Monday, October 18, 2010

How You Can Help!

Happy Monday!

Sometimes Mondays are just DULL. Right? Well today, you can do something to spice things up. What's that, you ask? Go shopping!

My cousin's family is working through the process of adopting a child from China. As you probably know, this is an extremely pricey process. So much money has been provided thus far, and this is the home stretch. Help them meet that goal in the following ways:

1. make a purchase from this Etsy shop. If you do that today, Monday, October 18, you can know that 5$ of each necklace purchased is going to the fund to bring home SarahJoy this Winter. Take a look: the necklaces are cheap (mostly 10$ or less), and you can get one for yourself, or one for a little friend. Just do it!

2. Another great way to help the Sanzone family is to shop Hip Mom Jewelry and enter code Sanzone1010 at checkout. The family will get 30% of all purchases. This site has cool jewelry for moms, but also some really beautiful other things, including stuff for athletes and other folks! So take a look, there are some lovely things, and you know some of your money is going to bring a little girl home to her family.

Enjoy the shopping, and remember the Etsy deal is TODAY only so go check that out for sure!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Month Down.

Today marks the end of August, and with that, the end of my first month of doing Crossfit.

So far, I've loved the crap out of it. I can tell I'm strong, and I think my body is loving the challenge of a different workout every day. My weight is down a bit, though that may be due to a whole lot of cereal and not a lot of real meals these past three days.

The challenge now is that gym where I was working out is no longer officially in business. I can still go other every few days, but I won't have the direct help of a trainer anymore. I'm feeling a bit daunted by this, but at the same time I know this month of going consistently three days on, one day off, has given me a good knowledge base.

Also, I have lots of friends who are smarty pants when it comes to Crossfit, so I'll have some resources. I'm nervous about being consistent, especially now that school is back in session and at least one day a week is shot (Tuesdays I'm busy from 7:30am to 8:00pm... probably not realistic to get in a workout if I plan to include a shower and decent clothing in there somewhere). I'm such a weirdo when it comes to routines and consistency. I'm glad that school has now started so I can figure out how to create a new routine, and especially figure out how to work in Crossfit. I may have to change up the three on, one off schedule (which I have LOVED by the way... wasn't sure I would because I've always been a five days on, rest on weekends person), but I can figure it out.

Most people I know who have been consistent with cf say that the three month mark is when you wake up and say "holy crap, look at me!" If that's the case, then I'm a third of the way there. I'm pretty psyched.

One thing I've really enjoyed is keeping track of what I lift and do. I know how much I can back squat now, and as I continue to workout and get stronger, I'll be able to measure my improvement. That works for my brain SO well. I like the competition with myself, and being inspired by the ridiculously fit other cfers.

If you're looking to spice up your workout, think about Crossfit. It's So challenging and very intimidating to START, but I'm loving it so far!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Crossfit, Week 2.

My latest exercise endeavor is Crossfit. If you're not familiar with Crossfit, it's basically hellacious. With that said, after the work out is over, it is amazing. After just under two weeks, I definitely feel strong, and empowered.

The idea is that you are fit and ready to do anything you want—any athletic activity or challenge you face should be doable. I LOVE that idea. 

I have been thinking about starting Crossfit for several months since many of the most fit people I know do it. It is intimidating at first because the WOD or Workout of the Day can often seem like it is written in code. I've been able to workout at a Crossfit gym and that has helped me learn the correct form, and the girls there have been great about pushing me.

Check out to see the WODs posted. They post the workouts at 8pm every night for the coming day, that way you can watch videos and figure out the moves you aren't familiar with.

So far, I'm really loving it. The gym I go to is in a garage without AC, so it does get REALLY hot, especially lately when the heat index has been above 100 degrees. With that said, it won't always be that hot!

I'd like to start posting about this, and the food I eat. With that said, my food this past week has been TOTALLY uninspired (try chicken for the past 3 lunches and four dinners...blech). You'll hear from me about Crossfit. If you're doing CF, chime in! What is your favorite workout? What do you hate? If you're doing something else, tell us about it... how do you like to burn calories?

Another Plug for Swagbucks.

For the next two days you can sign up for Swagbucks and if you use the code BackToSchool and you'll get 70 points just for signing up!

