a lot of canvases, paint, card kits, stamps, and animation books.

I practiced some sketches from my animation book.  What do you think?

I got a gift the other day from my cousin Aerin.  She gave me a mug with the letter K on it and a ballerina ornament as my present from last year.  Isn't she a beautiful ballerina?  I love the tutu!  This year, she painted a unique pattern on letters that represent that person's name.  For instance, her fiance, Freddy, got an "F" that was painted like a storm trooper helmet because he loves those characters from Star Wars.  Mine is beautiful with one of my favorite flowers: cherry blossoms!  What's great about it is that Aerin didn't even know I loved them.  It was a surprise for both of us! 

I love how creative my family is.  We never get bored!

"Keep Moving Forward"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Don't QUIT

This post was inspired by my weigh in group (me and four women email each other every Friday to update on our goals, weight loss progress, and give support).

I debated about making this a post or just emailing my group about this topic, but I thought it was a great topic to share.

Many women in my group make comments like, "If it wasn't for this group, I would've gained thirty pounds by now" or "If it wasn't for this group I would've quit a long time ago."

These comments always bug me but I never say anything.  They sound positive but I don't think they are.  I think they are negative on yourself.

YOU made the decision to lose weight.  YOU made your list of goals.  YOU made a plan for yourself based on your specific health status.  YOU.

Yes you talk to others to help you stay on track and to give support.  That's wonderful!  It's a positive step in keeping your goals.  However, we're not standing over your shoulder every second of the day.
Ok, so you had a donut today.  Or you decided to have that second helping of pasta instead of a second helping of vegetables.  That's ok.  YOU made the decision to make healthier options.  YOU made the decision to workout.  YOU made the decision.

Give yourself a lot more credit.  Give yourself a pat on the back.  Why?  Because YOU did it.  No one else.  We are supporting YOU.  YOU do the work.  Not us.

YOU are amazing!  YOU deserve to give yourself the credit.  Be proud of yourself.

I don't believe anyone deserves a life where you feel guilty for eating a cupcake or having that extra glass of wine.  Do an extra workout the next day or eat a salad for lunch instead of that sandwich.  It's all about balance.  Feeling guilty and being negative towards yourself isn't going to help you reach your goals.  KINDNESS will.  Be kind to yourself.  Be forgiving.  Love yourself.  Thank yourself.  Be grateful for being YOU.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Play Kinect for FUN

I am in love with my Kinect gaming system.  I love that it doesn't require you to use a hand-held device like with Wii, which allows for more movement.  I have a couple games that are just that: games.  They're Harry Potter and Star Wars.  I haven't gotten around to playing those yet, but I'm looking forward to trying them out.

What I love about the Kinect is all the exercise based games I can get.  You get in a workout and it doesn't feel like one.  You're just having fun.

I barely can get through two Zumba dances on this game.  It really makes you sweat!

This one is basic dance and just fun to goof off with and have a good laugh.  I think it's more for kids or beginner dancers.  I don't play with this one often.

I love this Biggest Loser game.  You can put in your height, weight, goals, and customize your workouts.  I've done yoga, kickboxing, challenges, and other workouts with this game.  I love it.

This one is fun.  Any game where I get to dance and work up a sweat is good with me.

This one is fun too, especially since it has some different dances from the previous game.

I don't play Kinect as often as I'd like, but when I do I can play for hours.

Have you found a way to exercise where it's just lots of fun?

"Keep Moving Forward"

Monday, January 12, 2015

Almond Dream Bites

When I used to consume dairy, I loved eating Dibs ice cream.  It's little ice cream bites covered in chocolate. I came across Almond Dream Bites in Whole Foods.  I had to try them.

OH MY GOODNESS are these delicious!!  I think they're just as good as Dibs or even better.  They don't melt as fast as Dibs so they're not as messy.  I've only seen them with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.  I've never been a fan of vanilla ice cream, so a chocolate option had my name all over it.

It's a great treat when you have a craving for something sweet.  Be careful not to eat them all in one sitting.  That's very easy to do.  But if you only allow yourself a certain number, you can make them last a long time.

These vegan treats are fantastic.  Do you have any favorites?

"Keep Moving Forward"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Grateful for January 2015

This post is a day late.  I slept majority of yesterday and completely forgot to post what I am grateful for this past week.  Here are my favorites:

Jan 4 - I am grateful for getting a lot of money stuff done today.

(As you know my new year's resolution is to be better with money.  I put the final touches on my money plan and typed it all up.  Now it's time to put it all into action.)

Jan 5 - I am grateful for my date with Sebastian.  Broccoli and cheese casserole, gingerbread with turtle trails ice cream, and Guardians of the Galaxy all makes for a good night.

Groot is my favorite!

Jan 10 - I am grateful for being able to catch up on much needed sleep.

In today's busy world, it's easy to get caught up on a to do list.  I'm guilty of this often.  Sometimes it's important to just let yourself sleep.  Then try to stay on a sleep schedule.  I attempt to get enough sleep so I don't feel like I need coffee in the morning. If I can skip coffee, I will.

