Staircase Gallery Wall

Staircase Gallery Wall

I know this may sound crazy, but I’ve always loved a Gallery Wall. I vividly remember my friends houses growing up who had photos going up their stairs and I remember my 10 year-old self saying “I’m doing that when I have a house”. Something about having family photos displayed up your stairs feels very homey. So y’all – today is the day I make my 10 year-old dreams come true.

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Cooking in Quarantine

Cooking in Quarantine

Traditionally, I am not the cook in our house – but it is something I’m trying to get better at. So I’ve taken to quarantine to try to get more comfortable in the kitchen and take the place of head chef a few nights a week. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite recipes with some tips and tricks I’ve learned in the process.

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Echelon Review

When Michigan started to shut down, I made the impulse purchase of an Echelon. You know I love a good deal, so when I realized that I could buy a bike for the same cost to rent a bike for 3 months from our local cycle bar, I pulled the trigger. Echelon Connect 3 was the bike I found to fit our needs.

Where to Buy .

Echelon’s Website- $1,039.98
Bed Bed and Beyond – $799.99 ( With 20% BBB Coupon – $639.99)

Bike Review.

Pros:
– Allows you to use Cycling Clip-ins or regular Shoes.
– You can’t beat the price, at 1/4 the cost of the a Peloton and the product works great.
– Very easy to change the seat and handle bar settings (If multiple people in your house are using it)
– Seat is really comfortable and a little larger than some cycling bikes I’ve used in the past. Great for a spin class or standard ride.
Cons:
– You have to set the bike up yourself. Not the end of the world because the Customer Service Team is great – but we had some issues with our bike which make it a little more difficult. They did send us replacement parts to help, even though we were able to fix it.
– If you use an app other than Echelon, you cannot connect your resistance and speed to the app. So when you’re taking a class and the instructor calls out “increase your resistance between 40-50”, you won’t know what your output is. However, it’s just like any Cycle Bar class, you never know what your “output” numbers are – just push yourself.

Overall Review: Very happy with the purchase. It gives you an intense cardio work out and I’m finding myself working out way more during Quarantine than I thought I would have. If you’re thinking of purchasing an indoor bike, this is a wonderful cost sensitive alternative to a Peloton. We bought a Foam Floor Mat to go under the bike and it’s helping to protect our hardwood floors – highly recommend.

App.

I purchased a bike that didn’t come with a screen , however it does have a stand for your phone or iPad. Therefore you have an option to use either the Echelon or Peloton app for classes.

Echelon. $14.99 /month. I haven’t tried the Echelon app. Mostly due to the Peloton app being free right now and loving the instructors. I believe the app will connect you to the bike and show your output.
Peloton. $12.99/month. Currently Peloton is offering 90 days free during social distancing. Once you download you have access to all classes (live and recorded- yoga, cycling, running, cardio, HIIT, etc). The app is very intuitive and easy to use. If your wanting a 45 minute Cycle, Groove and Intermediate class- place the filters on it will show you all options. You can “Pre-load” a class prior to starting it to take away any potential buffering issues.

Lent Review

This year we went pretty wild with the items we gave up for lent: Shopping and Meat. I broke down the rules and the reasoning in a blog post, here.

Meat.

Originally, I thought giving up meat would be the hardest part of this whole situation.

Results: We ate meat for one meal over the 40 days.
Thoughts: I loved it. I physically felt really good and found that we cooked interesting dishes that I wouldn’t have normally thought up. The hardest part was lunch and making sure I was getting enough protein to not crave candy in the afternoon. On Easter, we had bacon for breakfast and Chile con Carne for dinner – may have broken a little too much into the meat category for our first day back, but it was nice. We’re committed to eating mostly a pescatarian (removing meat) diet moving forward and sprinkling in meat every so often.

Shopping.

Overall, I am wildly impressed with myself.

Results: I went out to eat a handful of times (thank you social distancing), purchased AirPod Pro (by using gift cards to pay for 2/3 the cost) and an Echelon Connect EX3 Indoor Bike (From Bed Bath and Beyond – using a 20% off Coupon). And those were essential the only purchases I made in 40 days.
Thoughts: If you were to look at this as black and white – I didn’t pass. But I look at this as a win. I changed my mental attitude regarding purchasing things and only bought items that were good for my mental and physical well-being.

Have you given something up for Lent that has ended up changing your lifestyle?

Self Distancing

Self Distancing

2020 has become an interesting place for all of us. While Self Distancing isn’t ideal – it will hopefully help to save hundreds and thousands of lives.

I’m trying to do my best to practice gratitude and relax into this situation. (A lot easier said than done, we don’t have kids and we try to be easy going). I encourage you to find one thing each day that you’re grateful for.

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Cafe Curtain

Cafe Curtain

We’ve made some quick updates to our bathroom – all that were able to be accomplished on week nights after work. If you’ve been following along, you know we’ve been struggling with our bathroom – do we gut the whole thing, or make small changes to get it livable? For now, I’ve chosen the latter.

In this round of updates, we’ve removed the Shower Door (and installed a Shower Curtain) and installed a Cafe Curtain for privacy.

I couldn’t find a curtain that gave me the look I wanted, so I opted to make one.

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What I’m Giving Up for Lent.

Being raised Catholic, the Lenten season was always a big part of my life. As an adult, I’ve moved away from the Catholic Church but have kept the idea of giving something up for Lent.

For the past few years, I’ve given up alcohol in some capacity –
– All Alcohol Sunday – Thursday
– Beer and Wine

This year, we’re going big – I’m giving up two big items.

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Traveling Light

I just came home from a two week work trip in Europe where I packed in a carry-on. Yeah..I’m just as shocked- two weeks IN A CARRY-ON.

The trip spanned 5 countries – with varying temperatures from 40-65 degrees Fahrenheit. My luggage was made up of neutrals with a few prints/colors thrown in. When traveling, my goal is to always wear everything I packed. It can be difficult, but I think its a great goal to be more intentional in our daily wear and while traveling.

Here’s what I packed:

Tops.
– Faux Suede Vest (Old: Anthropologie) // Similar
– Black Bodycon Midi Dress – Forever 21
– Grey Whisper Cotton Turtleneck – Madewell
– Black Parke Blazer in Wool Flannel – J Crew
– Juliette Collarless Sweater – Blazer – J. Crew
– Grey Muscle Tank Top – Madewell
– Olive Ruffle- Neck Sweater (Old: J. Crew) // Similar
– Black Long Sleeve Modal Blend Tee – Halogen – Nordstrom
– Everyday Chambray Shirt – J.Crew
– Black Long Sleeve Sweater (Old: T.J. Maxx) // Similar
– Curvy Slim Stretch Perfect Shirt in Banker Blue Strip – J. Crew

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