Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday Five

One | West Palm!
We go to West Palm every year, with Blake's family. The group has been different everytime, but we have so many wonderful memories there. Usually we go the last week of July or the first week of August - but this year we were in Europe! So, it was a real bonus for us to fit in a long weekend in October. The weather there is perfect this time of year- still hot, but the sand doesn't burn the bottom of your feet like it does in July.

It was all too short. I felt like I had just started to relax and it was time to go. 

Two | Duck Boots
Obsessed. I bought these duck boots a few weeks ago when they went on major sale. $30 for monogrammed boots?! Heck yeah. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about the orange bottom, but they are not even that bright. It's a cute pop of color, and might be mistaken for brown. 10/10. 

I watched a Youtube video on how to do the laces, but I did a bad job. It's not cold enough for these yet, and probably won't be for a little while-but I'm excited! I purchased these socks to go with them.

Three | Matchy Matchy
People make fun of us all the time for matching, but I swear up and down it's not on purpose! It's crazy how often Blake and I are wearing the same colors without planning it. I think it's just a sign we are on the same page. 

Four | Maple Glazed Salmon Recipe
Buying an air fryer is one of the best decisions I've made all year! It has made cooking so much more enjoyable, and we've made a bunch of new recipes lately. A real winner is this recipe for Maple Glazed Salmon from SkinnyTaste. (One of my all time favorite cooking blogs.) If you need an idea for dinner, make this! (There are instructions if you do not have an air fryer.) 

Five | New Diffuser
Loving this diffuser I picked up at Target! I wanted a replacement for the diffuser I keep in my bathroom, since the previous one bit the dust. It ended up being much larger than I expected, and didn't fit on the bathroom counter. I swapped it with the one in our living room, and I'm so happy with it. 

It's got a huge capacity and will diffuse basically all day. The light started off really bright white, and has actually gotten more yellow over time-which is what I wanted in the first place. It has a candle flicker setting, and it looked so strange when the light was bright white. 

Essential Oil Diffuser |

Leave a comment below and tell me what's new with you! Have a great weekend!
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Friday, October 11, 2019

What's Been On My Mind

Often I feel like what I write in a blog post would be what I would share if I were on a coffee date with a friend-whatever has been on my mind lately. That's exactly what I want to do right now. I don't drink coffee, but I do drink hot tea, so I'm going to sip on some while I catch you up on a few things I've been obsessing over lately. (Because I don't just think about things, I obsess.)

I'm so so thrilled to be a runner again. On the blog over the years, (5 by the way! I completely forgot about my blogiversary.) I've recapped various races and fitness goals. In fact, in my office I have all of my race bibs displayed, and I think there are at least 30. So, I guess I've always been a runner. But it's been a very long time since I've felt like one! 

It all started with finding my 30 Before 30 list. I wrote it when I was like 24, and now that I'm 29 I realize how ridiculous my aspirations were! So, I rewrote it. Some of the things on the list remained the same, one of them being running a half marathon. After almost spending over $200 on a Disney race, I found a half marathon in my home town for $40 and decided to sign up. It's in the beginning of February, which gives me plenty of time to prepare. 

I also signed up my reluctant sister and mom. We found a half marathon training schedule and have stuck with it for 4 weeks. I'm super proud. The mileage has been low so far, so we've been working on endurance and speed. It's SO exciting to see progress from run to run. 

Blake and I have always been very inconsistent with our monthly budget. Over the years, we've been really strict, and other times very nonchalant. One of those nonchalant times was in August. After adding up how much we spent on eating out during that statement period, I was floored! It was absurd. Granted, some of that was because I was recovering from surgery, and Blake got take out pretty much every night...but still. Not acceptable in my opinion. 

We had a family budget meeting, which is something that I highly recommend. It was so awesome to get on the same page and take ownership. I really feel like that meeting made us a team in this department. The two of us researched our monthly bills and made a pretty sweet spreadsheet. I'm very pleased with how September and October have gone so far. 

