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New Year's Resolutions Update--October, Really?

30 September 2013

I realize it is still September, but I have a big blog reveal tomorrow so I have to share my New Year's Resolutions progress a day early. Check out my original New Year's Post as well as my JanuaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugust, and September updates.

Resolution 1:
What I aimed for:  I am going to continue my pursuit of a better me by increasing my exercise habits, reducing my sugar intake, cutting carbs and substituting tea for coffee after 8 a.m. I will be working on staying hydrated throughout the day keeping my tummy full and my system clean.

How it is going: AWESOME!!! Over the past four weeks, I've been participating in the Transformation Challenge #shaketochange. I have to attend a BarreAmped class at least 3-4 times a week [which I was doing already] in addition to clean eating i.e. no processed foods, refined sugar or white flour-based foods. I'm already down five pounds since I started! AND, I've got an exciting giveaway of 30 days of free BarreAmped streaming videos coming up in two weeks so make sure you stick around for that!

Resolution 2:
What I aimed for: I am going to reduce my frivolous spending on clothes, coffee, snacks and groceries while upping my personal savings.

How it is going: Mr. Collier and I had a great conversation that embodies how the financial climate is. Mr. Collier: "We have $28 in our bank account. Got to last us until Monday when we get paid"
Me: "Ok. Well, we are down to our last rolls of toilet paper. What's on the rolls is it. So if we have to spend our last $28, we should spend it on that!"

Personal savings wise, I'm doing great! I even splurged and bought new shoes [that's because my old cheapo flats made my feet smell horrible!!!! Trust me, it was warranted.] I've been sifting through my clothing and getting rid of clothes that I hardly wear. Pictures to come on that!

Resolution 3:
What I aimed for: I aim to spend time with the Lord each day in prayer, Bible study and prayer journaling.

How it is going: I am still reading my daily verse on the Bible App on my phone. I was thinking of posting that verse daily as a way of spreading hope and the Gospel to my friends, readers and family.  I'm really digging my Christian radio at work [93.7 The Fish on my iHeart Radio app]. Starting today, I am going to be reading through Proverbs for the entire month, 31 days. 

If you have any prayer requests that I can be praying for you, please email me Nothing means more to me than lifting you up! 

Resolution 4:
What I aimed for: I aim to spend one day per month volunteering in my community and giving my time to those around me.

How it is going: I started volunteering my time towards planning a career event for high school girls called TWISTER (Tennessee women in science, technology, engineering, and research). I participated on this committee last year and it was an awesome day! Also, I started meeting monthly with the high school girls at church and so I'm trying to come up with an event this month! Any ideas?

Resolution 5:
What I aimed for: I am to spend less time and say,"no," to every obligation and spend more quality time with my husband.

How it is going: Things are going super well for us in the marriage department! Tomorrow I start THE LOVE DARE with some fantastic blogger friends. Interested in joining us? Join our Facebook Group and grab the book before tomorrow! 

What do you think are the most difficult New Year's Resolutions to keep?

A sneak of tea tree oil when brushing

26 September 2013

I was beyond bored one day at work and found myself browsing Pinterest of all places [surprise, surprise]! After scrolling through the humor, food & drink, and quotes section I found myself at my favorite place of all time health & fitness. I'm a quarter in to the 12 week challenge and I always enjoy finding new fitness and health things to try!

So I found a pin that talked about the addition of tee tree oil to your toothbrush in addition to your toothpaste. I'm no herbalist or full-time advocate for alternative medicine, but the blog post boasted the effects of using tea tree oil and what it had done to a family's oral health as well as improved dental checkups. I have deep-cavernous teeth often leading to cavities, although small, require fillings at least once a year. I am no stranger to them even though I have a solid oral health regimen. 

I have tea tree oil at home and figured to give this tactic a try. I placed a drop on the brush followed by my normal toothpaste. At first, the tea tree was totally overpowering even with just a small drop. But when it was over an even in the morning, my teeth felt so clean! They didn't have a funky morning breath stank to them. I know, beautiful description right? I am thinking of incorporating this 3 or 4 times a week instead of every day because tea tree oil can get expensive even just using a drop at a time. Does this sound like something you might try? 

Clean Eating Cookie Dough Recipe

25 September 2013

Since I'm clean eating through the BarreAmped Transformation Challenge, it sucks when I have a sweets craving! I am encouraged to stay away from white flour, granulated sugar, synthetic sugar, peanuts--the basic ingredients of baked delicious goodies. 

I had to get creative last night because I was dying to sink my teeth into some ice cream or anything sweet but didn't want to jeopardize my progress. After a little Pinterest searching, I came across this recipe for healthy, no bake cookie dough bites. I used this recipe as the base and put a bit of twist on it.