Basically, you'll use Swagbucks like you do Google. You'll accumulate points, and get to buy stuff with them. I go for the 5$ Amazon gift card which is a measly peasley 450 points. I can usually accumulate that in about a week.

If you sign up through the link I posted below, I get the credit for your referral too, so that is pretty sweet!

Here is a link to some great ways to earn with Swagbucks, or you can check out my previous posts on it.

Click here to sign up! Check it out!

Questions? Send 'em my way.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Product Review: Collapsible Salad Spinner of Wonder!

So I really like kitchen gadgets, as you may know. I haven't had a salad spinner in years, but since I don't go through all that much salad while Matthew is around, I haven't really needed one.

When I started doing the CSA Box this summer, I realized I'd need something to help me dry all those beautiful greens I was getting. So... I purchased a salad spinner at the PX. The one I got happens to be a Martha Stewart, but my clever friend Laura found the same model sans MS brand on amazon (and guess what.... she bought that baby with gift cards she earned on... you guessed it! Swagbucks!).

I wanted to review this product here because it is pretty much amazing, and it appeals to me on several levels. If you've thought about a salad spinner (as I know so many of us are often pondering the ways of salad spinners), you should consider this one!

Things I love about it:

1- It is collapsible! The inside bowls both collapse in so it is about 2 inches thick- hello storage friendly!
2- It contains a colander, a bowl, and the lid that lets you spin. This is a spinner, but also a colander, and a bowl you can serve the salad out of. The colorful accents (and the ring around the outside is the part that collapses) makes this fairly aesthetically pleasing, particularly for such a pragmatic tool.
3- To spin, you pull a little string! It is WONDERFUL! The wretched spinner of my childhood was a sometimes-broken gizmo that often pinched fingers and frequently incited infantile rage at my duties of salad spinning (though, to be fair, also sometimes ignited wonder at the sheer genius of spinning things in tupperware cupboards)
4- There's a break! Press the button, the spinning stops, pull out your clean greens with minimal sheen, and be on your way to stuffing your gullet with crisp, vitamin packed leaves.

5- The part that folds in to make this so compact is really pretty smooth, and after using it a few times, the collapsing process has become easier. I was wary at first, but it's easy to clean, and I love that it stores so compactly.

Essentially, for 20$ you're getting three things in one, and you're getting glorious, non-watered-down lettuces and whatnots. Enjoy!

Go buy it! Hey look, I even put a link up! (If you are inclined to buy, you should buy it via this link- I'll get a little pat on the back via the Amazon Associates program. Also, if you're at Ft. Campbell, they do have this in the Martha Stewart version which is usually $24.95, but fancy that, the military price is the same as it is here on Amazon.)

Another Thing.

So I don't want to harp on ol' swagbucks TOO much, but I wanted to mention something.

I get the 5$ Amazon gift cards because they seem to be the "best deal" in terms of how many swagbucks you need to purchase them. You can use as many as you need on a given purchase, so it works out.

As of today, I've made $25 worth of Amazon cards! Woot! Thanks to you guys who signed up and are searching and winning for helping me-- a great way to earn more is to refer your friends.

Another way, once you've been doing it for at least 7 days, is to fill out the Trusted Surveys profiles... you'll get points for each one you fill out, and then you can start doing surveys too, which, when you qualify for them, usually yield over 100 points.

Anyway, keep at it! I try to make 25 points per day- usually 4 points from the freebies you get by clicking through the special offers, accessing the surveys, taking the daily poll, and earning the point for using the tool bar. Then I go for 2-3 searches that yield a win, and that's it! It works well, and so far I'm investing little time for free money money money.

If you haven't tried Swagbucks, I recommend it. There are a lot of other things you can do to get bucks, but those are the quick, easy ways! Search away!  Go HERE to sign up!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Win Swagbucks.

I'm so excited to see some of you have signed up for swagbucks! Here are the basic ways you can win:

1- take the daily poll
2- click through the special offers- you don't have to accept any (I never do), but when you do, you are awarded 1 sb
3- download the tool bar, and open it once a day- you'll get 1 sb
4- once you've been a member for 7 days, go to the Trusted Surveys... you don't even have to take the survey to get a point! Then you can do different things in that tab to earn major sb's.