We also took stock of some unnecessary bills. I'm pleased to say we didn't have too many of those, but we did cancel Netflix and our Disney passes officially. (We will be subscribing to Disney+ when it comes out in November though.) I've also been going crazy looking for things to sell for some extra cash. I feel like one day I will be done decluttering, but for now there is always something to be found that I can get rid of. 

Additionally, I went back to using Ibotta after I got lazy with it. In fact in just over a week I had already earned $10. (If you don't already use Ibotta, you can sign up with my link! You earn rebates on things you buy at the grocery store and online purchases.) In fact, I was pumped when I saw you can get cash back on your Instacart delivery! I had no idea that was included now, so I'm happy I got back on the app. (Instacart is something that I will definitely not be removing from our budget!! I actually wrote about how using it saves us money.) 

I also learned about Fetch rewards. Fetch rewards is another app. After you grocery shop, all you have to do is upload a picture of your receipt and you earn points. Sometimes the points are for the brands you buy, and sometimes you just get points for uploading at all. Then you can redeem your points for gift cards. (Good gift cards too, like Amazon or restaurants. Or donate it to charity.) 

I have a referral code for Fetch too: it's DCHUC . Use that when you sign up and you will get 2000 points automatically. 

I've started a new morning routine in the last month that has rocked my world! It has changed everything about how my day goes. Maybe I will do an entire post on it, but in short, I wake up at least 30 minutes earlier than I used to. The first thing I do after brushing my teeth and what not, is go to my desk. First, I read my Bible. I am doing a chronological reading schedule, but very slowly. Right now I am reading about 1 chapter a day, depending on how long it is. After I read, I pray. I've even been writing a few things down to pray for because it's hard to think and pray at the same time. 

After that I get out my planner and write down my priorities for the day. Nothing grand, it's things like chores I need to do. THEN, I journal. 

Journaling is something I have done literally since I could read and write. I get major second hand embarrassment thinking about the things I wrote in my Winnie the Pooh diary. But, it's also interesting to see what 11 year old me wrote on September 11th. Anyway, when I started blogging, I stopped writing. Mainly because I've been writing digitally for the past 5 years. But, there are SO many things I cannot write on a public forum like this.

I randomly bought a hardback journal from Walmart and just started writing one day. It's been so therapeutic and I'm very happy to be back at it. I'm not writing anything groundbreaking. Most of the time it's boring, even to me. But, then, one day I was having a particularly challenging time expressing myself about a certain situation that came up in our life. I was feeling a lot of feelings even I didn't know how to explain. Writing them out helped me so much. I was able to figure out exactly what I was feeling, and then, the act of writing it down helped me work through it without making it a whole thing out loud. It was so helpful. 

This morning routine in general has been helpful. It sets me up for a great day every day. I just love that. 

Alright guys, since this was a coffee date, now it's your turn to catch me up! What's been on your plate lately? Are you adopting any new habits or routines? Give me all the tips you have if you are a runner, are a good budgeter or have journaled regularly! 
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Monday, September 30, 2019

Just Three Things

One// New Cup
My friend Dana started a business making epoxy tumblers, and I had her make one for me! I was inspired by the Happy Stripe pattern from Simplified, and Dana knocked it out of the park. A cup this size is only $30. Thought I'd mention it in case you are on the hunt for a great gift! Here's her page.

Two// New Recipes 
Have I mentioned that I purchased an air fryer? If not, I have to tell you how much I love it. It's been a complete game changer in the kitchen! We use it almost everyday. It makes vegetables taste so much better. I recently tried a recipe for 2 ingredient bagels in the air fryer, and they turned out so good! 

The recipe is just 1/2 cup self rising flour and 1/2 cup low fat greek yogurt. Mix it until you have a dough ball, then divide into 4. Shape into a bagel shape, and coat with a beaten egg. Top with whatever seasoning you want. I went with everything seasoning. 350 degrees for 10 mins! These end up being about 150 calories a piece, which is about half of a traditional bagel. 