Ingredients: 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup raw almonds, 4-5 dates, 2 tablespoons water, a pinch of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of dried coconut, & 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

  • combine oatmeal and almonds in a food processor. 
  • add dates and continue to process.
  • add water, cinnamon coconut and maple syrup.
  • roll "cookie dough" into little balls.
  • cover them with dried coconut.
  • refrigerate for 20-30 minutes and enjoy!!

Breaking Bad: Why my life will never be the same

24 September 2013

It is finale week for one of the best shows on T.V., Breaking Bad. I am hooked on this show. If you haven't had the chance to sit down and watch it, I'd highly recommend it! It keeps you on the edge of your seat and you always want more. The subtle twists and emotional journey the writers and director take you on is trippy, at best. BUT I LOVE IT!! Have you seen it? Do you love it?

Recently, Breaking Bad has started to creep into my daily life as you can see by the pictures. So I've come up with a top ten list for how my life will never be the same after watching the entire series of Breaking Bad.

1. Car washes are ideal fronts for illegal operations. They also have industrial sized chemical barrels for disposing of certain....people. Paint those barrels black and millions can be stashed in the desert!

That's a lot of barrels!! 

2.  If it ain't KFC and they sell buckets of chicken, then they are obviously involved with the drug cartel in Mexico.

Los Pollos Hermanos [source]

3. High school chemistry doesn't seem so useless after all!

Top Ten Chemistry Scenes

4.  Blue rock candy will forever be a questionable substance! Pick up some for your Breaking Bad Finale party. Guaranteed to be a hit!

 5. T.V. lawyers are very well informed and have a lot of illegal pull & connections.

6. Color always matters. One of my personal favorites is analyzing the color choice in wardrobe for Breaking Bad. Color means something. Why else would Hank and Marie have purple everything? Coincidence, I think not. Keep this in mind when you decorate your home or pick out nail polish next time! 


7.  Anyone can learn science.  This makes me particularly happy!

8. If a winnebago is parked on your street, it probably has a "cook" going on in it.

9. If you have a special skill, not even Nazis will kill you right away.


10. An entire operation can be shut down with a few convincing photos.


BarreAmped Transformation Challenge Week 2

23 September 2013

Well friends, it is my first update from the BarreAmped Transformation Challenge that I began two weeks ago! I am happy to share with you some highlights from what I've been eating as well as my progress towards a stronger me. Continue to follow my progress here as well as on Twitter and Instagram

Participation in the Transformation Challenge requires three things:
 1. Clean eating i.e. elimination of processed foods and keeping glycemic index low.
 2. Attending a minimum of 3 classes per week.
 3. Measurements every 4 weeks. 

For the last two weeks, I haven't had a cookie. It sort of makes me sad to say that but also proud.  Sweets are totally my weakness! My meals are mostly plant based with tons of fruit and vegetables. My favorite breakfast foods have been either Ezekiel bread toasted with raw honey and cinnamon or eggs "over easy" with toast and hummus. Lunch is usually a wrap of some kind or leftovers from the night before. I am really digging avocado with hummus and sprouts on a whole wheat tortilla. Yogurt with chia seeds and fruit typically accompany my lunch. For snacks, I'm sort of struggling because all of the fruit makes my stomach often feel sort of acidic. I love dry roasted and unsalted pistachios as well as almonds. If you have any suggestions on clean eating snacks...please let me know!! Dinner is usually a salad, stir fry or fish with a hearty helping of vegetables! 

BarreAmped classes are going really well. I enjoy the challenge and the changes I can truly see in my body over the last year that I've been a client. Because the studio has grown, there are three new instructors starting to teach which is awesome! I love having new routines so that I don't grow complacent or bored. I haven't gotten bored with this workout yet! And there are always new levels of advanced moves that I can work towards. Recently, I started setting goals for class i.e.  to hold my abs in the entire class or to hold the last five counts of a final hold in the advanced position just to challenge my body. 

The best news is.....I have lost 3 pounds!!!! It is super exciting but the goal of BarreAmped as a fitness program is not weight loss [although that normally follows suit]. It is about strength and power in our bodies. I can also happily report that Mr. Collier complimented me on my shoulder muscles and just yesterday at church I was complimented on how toned I look. Makes a girl feel sooo good!

Hello little ladybug

20 September 2013

Have you lost someone special or close you? I did. In 2010, I lost my grandma.  Growing up, she was my babysitter, the only one who watched me besides my parents. She was special. One of my first memories was her teaching me to tie my shoes. We hung out before school and after. She bought me snacks at the grocery store that my mom would never let me have! She taught me to make my first homemade pizza. She told me stories and made up songs with me. We played dress up. In the summertime, she'd pick me up for breakfast and allow me to order whatever I wanted. As a teenager, she looked out for me. She gave me my first job of washing her windows or dusting her knick-knacks. In college, I'd spend most weekends at home or at my grandma's house going through photos and hearing the stories behind the image. 

