1.31.2014

Five on Friday + a GIVEAWAY



Happy Friday! It's a great day here at JNSP, so let's get to it, shall we?

-ONE-

It's Kyra's birthday! We always start birthdays with a special breakfast (sometimes homemade, sometimes store-bought), and of course, there are presents involved, as well as dinner out somewhere. We're going to Villa Farotto tonight for dinner (I found a Groupon!), so I'm super pumped about that.

Yes, I love celebrating birthdays, but I'm also looking forward to just being able to spend quality time with Kyra. We don't see each other much throughout the week, so Friday nights are all for us.

Happy happy birthday, my love! You are loved more than you know.

-TWO-

I ran last night for the first time in a LONG time, and it felt great! I started with a half mile warm up, ran a very slow mile, and cooled down with a half a mile. It may have been only 2 miles, but I am so prou of myself for being able to still run a mile without stopping.

-THREE-

This article. Such a tragedy, yet heroic and inspiring at the same time. We need more people like this little boy who gave his life trying to save his family from a fire.

-FOUR-

I l.o.v.e this song! It's kinda cliche, but it really does make me happy.

Happy by Pharrell Williams on Grooveshark


-FIVE-



Jane Not So Plain is a January sponsor for Holly's blog, Where We Can Live Like Jack & Sally. Because Holly loves you all so much, she's giving away a $100 Target gift card to help get her sponsors some traffic. Head here to enter for your chance to win!

And, thanks to everyone who is now following JNSP because of Holly! You guys are awesome, and welcome to my little corner of the internet :)




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1.29.2014

Women's Wednesday

Well, Hubby Jack has his own, sassy version of Women's Wednesday, but I'm stealing the name and going in a different direction! For my version of Women's Wednesday, I am going to share pictures, articles, issues, etc. that will empower us, enlighten us, and help us stay true to ourselves in this crazy world we live in.

-ONE-

Lupita Nyong'o

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Can we just talk about how FABULOUS she has looked on the red carpet this awards season? Simply stunning! She's a fresh face and has taken Hollywood by storm with her elegance and amazing dresses.

-TWO-

Aerie

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I came across this article on Mashable, and it is such a great read! I love that Aerie is taking a stand against the unachievable standards set by the media. Way to go, and you've made me a loyal customer!

-THREE-

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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So not only is he cute as pie, but he's a feminist, too! I like that he doesn't point fingers and isn't being accusatory. He just encourages us to be aware of how people are being portrayed and form our own opinions about it.





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1.24.2014

Weekend ON



Holla for a dolla, honey boo boo child, it's FRIDAY! I'm triple dipping today for link parties because once again there's just too much randomness going on in my brainz. Let's get this party started, shall we...

-ONE-

FatChick2FitChick

For Follow Through Friday, I'm celebrating the start of "Biggest Loser" at work. We weighed in yesterday and will weigh every week through the end of April. They're doing prizes for most pounds lost, as well as biggest percentage of weight lost. I'm pretty excited about it and happy to have the extra motivation. My work BFF is doing it too, so it's nice to have someone to chat with and support along the way. My goal is to lose a pound per week, so at the end, I should have lost at least 12 pounds. It doesn't sound like a lot, but 12 lbs on a 5'4" frame makes a huge difference!

-TWO-

I got my planner back from Office Max today, and I have already started writing in it! For less than $6, I got the front and back covers laminated and the whole thing coil bound. I still want to add a couple things, like tabs on the month pages, some elastic to keep it closed while it's in my purse, and maybe a little elastic loop to hold a pen.

Regardless, I am really proud of how it turned out. Sometimes (ok a lot of the time), my DIY adventures don't turn out how I envision them, but this one did so it makes my heart REALLY happy!

-THREE-

Over the next week, we will be celebrating my Aunt's retirement, my best friend's birthday, and Kyra's birthday. Such a happy time, and have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE birthdays!?

Pictures to come!

-FOUR-



This girl. She lays like this for hours on end just waiting for someone to rub her belly. And, I always tell her that it's not lady like to lay like that, exposing her parts and all, but like a typical teenager, she doesn't listen :)

-FIVE-


Dust off your dancin' shoes!

Timber - Pitbull & Kesha by NewThingRadioWeb on Grooveshark





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1.23.2014

Guest Post at Oh My Handmade Goodness

Today, you can find me guest posting at OMHG as part of their #storiesforstephanie series. I'm sharing my journey with depression and anxiety and how its ok to lean on those around you. While the journey started with sadness, it is now a journey of hope and happiness.

Read my post here.



Check back here tomorrow for my first Follow Through Friday post!






