I Love a ‘Swingy’ Dress

I Love a ‘Swingy’ Dress

On Saturday, Tim and I had a dinner date night at Montgomery Inn, a hometown barbecue restaurant which originated in Montgomery, OH, just north of Cincinnati. We had never been to the ‘Boat House’ location downtown on the river, so we decided to drive just a little further to experience a new place.

I love barbecue food, but I am not always a huge ribs fan. However, at Montgomery Inn, I almost always get the ribs because they are the best. The meat literally falls off the bone and there isn’t much fat to be found either. I ordered my half a rack of ribs with broccoli, macaroni and cheese, and a big pile of Saratoga chips we ordered as an appetizer to share.

The food was great and the company was even better, but the only downside would be that reservations actually mean priority seating (at least at the Boat House). When we arrived at 5:45 for our 5:45 reservation, we were then told it would be a 30-45 minutes wait. We actually ended up waiting about 50 minutes and it wasn’t a big deal since we had nowhere to go and just enjoyed our time together, but just a fair warning if you had plans to get to after dinner. Reservations may not always mean little to no waiting!

Backing up before dinner though, I had to decide what to wear! Montgomery Inn isn’t a fancy restaurant, but I sometimes think it’s fun to overdress up a bit. When Tim asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind a flowy dress or two. I love swing-style dresses because they are so cute and I can wear them to work or for play, but they are also super comfortable. Nothing is worse than wearing a tight, uncomfortable dress all day at work… Any other ladies agree with me??

Madewell Silk Tee Dress in Dot

He picked out this Madewell Silk Tee Dress in Dot and I fell in love the moment I tried it on. Per Madewell, ‘With its breezy cut and signature polka dots, it’s no wonder this easy silk dress is a design-team favorite. ‘ The dress is dry-clean only as its silk, but that is obviously also why it is so soft and comfortable. The dress was a little bit more moeny than I would usually spend, however it’s a classic print that I know I will get a ton of wears out of it. Just an FYI as well that Madewell describes this dress as being ‘nonwaisted’, and that’s true! The waist is not defined at all, but that is also why I want to wear it every day. So comfy! I paired the dress with black tights and my black Michael Kors boots and I think it made for a great combo of dressy and casual.

Conversation Time.

  • Swingy Dresses – What do you think – Love ‘em or hate ‘em?
  • What style staple is your current wardrobe go-to?
  • Are you a barbecue fan? What is your favorite meal to order at a barbecue restaurant?
Make-Ahead Lunches

Make-Ahead Lunches

When deciding to publish this post, I went back and forth on which day of the week I thought it would fit best. At first I considered Monday, but by then the work week would already be in full swing. I then thought Saturday, but honestly I know a lot of people don’t read blog posts since everyone is out enjoying the weekend.

So instead I decided on Friday, which I honestly think works out just perfect. I am sure I’m not the only one who creates her meal plan and shopping lists, and then goes to the grocery on the weekend. If you like this make-ahead lunch idea, I encourage you to take tomorrow to plan out your meals and shop, and then use Sunday to prep those lunches. It takes a bit of time initially, but you will be thanking yourself when all of your lunches for the week are ready and waiting for you come Monday morning.

Make-Ahead Lunches - Greek Salads and Spaghetti Squash

With my new job’s hours, I am literally awake and out the door within 40 minutes. This doesn’t give me much time to worry about anything in the morning, but it sure is easy to grab my entire lunch box straight out of the refrigerator, kiss my pup and hubby, pick up my coffee and run out the door.

In today’s lunch example, I packed three salads and two spaghetti squash meals for the week. I love using spaghetti squash because it’s such a healthy alternative to heavy pasta, and it also holds up well throughout the week. Plus, I can bake one entire spaghetti squash on the weekend and still have plenty of meals left. Depending on the size of the spaghetti squash, I usually get anywhere from 2 servings from the very small to 4-6 servings for the larger ones.

How-to Make Spaghetti Squash

On top of the spaghetti squash I layered cottage cheese for protein along with broccoli for a little green. I know this may sound a strange, but my mom always made lasagna with cottage cheese so the flavor combination reminds me of childhood comfort food. I top it with marinara sauce and salt and pepper. Sometimes I may use fresh mozzarella or a couple tablespoons of ricotta instead of the cottage cheese. I also add diced tomato or fresh basil leaves if I have it available.

IMG_1185

As for the salads, I decided to make it with a Greek theme. On top of a bed of mixed greens I added artichoke hearts, hummus, kalamata olives, feta cheese, shredded carrots, and purple cabbage.

Make-Ahead Lunches - Greek Salads and Spaghetti Squash

I have been asked a lot how these meals hold up, and I am going to be truthful – by Thursday and Friday the meal just isn’t as fresh as those eaten the prior three days. I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone though! For me, having the meals ready to go without spending much time during the week worrying about what I am going to eat is worth the trade off. If you prefer, feel free to make the first three Sunday night and set aside a little time Wednesday evening to finish up for Thursday and Friday.