2 Ingredient WW bagels in the air fryer

2 Ingredient WW bagels in the air fryer

The second recipe I made in the oven, but you can certainly make a smaller batch in the air fryer. This recipe is for a healthy pumpkin muffin! They are only 65 calories per muffin. Or about 100 if you add chocolate chips, which I did. 

Here's the recipe:
1 15 oz canned pumpkin
1 cup egg whites
1 cup flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
3 tbsp stevia
1 tbsp baking powder 
(chocolate chips are optional)
Mix and pour in a muffin tin. Makes 12 muffins. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. 

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

Three// Closet Clean Out
I am on a mission to continue decluttering, and my closet is one place I can always find things to get rid of. I did a massive clean out, and even said goodbye to some pieces I had been holding on to. It was encouraging too, because I found some shorts I had set aside because they had become too tight. Now they fit like a glove! 

I ended up with an entire rubbermaid and a TJ Maxx bag full of clothes. My sister got several pieces, but, I also posted quite a bit in my Poshmark closet. Head on over to take a look! 

If you aren't already on Poshmark, you can use my code KESWOOLSEY for $10 to use towards clothes. I also do big discounts if you purchase more than one item. 

Let's Chat! Leave me a comment below with something you've got to share! Buy anything new lately? What about new recipes you've tried? Do you have an air fryer?! Tell me what you think!

Monday, September 23, 2019

4 Days at Disney | Magic Kingdom After Hours | First Time In The New Star Wars Land

With our annual passes expiring at the beginning of October, we wanted to go out with a bang and do one last big Disney trip! We are not renewing our passes this time. 2020 has a lot in store travel wise, and we needed to make some adjustments in the budget. Florida Residents can pay monthly for their passes, and even though that's helpful, you still spend so much money on hotels and food. 

Before our passes expire we wanted to make sure that we got to see the new Star Wars land area and visit each of the parks one last time. We had an awesome long weekend and definitely got our money's worth. That being said, I think I've got Disney out of my system for a long time. 

Day One | Magic Kingdom After Hours Event
19,872 Steps
After we did After Hours at Hollywood Studios earlier this year, I am convinced there is no better way to do Disney. It's a seperate ticket, but you get access to the park from 7pm to midnight. Usually the other guests leave when the park closes around 9. At HS we only waited for one ride, but when we did Magic Kingdom this time, we did not have to wait for anything. Walking on every ride was awesome, especially when the wait times were over an hour when we arrived at 7. 

Additionally you get free bottled drinks, popcorn and ice cream. We both brought backpacks to fill with drinks for the rest of our weekend. 😂 Both of us attempted to take a few pictures to show how empty the park is, but taking night photos on your phone is always a gamble. 

We had basically every ride to ourselves. Our own boat on Pirates...Smallworld...

Day Two | Animal Kingdom & Disney Springs
16,381 Steps 
We kept it pretty easy going on Friday, since we were up so late the night before. Mostly, we were very excited to do the new animation class. They used to have this class at Hollywood Studios and it was our favorite thing to do. So we were thrilled they brought it back to AK! 

After doing a few rides, we actually headed back to the hotel for a nap. This is my absolute favorite way to do Disney. Go early, go take a nap and then do something at night. Our hotel was right next to Disney Springs, so we walked over for dinner. Before dinner we looked in a few stores, and then we went to Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar so Blake could try a bourbon flight he'd been looking forward to. The bar is based on an Indiana Jones character, which we loved. 

Then we went to Paddlefish for dinner, which has been a restaurant we've been wanting to try for ages. It was fantastic and the service was top kotch. 

We got the tableside lobster guacamole, and holy moly, it was fantastic. It serves maybe only order it if you have a big group! I felt like I needed to be rolled out of that restaurant. 

Day Three | EPCOT Food & Wine and A Sneak Peak at Batuu 
21,965 Steps
We wore matching shirts on Saturday! I loved how these turned out. Having a Cricut made me ultra critical of the shirts I saw at Disney this trip. I saw SO many shirts that were improperly pressed and looked reallllly bad. I really hoped that those poorly done shirts were DIYs and not something that people spent a fortune on through Etsy. 