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1.21.2014

Tech Tuesday: Installing a Twitter Widget



I'm excited to announce ANOTHER new series here on Jane Not So Plain called "Tech Tuesday!" I mentioned awhile back that I am a social media coordinator by day and that some of the things I've learned through my job I've been able to apply here on JNSP. And, I think it's only fair that I share my knowledge with you guys. Remember, we're in this DIY life together!

To kick off this series, I want to show you how to set up and install a Twitter profile widget on your blog side bar.

-ONE-

Go to your account settings page on Twitter, then click on "Widgets" in the left-hand menu.




-TWO-




Once on the widgets page, click on "Create New."

1.20.2014

Maker Monday

I'm excited to kick off a new series here on Jane Not So Plain called Maker Monday! A few Mondays a month I am going to share my various and assorted crafty adventures with you guys. Some may include a full on tutorial, but others may just be projects that I created from things I found on Pinterest. Either way, I hope you enjoy and leave inspired to get your DIY on!



For the first edition of Maker Monday, I am going to share Christmas ornaments I made for my girlfriends who got married this past summer. Why am I sharing a Christmas-related project? Because if you want to do this, you'll need to remember to hang onto the wedding invitation or program!



You may have seen this type of project floating around Pinterest, I know I did because that's where I got the inspiration for these!



Here's how I made mine:

Supplies

  • Clear ball ornaments
  • Wedding invitation or program
  • Satin ribbon
  • Self-adhesive Rhinestone letter
  • Self-adhesive rhinestones
  • Scissors
  • Thin, round stick or pencil
Directions

  • Cut the invitation or program into strips. I cut them so that you could read names, location, etc. 
  • Roll each strip around a stick or pencil. Again, I tried to roll them so that you could read names, date, location, etc. through the ornament. 
  • Gently remove the metal cap, and insert each rolled strip into the ornament.
  • Decorate ornament as desired. In my case, I added either an initial or individual rhinestones to the ornament. 
  • Replace metal cap and hanger. Add ribbon to the wire holder and tie into a pretty bow.
  • Wrap and give!

Easy peasy! And, such a special gift for a recent bride!




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1.17.2014

5 Fab Valentine's Day Finds

Whoop whoop, it's Friday! What's on your agenda for the weekend? Anything fun? Tonight, I think Kyra and I will just hang out at home. Tomorrow during the day, my mom and I are going to check out the Loop's Ice Carnival, then tomorrow night, I will be working at le Trainwreck. Sunday will be for meal prepping, organizing and getting ready for the week ahead.


Today, I am once again joining the lovely ladies for 5 on Friday! This week, I am sharing my favorite V-Day finds. Love is in the air people, so get excited!

-UNO-



I love this banner from the Bekah Jennings Etsy Shop. It's fun and kinda flirty, and these types of banners can be hung lots of different places around the house.

So side story...

I have a faux mantel above the TV in the living room. When it got hung up, there ended up being too much space between the shelf and the TV. Since this happened, I need something hanging off the front to reduce the appearance of that space. For Christmas I used garland, and this would be perfect for Valentine's Day!

-DOS-

First of all, I love slouchy, oversized sweaters like this. Second, this Knitted Multi Heart Sweater is not so in your face Valentine's Day which I like. It's simple and sweet.

-TRES-

I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like Chocolate Covered Strawberries. To me, they're a staple for Valentine's Day. They're decadent and a special treat!

-CUATRO-
someecards.com - Just a reminder that your Valentine's Day plans for me will be broadcast in real-time on at least three social media platforms

Yes. Just, yes.

-CINCO-





The Love Poems of Rumi would be a great gift to give your significant other! This book would be fun to keep on the coffee table or the bookshelf to be re-read every year during this season of love.





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1.16.2014

Thursday Thoughts


Sorry it's been so quiet around here this week. I don't really have a good excuse, I guess I just haven't had much to say. Since I haven't posted much this week, I have a bunch random thoughts built up in my head that I've been meaning to share. So, here's this week's Thursday Thoughts:

-ONE-

I've come to the realization that I am a binge reader. I love to read, but I don't always have a book started or in progress. On the other hand, when I find a book or a series that I love, I will be completely consumed by it until I have finished reading them. I will literally do nothing but read until I am done, then I'm so sad when it's over I don't want to start reading a different book or series right away. It's like I have to give myself time to mourn the previous book or series before I move on to the next.

-TWO-



I just finished designing a planner for myself. I really wanted an Erin Condren planner, but I just couldn't justify spending the money. Problem solved though because I LOVE the one I created for myself. I was inspired by this one on Infarrantly Creative, and made it my own. I haven't printed it or gotten it bound yet, but my pretty planner will be ready for use by the end of the weekend!