Make-Ahead Lunches - Greek Salads and Spaghetti Squash

Here are a few tips I have for make-ahead lunches:

  • Use the freshest ingredients when making your meals! Think of it this way, if your lettuce and veggies aren’t fresh Sunday then they sure as heck won’t be any fresher by Friday! Buy your groceries Saturday or Sunday and make the meals Sunday evening so they are as fresh as can be for the week ahead.
  • Make sure the ingredients are really dry! If you make spaghetti squash, be sure to let the squash completely cool before placing in the container and then covering with a lid.  The steam will make too much condensation and you’ll end up with watery squash. This goes the same for your salads. When you wash your veggies, make sure to fully dry them to avoid wilted salads. When I took artichoke hearts from the can and black olives from the jar, I patted them completely dry before placing on the mixed greens.
  • Save creamy and oily dressings for the side! This is pretty basic knowledge, but I suggest not placing the dressings on the salad until ready to eat. This will keep the lettuce crisp and fresh!
  • Use a tight-lidded container! Make sure the to-go containers you are using close tightly. This will help keep air out and the food fresher. I like to use plastic with a lid (and then switch to glass at work when heating), because they are so cheap and I can have a lot of them on hand for meal prep. I also love Pyrex glass bowls with lids and mason jars closed nice and tight with a lid as well.
  • Be realistic! No, your three day meal is never going to be as tasty as fries from Five Guys or a burrito bowl from Chipotle, but it is (probably) going to be healthier, quicker and cheaper!! Save those delicious indulgences and your hard-earned money for a lunch out with friends or a date night with your love. I like to look at lunches during the week as a healthy energy session to help get me through the rest of the day, and less of a time to indulge and fall into a food coma all afternoon. You know yourself though so if packing three days and eating out two works for you, then that is just great! Find your own balance that fits your life and schedule the best.

Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl

Piada Salad Bowl with a Piada Stick

Conversation Time.

  • Do you tend to pack your lunches more often, or do you typically eat out at lunchtime?
  • What are your favorite lunchtime meals to pack?
  • What lunch location is your ideal splurge-worthy restaurant? I am such a sucker for Chipotle and Piada at lunch, but really anytime of the day I love those two quick-serve restaurants! So darn good!
When Everything Seems to be Going Right

When Everything Seems to be Going Right

It’s pretty crazy to think how life’s moments can swing to either side of the pendulum in mere seconds. As someone who prides herself in being a daughter of Christ; a believer, it is amazing how easily my mind can wander from never-ending trust to pure, unwanted anxiety.

Coffee in Bed - When Everything is Going RightFor me, what happens more often than not is that nothing is even going wrong in life when these negative thoughts begin to creep into my heart. I have been known from time-to-time to create negative situations in my head, even when everything seems to be going right. As I have gotten older, I realized that I do this as a means of protection; as a safe harbor for my fears. It is a way to combat anything from actually going wrong, because I already have imagined it going wrong in my head. Make sense? It is basically a defense mechanism so that I never end up feeling let down, no matter the outcome…

A lot of people seem to work best by thinking positively and being self-motivated in believing that everything is going to turn out perfectly planned. I want to be one of those people! Sure, they may be disappointed by the actual end result sometimes, but these people approach every obstacle like its going to be as easy as pie to achieve. They believe if they work hard, stay positive and do their best then it will all work out in the end. I wish I was more like this; always thinking positively and never doubting myself or my abilities or my future.

Coffee in Bed - When Everything is Going RightUnfortunately though, more often than not I play defense as opposed to offense when facing life’s challenges. I think about the worst case scenario and focus on that. I still work hard and do my best, but I feel less let down if the ending isn’t the best result possible since I was already prepared for the worst.

I have found my mind wandering the last few days and although everything is going right, I have a nagging feeling that something is going to go wrong. Has anyone else ever felt this way? I try to keep this blog as upbeat and happy-go-lucky as possible, but sometimes it is necessary to be real and share burdens and fears too. What better way to use the bad-for-good than in using it to possibly help even one other person.

So today, I am making it a goal to turn around these negative thoughts and to instead give all of my worries in prayer to The Lord. I am so thankful that not only do I have a God who comforts, heals and protects, but I also married a man who is the complete opposite of me in his way of thinking. Tim always looks at everything as if it has a bright side. He believes he can accomplish anything and he sets his mind to achieving exactly what he starts out to achieve. I 100% believe that he can make any dream of his come true, and its about time I start believing him when he tells me the same.

Happy Wife Healthy Life - Tim and JanaIt is so easy to encourage others, but sometimes the hardest person to believe in is yourself. I challenge any of you who may be feeling this way to make an effort to believe in yourself as much as those you love believe in you. It truly is amazing how far a little positive thinking can go in feeling encouraged and assured in your everyday.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Conversation Time.

  • Would you say that you are defensive or offensive when it comes to thinking and envisioning your dreams?
  • If you are a positive thinker, what mindset do you use when facing a fear? If you tend to think of the worst, hope for the best, how would you like to change your mindset today? Any tips for more positive thinking and less anxiety?
Checking In

Checking In

Happy day-before-Friday everyone! This week has been a busy one so far, but it’s also been a good one too.