What are you grateful for?

"Keep Moving Forward"

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's Eve Celebration and Resolutions

My guy and I spent New Year's Eve together.  He got out of work late but was able to get home in time to see the ball drop in NYC.  Then we headed to Diva, a local thai restaurant and one of my favorites, for dinner.  We brought a bottle of champagne to drink and toast at midnight here in Chicago.  The staff at Diva were so great and gave out New Years hats to everyone!

It was a great way to bring in the new year.

My guy got sushi and one of them came with a flame in the middle! I thought it was so cool.

Now that it's a new year, it's also that time of the year that everyone makes new years resolutions.

I made mine two weeks ago and already started working on it.

So what is my resolution?

To stop living paycheck to paycheck, be more frugal, and save money.

I sat down and went through my finances.  I calculated my income, wrote down all my expenses and how much outside of budget I spend currently.  Then I made a list of goals to reduce finances (i.e. DIY projects, government assistance, etc), made a meal plan, and a list of saving tips.

I also made a goal to start this 52-week money saving challenge.  I will also attempt to do some of it on a daily basis to increase my savings account.

I got sick of struggling, so I aim to fix that and get on my feet financially.

What are your new year's resolutions?

"Keep Moving Forward"

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

30 Day Challenges

I'm a bit obsessed with 30 day challenges.  They are great to add in to your day (when ever you have a free moment) or along with your workouts.  I found these this week on Pinterest that I'm psyched to try!

Remember that no one ever drowned in sweat!

"Keep Moving Forward"

Monday, January 5, 2015


Christmas day, we wanted to make something simple so we could enjoy our day together.  We decided to make Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili from Robin Robertson's cookbook called One Dish Vegan.

It was easy to make and super delicious.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (I found them pre-cubed at Trader Joe's)
1 14.5oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 14.5oz can of crushed tomatoes (I used 2 fire-roasted)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander (I couldn't find this so I didn't add it)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
3 cups cooked black beans or 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I only used 1 can)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring occastionally, until Softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the sweet potatoes, chipotles, diced tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, broth, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano,  salt, and beans.  Stir to combine, then bring to a boil. Reduce theheat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.

Add more broth if the chili is too thick for your taste.  If you prefer a thicker chili, cook uncovered for 15 minutes to thicken.  Serve hot.

This chili was simple and delicious.  I'd recommend making this and it would be great to freeze to eat at a later date.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year's Week Gratefulness

Heading into a new year is a great time to think about what you're grateful for.  My entry for December 31 is a bit long but I looked back over 2014 and what I am most grateful for and then I moved forward in writing what I was grateful for on a daily basis.

Dec 31 - I am grateful for this year.  I learned a lot about myself.  I learned I was strong enough to heal from heart break, that I can forgive, and can let love back into my life.  I am grateful that I gave Sebastian [my boyfriend] a second chance.  He has been wonderful.  We needed a lot of work and TLC, but in the end it worked itself out because we love each other.  I am grateful for my job.  It was a tough year with jobs, but this one allowed me to catch up with bills and to pay majority of my bills off.  I am grateful that I have found amazing ways to be better with my money and am grateful that I have put a lot into affect already.  I am grateful for therapy, for all it helped me to do and to find and for all the tools it gave me.  I am also grateful for being ready to end therapy [after almost two years].  I feel strong, healthy and happy.  I am grateful for my friends, family and my life.  I feel fortunate.  I am ready to see what 2015 brings.

Jan 2 - I am grateful for standing up for myself today.  I am grateful for taking care of myself by de-stressing in every [healthy] way I can.

Jan 3 - I am grateful for finding everything I need for DIY projects (that will save me money in the long run), making a list of supplies, and calculating how much I'd need to save in order to pay out of pocket.  I will save money this year.  I am also grateful that I will have extra time with my guy tonight.

"Keep Moving Forward"

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas Fun

 My parents visited me for Christmas.  I wasn't able to go home like I usually do, so luckily they were able to make a second trip out here.

We went to Christkindlmarket.  There was a video yule log across the street.

The tree at the market.

I love all the beautiful handmade ornaments.

They had a fake fireplace in the hotel my parents stayed in.  

Along with other holiday decorations.

Christmas Eve was Broccoli and Cheese Casserole.

I was able to uncover baby Jesus on Christmas day.

My pickle ornament!

Stockings are filled! 

Santa came!!

My parents got my boyfriend and I a gift for Christmas.  Not sure what it is yet.

Decorations in the lobby of my apartment building.

My dad with his stocking.

My mom with her stocking.

We spent all day with wrapping paper on the floor.

Another tree in the lobby of the hotel.

We went to Magnolia Bakery.  I loved the window decorations and their tree.

It was a wonderful Christmas with my parents.  I had a wonderful time. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!

"Keep Moving Forward"