-THREE-
Say Something - A Great Big World (feat. Christina Aguilera) by NewThingRadioWeb on Grooveshark

I am loving this song right now. I didn't even realize it was Christina Aguilera singing at first because the female vocals are softer and less powerful than her norm. It's refreshing to see her versatility. Besides that though, I think it would be an amazing song for a moving lyrical/modern dance piece. I'm crossing my fingers that the song is used in the upcoming season of So You Think You Can Dance?

-FOUR-

I am going to start testing my own Bath Bomb recipe and scent combinations. After this testing period, I am going to sell them on Etsy! This is still in the very early stages, but I am excited to see where this goes. I'd love to eventually turn my Etsy shop into a one-stop place for all-things gift giving. I love giving gifts, but I don't like giving things you can get just anywhere. I love handmade, creative, cool items, and I want to provide this service to others.

I am going to start with Bath Bombs for a couple reasons. First, I love taking baths and relaxing, so it just seems fitting that I would make something like this. Second, they are easier to make in bigger quantities and have a quick turn around time.

I'd eventually like to add hair bows and bow ties for littles ones, embroidered leather glasses cases, maybe greeting cards, and whatever else I can think of! If you have any advice, feedback, recommendations, etc., I'd love to hear it!



Alright, I'm out! See you when I see you.





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1.10.2014

5 Random Facts About Me



Woo woooo, it's Friday! For today's 5 on Friday with Darci and the girls, I am sharing 5 random facts about moi:

-ONE-
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I am obsessed with typography. I could spend hours on dafont.com searching for the perfect typeface. I love pairing fonts and playing with the image they contribute to where they're placed. Honestly, I think the font can make or break graphics. #truestory

-TWO-

I eat at Chipotle AT LEAST once a week, sometimes twice. I don't even want to know how much money I have spent there in my lifetime thus far.

-THREE-

I always have earrings in. Most likely you'll catch me in one of three pairs of studs: pearls from my dad, antique-looking diamonds or black diamonds, both from Kyra. But, if I am getting dressed up, they will most likely be dangly and/or sparkly.  #mamalovesjewelry

-FOUR-



Speaking of jewelry, I also almost always have on a ring or two. I have about 4 or 5 rings that I keep on rotation that are special to me:

  • Pink sapphire and diamond ring from my dad for high school graduation
  • Pearl and diamond ring made from a necklace that my mom and step-dad gave me when they got married.
  • My "with me" ring that matches a keychain that I gave Kyra for Valentine's Day one year. It comes from a poem by E.E. Cummings. Similar here.
  • Antique spoon ring. My mom always wore one when I was growing up, and now I have one, too.
If you couldn't tell, I love wearing jewelry that has special meaning. It could be cheap costume jewelry, but if it has special meaning, then it will be close to my heart.

-FIVE-

And now, my favorite song of.all.time. in honor of #backthatazzup.

I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston on Grooveshark





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1.09.2014

Skinny Pumpkin Spice "Latte"

Anyone who knows me knows that I l.o.v.e. pumpkin spice lattes. While the real thing is pretty heavy on the calories, my lightened up PSL "latte" satisfies the craving with almost zero calories!



Why "latte" and not latte?

A latte is technically made with espresso and steamed milk, but my "latte" is made with regular coffee and almond milk.

Ingredients:
  • 10 oz. medium roast coffee
  • 1 T. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 packet sweetener of choice
  • 2-3 generous shakes of Pumpkin Pie Spice
Directions:
  • Add almond milk, sweetener and Pumpkin Pie Spice to a coffee mug.
  • Pour brewed coffee into the mug and stir.


That's it! Enjoy your skinnyfied Pumpkin Spice "Latte"!





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1.08.2014

So What Wednesday


Life After I Dew

Today, I am saying so what if...

  • I was supposed to start VB6 on Monday but that didn't happen. We got snowed in and haven't had water for 3 days in the apartment, so it got put on hold for a hot minute.
  • I'm still a bit crabs. I learned how to turn off the main water line while the busted pipe was "raining" freezing cold water on me. I haven't been able to completely warm up since!
  • I keep chanting "It could be worse" in my head. Yes, it sucks that we haven't had water for three days and now have a busted pipe, but neither of us is hurt, we have heat in our apartment, and food to eat.
  • I was a little excited about being back in class last night. I took a couple online classes recently to free up some time, but it was kind of nice to be back in that routine of being in class and meeting people. Here's to hoping Advanced Corporate Finance doesn't kick my booty!
  • I (literally) just now learned the keyboard shortcut for adding a space between bulleted lines with out the bullet. (It's shift + enter, btw.) Mind = blown.



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1.07.2014

Snowmageddon 2014

Just popping in to let you know that it's been a cluster f**k and half in the STL the past couple days. Not only did we get about 10" of snow with the coldest temperatures in the last 20 years, the water went out in our apartment yesterday. We went to stay with mom last night, and it was nice getting that unexpected time with them. But, this morning, it took an hour and a half to get back home, then another 45 minutes to get to work because the roads are still pretty bad.