Losing her is a hurt that I'm not sure I'll ever get over.

After she passed away, I started seeing ladybugs. Always one at a time either on my window, door, car, in my house. In between the time of her funeral and the internment of her ashes, I started to notice this trend but didn't share it with anyone because it sort of sounds crazy--that my grandma would be in "ladybug" form. And I certainly don't believe in reincarnation. But I always thought of her when I saw one. When we put her ashes into the wall my mom told me that ever since grandma passed, she started seeing this yellow butterfly. First in the backyard at grandma's house then in our backyard. Turns out the same looking butterfly showed up at the cemetery during the service and practically chased the car as we pulled away. Tears rolled down my face as my mom shared with me her thought about grandma and the butterfly. Then I told her my version with ladybugs.

Why ladybugs? I don't know! It is curious because my mom has a hat pin that sticks into the cloth visor of her car. It has been in every car that she has owned. And it is a ladybug. It looks so real that people often get confused! For our wedding, grandma couldn't be present. So my mom and I decided to stick that hat pin into my bouquet so that grandma's memory could be present during my wedding.

A ladybug drove with me to work yesterday and it prompted me to share my story with you. 

Have a wonderful weekend and watch out for ladybugs. 

Meaningful Marriage Book Study "The Love Dare"

18 September 2013


A few weeks back I was at an estate sale in the afternoon when I saw "The Love Dare" on a shelf. The man running the sale told me since it was so late in the day, I was welcome to have it for free. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. I had heard of "The Love Dare" a several years ago when it came out but wasn't married or even in a place in my life where the content or study would apply to me.

Since that estate sale, I've been doing "The Love Dare" as a daily devotional. They are short in length but mighty in content. My favorite aspect is the writing is not just for a wife to read or just for a husband. It actually applies to anyone. Over the last 20 days, I've seen amazing transformation in how I relate and respond to Mr. Collier and I feel like it has made me understand what true love is.

I was telling my friend Amberly all about it because she co-hosts an awesome monthly marriage goals link up and this would totally but up her alley! She and I decided to then host a book study across the miles and "The Love Dare" is our first choice. October 1st is day one so make sure you get the book and are ready to start by then! Anyone is open to participate but there are several rules that you must to commit to in order to join us!

Here are the rules:

1) To participate, read "The Love Dare" and commit to the full 40 days. 

2) Join our Facebook Group to join in on weekly discussions. Comment regularly! Share experiences, doubts, frustrations,& stories. 

3) Join us in a post link up/Launch Party starting on October 1st.
Post topic:What are your goals for this study? What do you hope to gain from taking "The Love Dare"

4) Join in on the post link up at the end of the study on November 

5) Grab our button and place it on your sidebar and promote the study to your friends!

Meaningful Marriage Book Study

6) Have fun! 

A Conversation about Crying at Work

17 September 2013

Women inherently carry a lot of stress. From managing expectations, appearance, work, home, husbands, parents, kids, friends and self it is a lot to deal with. I don't know about you, but I reach this critical threshold or "glass ceiling" where all of a sudden I've lost my balance and can't take one more thing on my plate. Have you experienced the same?

Recently, I've been quite busy at work trying to finish a research manuscript so that I can begin to write my dissertation and obtain my Ph.D. in Immunology. I am tired and worn out beyond measure. Then add to it blogging, my home [which is a wreck], my family, working to keep up with Youth at church and my marriage. Already a lot to juggle. I was in a meeting with the 4 other folks in my lab. We were called to assemble because my lab manage gave her two-weeks notice. I am so proud of her for moving on to bigger and better things! My only problem is that she has been my one champion, an intercessor on my behalf to my boss who has less experience dealing with women than a cloistered monk. 

It was during that meeting that "my plate" started spilling over and falling all over the floor and all it took was a tone of "you don't matter" in my boss' voice in response to a question about my role once our lab manager departs. I started to cry. Right there in the meeting. And it wouldn't stop. I cried for 5 solid hours. The tears wouldn't stop coming. When I thought that I'd be done...nope more tears would stream down my face. I went home crying, fell asleep crying and woke up crying as I thought about the way I was treated, the things on my plate, the world...etc. 

Do you have a "personal policy" for crying at work or in front of your boss? On one hand it shows weakness and vulnerability but on the other I pray that my boss' social awkwardness makes him walk on egg shells around me for the remainder of my stay in his tutelage. When I went in the next day, it was like nothing had happened. No one really talked to me, which is normal.