5- Finally, the main one is search! When I first started I wasn't sure I got the concept. The concept is this: search! you don't have to click any links to win. When you win, make sure you click the confirmation so it sends you an e-mail... this ensures you're not a robot, and will put the sb's into your account.

There are other ways to win them-- you can do shopping through their site, etc. I haven't done that, but I bet it works!

I usually do the four things listed above every day, and then I try to search once in the morning, once around lunch, and once in the evening to win. Often, I just go for once a day and try to win something. While you don't often win much, they add up, slowly but surely!

Also, if you have twitter and fb, they post special codes and other ways to win through those outlets.

Anyway! Enjoy! If you haven't signed up yet and want to, GO FOR IT!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Search & Win

I've invited some of you to use Swagbucks through e-mails, but I wanted to put a plug for it here. Swagbucks is a search engine that rewards you for searching with points. Those points add up, and you can"buy" things with them through the swagstore. So far, after using the site for about a month, I've won $15 in Amazon gift cards! I spend a total of about 5-10 minutes a day searching on it, and I've benefited already!

It's not something for people who won't put in a little time, but if you have a few minutes a day, or you normally search things on google, just go ahead and search through Swagbucks!

The nice thing is, if you sign up through my link, I get all the points you win TOO. So you get them, AND I get them, and we all get free stuff! I have lots of books to buy for Matthew, so getting them for FREE is pretty sweet!

Anyway, if you're interested, click the link and give it a whirl. If you're not, no big deal. If you want more info, please feel free to e-mail me or comment and I'll respond! (I found this via one of the coupon sites I use, and my fancy frugal friend Laura invited me, so she's getting all my points!) Click the links I've embedded here and that will let me get the credit for your referral. Thank you!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

What I've Been Eating.

Here are a few things I've been eating (from the first two weeks or so of the deployment):

First, this is my most recent vegetable box (I got it a week ago today). Some of the fruits of this have landed in some great meals!

Here's a "wedge" salad I made with some fresh blue cheese dressing.

Basil Pesto made from the basil from my box.
Salmon, salad, and sweet potato with cottage cheese.
Leftover salmon on a salad.
Buffalo chicken pizza... a little one 
(I didn't eat all of it, as even though I divided the dough 
recipe and saved half of it for another dish, it turned out big).
I made these lettuce wraps. WOW. LOVED them, and they're so good for you!

Ooo, steamy!
The recipe, if you're interested, is here. I did it with ground beef cause that's what I had, and I added some chili flakes for heat. I ended up using wine because I had a bit, but the other liquids would work. This was easy, tasty, and good for you- try it!
A close shot of the flank steak I grilled up for the following salad:

Flank steak with arugula, parmesan, and chive dressing. 
Really yummy, and the recipe is here (it's a Cooking Light recipe!).
This is what I did (a week or so later, for the record. I don't eat pizza every night!) with the other half of my dough recipe. Margherita pizza, and MAN it was good! YUM. It's pretty basic, but the recipe is here (Cooking Light again! The June issue is FABULOUS). My only change was that I added the basil to cook the whole time, and I had grape tomaties, so I just sliced them really thing.

This was a green salad with "green ranch" dressing. It's a basic ranch but then blended up with a bunch of herbs. I didn't love it, but I shouldn't be surprised since I added all the herbs that I did, many of which I don't love (cilantro, etc).
Man, this was SO easy, and so great. A Peach Galette. I made a half recipe, and it was great. I'm sure it's even better when you do the full recipe since baking can be funky. The almond crust was SO good. The recipe is for an apricot galette but I like peaches better, so voila! Really yummy. 

My folks made this recipe and loved it, so I gave it a try. Shrimp and bean sprout egg rolls. They were easy and fun! I used smaller shrimp and cut them up into pieces cause I don't like big bites of shellfish. Also, I used spicy chili sauce (Sriracha) and that DID not work. WAY too spicy. Definitely get the sweet stuff, unless you're looking to clean out your nasal cavities. Ok, gross, but for serious.

So, that's the summary of the first two weeks or so. I've been doing the South Beach diet lately, so some of these things are off the list for now. I tell you, I keep thinking about the Margherita pizza. It would be a great appetizer too. The steak dish was awesome too... I was happy with all of these! Let me know if you try any of them! I'll have another round of pictures in a while.