Wah wah wah! END RANT! See you back here tomorrow with a better attitude on my part :)

And because who doesn't love "Surprised Kitty:"





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1.03.2014

5 Things I'm Looking Forward To in 2014


Whoop whoop, it's Friday! (Though, quite honestly, it doesn't feel like Friday. Having a holiday in the middle of the week, 2 weeks in a row messes with you!) Anyway, I'm joining Darci and the ladies for another round of 5 on Friday and sharing 5 things I'm looking forward to this year...

-ONE-


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One of my very best friends since I was born (she also happens to be my cousin) is getting married over the summer, and I am honored that she asked me to be a part of her big day. So not only will the wedding be amazing, this year will be filled with bridal showers and a bachelorette party! So fun!

-TWO-

I'm running my second half marathon in April! Training starts the week of January 13th, and I cannot wait. I never thought in a million years I would be excited to be running regularly, but weirder things have happened!

-THREE-

I am also very much looking forward to seeing where Jane Not So Plain goes. It may be slow, but she's growing, and I am proud of this space. Here's to meeting more friends in 2014!

-FOUR-

Though I took a short break this past quarter, I will be taking a full 5 classes toward my MBA this year. I'm not necessarily looking forward to the homework/time in class, but I am excited to be that much further into the program. If I stay on track (and don't take anymore breaks), I will graduate in May 2016. I could graduate sooner, but I decided to emphasize in Media Communications, so that adds about a year-ish to the program. Woo for growing my brainz!

-FIVE-


It may not be a big event or milestone, but I am always looking forward to spending time with my loved ones. There's nothing better than snuggling up with Kyra J on the couch, playing with my sweet niece and nephew, or giggling with the girls.


Happy weekend! See you back here next week :)






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1.02.2014

VB6 Review

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The last few weeks have been lax (understatement of the year), eating and working out-wise, so my non-scale victories are a tad sparse. BUT, I did finish reading VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health...for Good by Mark Bittman. Not only did I finish reading the book, I also started working on 2 weeks worth of meal plans following this method. Combine the two, and we have a solid NSV on our hands!

Background

Mark Bittman has been a food writer for years and paid little attention to the food he was consuming until his doctor told him that he was pre-diabetic and that he needed to become vegan. Bittman didn't see how he could go completely vegan in his line of work, so he came up with a compromise. Thus, VB6 was born. After following this method for a few months, all of Bittman's bloodwork came back clear...no longer pre-diabetic and normal numbers.

Gist of the Book

The book is divided into two parts: first, the idea, philosophy, and why it works; second, a meal plan and recipes. It's all about balance; VB6 emphasizes eating tons of fruits and vegetables, consuming moderate amounts of whole grains, and having "treats" after 6 pm. Treats include meat, dairy, desserts, and any other food you wouldn't eat during the day.

My Thoughts

I love this line of thinking: you won't feel deprived because you never eliminate entire food groups. I've said it before, but I don't get nearly enough vegetables in my diet, and I think this is a good way to change that. And, this type of eating is sustainable. It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle.

There's also an underlying positive impact of VB6 that Bittman touches on that I think is important, and it's the effect we have on the environment by consuming loads of animal products every day. We will eventually run out of resources to maintain the amount of animal products we consume. By eliminating some of these products from your diet, you are lessening the burden. The nice thing too that Bittman points out is that since you are purchasing less meat/cheese/dairy, you are able to purchase better quality products in smaller amounts without increasing your grocery budget.

Overall, I really like the book and will be giving VB6 a try. Like I said, I have already started making 2 weeks worth of meal plans, which will start on Monday. I'm excited for this lifestyle change, and I can't wait to share my thoughts and progress about being a "flexitarian!"




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1.01.2014

(Mostly) DIY Goals for 2014



I love trying my hand at new things, especially of the DIY variety, so I thought I'd share some of the projects I want to take on in 2014:

-ONE-

Sew a men's tie.

-TWO-

Piece a quilt top. I'd love to do Thomas Knauer's ABCQAL.

-THREE-

Turn my IKEA Lack tables into these beauties.

-FOUR-

Make at least 5 items that can be donated to charity.

-FIVE-

Finish my craft room. Projects include: organizing all the things, hanging a giant peg board, mounting a TV, and turning one wall into an inspiration board.

-SIX-

Sew/make something with the sole purpose that it is for me. I rarely make things just for myself to enjoy, there is usually an ulterior motive, like gifts, my job, etc. This year, I want to make something just for me to enjoy!


Other, non-DIY goals for 2014:

-SEVEN-

Lose 15 lbs and keep it off.

-EIGHT-

Keep the "Christmas spirit" all year long.






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