Tebow OSU

The cutest Buckeyes fan I know!

You may be aware there was a little football game Monday night called the college football National Championship and I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the outcome. My Buckeyes brought home the win against the Oregon Ducks!

Ohio State Buckeyes

Picture taken in 2013 while tailgating before a Buckeyes game!

OSU Stadium

Ohio Stadium – ‘The Shoe’

I wish I could say that I stayed up watching the entire game, but that would be a lie. I started dozing off with about 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and by the 4th quarter I was out cold. Thankfully they won with a pretty big spread though, so I felt a little bit better about falling asleep early. That’s what happens when you have to leave for work by 6:15! I admire those people who can go without sleep, but I am most certainly not one of them. I need my rest!

OSU Socks

I have now deemed these my good luck Bucks socks!

Yesterday I met Meghan for a little dinner and girl time before her big move this month! With my new job, I actually work closer to her home so I am going to be sad to lose her as soon as I started. I am thrilled for her family though to start this new journey. Moves are always a big adventure and its fun to explore new areas.

Since I get off work at 3:30, I decided to go to the gym to kill some time before dinner. I have been struggling with this whole winter/job change/schedule change to get into an exercise routine, but I think I am slowly beginning to find my stride. In fact, I have done something active every day since Saturday so I would say that is a success! Nothing too crazy, but an at-home elliptical workout here and a walk with Tebow there certainly adds up over time. Not every workout has to be intense; even those little ones are better than nothing!

Since I had a couple hours Wednesday to exercise and stay busy between work and dinner, I took my time and did a similar workout to this treadmill workout without the incline and also an adaptation of this strength workout. If only I could remember every day during the winter season that warming up from fitness is one of the best ways to beat the freezing temps, maybe I would have an easier time getting that workout in!

Fitness

We had dinner at Whole Foods, grilled chicken, broccoli rabe and a mushroom orzo salad for me. We chatted for over an hour, exchanged Christmas gifts, and by the time I got home I literally showered and fell into bed. Today I am right back at it and am looking forward to a lazier evening tonight.

Today should hopefully be a little less crazy nd tomorrow obviously starts the weekend so I am looking forward to that! No big plans on the schedule except a couple walks with Tebow, maybe a date night Saturday, and perhaps even a little Home Depot perusing for home renovation ideas. We are planning on remodeling our upstairs after just about finishing the first floor so we will look for some flooring, doors, paint and bathroom remodeling ideas. We’ve already finished our Master Bathroom remodeling, but now it is time to tackle the guest bathroom too!

Before and After Bathroom RemodelOh, and one more thing, for those of you who don’t follow me on Instagram - I cut my hair!

Jana Short HairAnd dyed it platinum blonde! Let’s call it a little winter pick-me-up. I feel refreshed already!

Have a great day everyone!

Conversation Time.

  • Did you watch the National Championship game? Are you a Buckeyes fan as well?
  • Have you been thinking/wanting/needing a hair change lately too? If you could do anything with your hair, what would you choose?
  • What are your plans for the upcoming weekend?
Guest Post on Sweet Miles Blog

Guest Post on Sweet Miles Blog

Good morning everyone and TGIF! After a long first week back to work after the holiday season, I am more than ready for Friday at quittin’ time. This weekend I don’t have many plans except to relax and refresh. It’s funny how quickly your brain can shut off when on break! After such a busy month, I am really looking forward to things calming down here in the New Year. As much fun as the hustle and bustle from November to December can be, January can actually be quite enjoyable in its own right. This is a great time for us all to rest up after traveling and celebrating, and I hope you plan on doing just that this weekend. I know my house will be taking full advantage of our lack of responsibilities during the next couple of days!

Tebow the Dog

Today though you can find me over on my friend Sarah’s blog, Sweet Miles!

Sweet Miles-Sarah

My guest post will be piggybacking off of my Wednesday post regarding how to make winter more enjoyable. I will be talking coats, coats and more coats, and why I think ultra-warm winter coats should be the most splurge-worthy item in your closet! (Especially if you live in a certain climate – like Ohio!)

Tebow in a Sweater/Coat

I actually wrote a very personal and open guest post on Sarah’s blog back in December 2013, so if you want to read more about My Personal Story, you can find it here.

Feel free to pop over to Sarah’s blog to find out more and to say hi! She is another lifestyle and healthy living, recipe sharer and newlywed blogger like me, but she is also a huge running fanatic (She is actually running the Walt Disney World Marathon this weekend!!) and she has an absolutely adorable black lab named Truckee.

Sweet Miles-Truckee

Just ask Tebow how he feels about Truckee! His expression says it all!

Tebow

I think our pups are missing the milder weather days of fall already. Have a great weekend everyone!

Conversation Time.

  • What are your plans for this weekend? Are you staying home or going out to brave the cold?
  • What in your opinion is the most splurge-worthy item in your closet?