Modest is Hottest and Judgmental Women

16 September 2013

I had an awesome weekend! Did you? I was a chaperon for a youth event at our church called "Just Girls." Our youth group starts in 6th grade and includes high school, so the goal of the event was to just hang out, get to know each other, and have a blast at minimum! I think we definitely achieved all of that. While planning, it dawned on me that some of these girls will never have experience a good old-fashioned sleepover without technology. I mean do you remember being dropped off at a friend's house and you didn't hear or see your parents again let alone friends outside of the party until they picked you up the next day? You spent the night watching movies, playing games, painting nails, playing truth or dare, and snacking the night away to the early morning hours in a sleeping bag on the floor. 

Fifteen girls showed up which was awesome!!! We did all of the things you do in a traditional sleepover but my favorite part of the night was the devotion. I had a senior high school student lead and she did an awesome job. She talked about how Modest is Hottest, which later became the theme of the night. The 20 minute devotion went on for 2.5 hours because the girls kept talking, asking questions, and sharing their experiences. It was awesome!!

The one thing that I noticed during our discussion reflects the sentiment of the quote above. Life is very hard for a girl starting especially in middle school. I heard their pain and their struggles with who they are and how they relate to the world as well as each other. We talked about how the world sees women and the "role models" in the media. Although the points that we made were valid relative to modesty, as soon as pictures of Lady Gaga, Miley and Kim Kardashian came up we tore them apart with our words. Now, it is beyond clear these girls in the media and modesty often don't go hand-in-hand, it illustrated the point that women are so judgmental. towards each other. 

Is it insecurity that drives us to be judgmental? Why do we, as women, have the power to tear each other down?   

A Letter to Myself at Seventeen

13 September 2013

Earlier last week I saw this amazing article from Self magazine online all about how on a "down and out" sort of day, the author received a letter she had written to herself nearly 10 years ago. This was such an inspiring article to me because it makes me think about what I will find important enough to advise myself about if I wrote this type of letter.

Reading this inspired me to share some advice with my 17 year old self. 

Dear Sarah,

You are 17. You are just coming out of a really rough, self-doubting year. But you will use those experiences to connect with youth in the future. Senior year will be one of the best years of your life! Be thrilled and excited about that! Pay a little bit more attention in math, it will do you justice later! 

More than anything, focus on developing yourself and your relationship with Christ. Friends and boys will come and go but Jesus will always be with you. I'm only ten years out from you and I can tell you that who you end up marrying is worth the wait! He is smart, will be everything you hoped for and is just wonderful. And not to break your heart, but it his name is not Dan and it isn't Kyle.

There is no need to be afraid of living. It is time for you to let go of being in control all of the time. Relax a little bit. Go with the flow. And you don't have to have something to say about everything! Spend as much time with Jen, Katie and Eric as you can. They will be your best friends [for the rest of your life]. This year you are going to be offered opportunities to break out of your comfort zone and you should do it. From DisneyWorld to being a leader at Kairos, always say,"yes" to opportunities. Practice patience and always show grace to others. Go on a big trip before you go off to college.

I know that there will be a lot of days that seem overwhelming but you will definitely get through it. Be open to the possibility that something wonderful is about to happen. Many days will feel like "fat" days where you think you aren't good enough and aren't pretty enough. And your natural reaction is to take that out on yourself. But don't. You are beautiful and perfect. Just the way you are. Focus on being healthy and strong. Skip the junk food and continue to exercise. 

Most importantly, be happy. Do what makes you happy. Cherish the time you have at home with mom and dad. You will miss them dearly when you grow up and move away. And that goes for grandparents too. Ask them to tell you their life stories. It is so worth it!!

With you always,


Have you ever written a letter to yourself? What would you say in a letter to your former self?

Absolutely Nothing To Say--Final Day of the Fall Fitness Giveaway

12 September 2013

I literally have NOTHING to say today! Tomorrow, I have the most awesome post planned [if you blog in Tennessee, you should totally link up with us tomorrow!!] that I've worked really hard on but today, I've got nothing. I'm feeling spread a little thin and am lacking the normal levels of pizazz and zeal in the tank.

Instead of giving you some childhood memory or a Pinterest post, I've decided to dip out today and play hooky! Enjoy your day sweet friends! And don't forget to enter the Fall Fitness Giveaway. Today is the very last day before these items find their forever home! 

Over the next week I am also co-sponsoring a giveaway through my own sponsorship of Sarah C. [yes there are more that one of us!]. Sarah from Fueled and Aflame and I put together this little gifty for one lucky winner! You have until next Friday to enter and win! Tweet every day!! You can find this giveaway at the bottom of each of my posts through the next week!   a Rafflecopter giveaway