We arrived at park opening and that helped up get several rides done without waiting. Early bird gets the worm! Epcot on Saturday is not really the best plan. It got busy really fast. We were still able to try several snacks and drinks at the festival booths though! It was probably the first time we actively went around with the passport and picked out things we wanted to try. 

This was the day I realized I was getting Disney out of my system. We had kind of done everything we wanted to do by 11am, but we had a lunch reservation in the UK pavilion that we had to stick around for. I have been wanting to try it for a long time, and hadn't been able to get a reservation. We randomly looked on the app one night the week before and one had become available. Turns out the food was just okay and it was so expensive. 

One of the problems with Epcot is that they do a tiered fastpass system. You can only get 1 fastpass for a 'big' ride and then your other two are 'smaller' rides. It makes it hard to do a lot, because it forces you to wait in hours long lines to ride more than one big attraction. /rant. 

Blake had been *dying* to go to see the new Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios. We originally planned to do it on Sunday, our last day, because we had just recently done everything at HS with After Hours and could devote a whole day to that land if we wanted. Well, after basically becoming bored at Epcot, we decided to go anyway. 

I'm SO happy we did because it was fantastic. After feeling bored earlier in the day, it was so refreshing to do something new and to see what all the fuss was about. We were able to grab a few HS fastpasses and did those rides after checking out the new Star Wars land. 

Can we just compare the smiles between the photo above, and the one below?! He was so stoked. I was too honestly. Disney knocked this area out of the park. The details are amazing. Saturday was a bit crowded, but not bad at all. We were able to do some exploring, try some food and ride the new Smuggler's Run ride. It's a blast. The wait time hasn't been outrageous either. 

You really feel like you've stepped into a movie. They've got characters walking around and interacting with guests. We were able to distract some Stormtroopers to help Rey and Chewie get back to the Falcon. 

Day Four | Hollywood Studios 
13,889 Steps
We found out that our hotel had Extra Magic Hours, which allowed us into the park at 6 am. Only a handful of people were up that early, and those who were in line that early were heading straight to the new SW land. We decided to head to the Toy Story area and do Slinky Dog and Toy Story Mania while they were walk on rides. Toy Story land heads right into the Star Wars area so it was a great strategy.

We grabbed breakfast at one of the Star Wars restaurants, which was really good. And then we rode Smuggler's Run again. It's just so fun. Especially when you have a group that's really into it. 

Then Blake went full on geek and bought a lightsaber. I have to admit, it's pretty cool and the shop you buy them in is amazing. 

The blue milk is actually tasty, even though it's a bit different. I enjoyed it. Plus you can get it with alcohol...which we didn't, since it was only like 8am. 

After riding a few other rides with fastpasses, and seeing the Indiana Jones show, we ate at The Brown Derby. This was a restaurant we never wanted to eat at before because the menu never looked  that appealing. We ended up there last year randomly, and now we are obsessed! They have a famous cobb salad that is to-die-for. 

It was about 2 or 2:30 when we decided to head home. Because we had arrived at the park so early, we were parked in the first row. It's so nice when you are ready to leave and you aren't parked miles away! 

I loved getting home before 5. Our pugs were excited to see us and we still had plenty of energy to unpack and get things cleaned up. We had such a nice weekend together, just the two of us. We also left feeling really satisfied with using our passes. We definitely got our money's worth. Those passes are so nice for free parking and you get a pretty decent discount on merchandise too. But, we feel ready to let them expire and put that money towards other things. 

If we do get the itch to go to the parks next year, there is a cheap Florida resident 3-4 day pass that I feel is a great deal. Alternatively, we may just do After Hours. The parks are just more fun after dark, and the temperature is always so much better. (Although I didn't mention that this weekend had the best weather!! It was warm, but very very breezy!) 

Alright, that sums up our last Disney trip for awhile! I hope you had fun following along. Leave a comment below if you've been to the new Star Wars land, or have a Disney trip coming up soon! Tell me what you have planned trip wise in 2020!