Thursday, May 21, 2015

Making it Home

I have found that the smallest additions to a space are what really pull it all together. Some times these “small” things can be SO expensive though which makes it hard to want to invest in the final details to make the space feel complete and like your own. In a bedroom these last details usually include curtains, a rug, bedside tables and lamps.

Just about two years ago we found a few things to pull our master bedroom together, after living here for four years!! I’m thankful I was finally able to find those last details and ever since we have enjoyed our bedroom space so so much more! However, even though these small things do add up being conscious of what each piece costs and by keeping a thrifty budget in mind it can be done with out totally breaking the bank!! Thankfully awesome places like Target now have amazing home departments and I am so thankful! You can find just about anything you need for your home and not only afford it but also love it!

This Christmas we got my sister and brother-in-law a duvet and shams for their gift (the one pictured from West Elm). They have been in their house for about a year now and have been working hard in making it their home.  Since I started the whole project with the gift I figure I’d better help out a bit by offering a few “ideas” on options for their master bedroom!!

Lets be honest seeing a visual representation is SUPER helpful too! This is a trick I often do before buying anything new for a space! So here are a few fun options cut and pasted together using the paint program on my computer, keeping it classic over here.


Rug 1

master teal rug yellow gord lamp

 master teal rug gord lamp

With just a rug, lamps and bedside tables and curtains there are so many options and each really does change the look!!  I like this rug because of the added color and dimension it offers. My very favorite overall look is this first photo. Everything is from Target except the lamps are from Ikea. For ease of ordering and expediting the process letting the lamps go might be necessary! I think I like both the yellow and gray gourd lamps equally!!

look 1:

Medallion rug- $199.99

Gray Curtains – $19.99 each x 2

Cream night stands – $67.99

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

Ikea Lamps - $39.99

Look 2:

Medallion rug- $199.99

Gray Curtains – $19.99 each x 2

Cream night stands – $67.99

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

Yellow Small gourd lamp – $9.78 (on clearance! This is a STEAL!!!)

Woven lamp shade – $10

Look 3:

Medallion rug- $199.99

Gray Curtains – $19.99 each x 2

Cream night stands – $67.99

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

Gray Medium Gourd Lamp – $10.48 (on clearance! This is a STEAL!!)

Silver Trim Lamp Shade – $14.99


Rug 2

 master diamond rug  master diamond rug yellow lamp

I also really like this rug. It’s a little less busy and a little more neutral.  I also like both lamp options here the first is more neutral but still has lots of texture and the second the yellow give a nice pop of color! I did find a secondary night stand below and tried that with this rug and since it is darker and the rug is lighter I felt they clashed too much and their wasn’t enough continuity to make the dark night stands work.

Look 4:

Gray Diamond Rug – $199.99

Gray Curtains – $19.99 each X 2

Cream night stands – $67.99

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

Gray Medium Gourd Lamp – $10.48 (on clearance! This is a STEAL!!)

Silver Trim Lamp Shade – $14.99

Look 5:

Gray Diamond Rug – $199.99

Gray Curtains – $19.99 each x 2

Cream night stands – $67.99

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

Yellow Small gourd lamp – $9.78 (on clearance! This is a STEAL!!!)

Woven lamp shade – $10


Rug 3

 master 5

Third rug option, I really like this rug too. It’s a whole lot more masculine but that isn’t a bad thing! Especially in a bedroom some times our tendency is to go ultra feminine and that isn’t always super appealing to the gents. I think the darker night stands work with this rug because of the darker tones in the rug. I also think the yellow lamps are really the only option to add a little bit of brightness to compliment the added darker tones.

Look 6:

Gray Twist Rug – $244.99

Dark Night Stand – $62.98

Gray Curtains – $19.99 each

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

Yellow Small gourd lamp – $9.78 (on clearance! This is a STEAL!!!)

Woven lamp shade – $10

Rug 4

 master 2 done

Lastly here is a whole new twist, new curtains, new rug and the darker night stands and the ikea lamps. Again I think with the more modern bold patterned rug these nightstands and lamps are the only choice that work really well. The curtains may be able to switch back to the solid gray used above but I think this small scale pattern is a nice balance to the bold pattern on the floor.

Look 7:

Yellow and Gray Rug – $199.99

Gray Dash Curtain Panel – $14.99 Each

Ikea Lamps - $39.99

Dark Night Stand – $62.98

Yellow Organic Blanket – $38.99

It really is amazing the difference just a few small things can make! I hope you feel inspired to get busy and finish that space you’ve been putting off or just move some lamps around your house for a whole new look!

That’s my Shiny ~ J

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Entertaining Angels

16 months of waiting and wanting for child number 3 to bless our lives. It was a long wait with too many questions, Dr changes, diet changes, supplement research and unfortunately tears. Getting pregnant with our second child, our daughter, happened with a bat of an eye and after such a quick turn around I thought “I guess we won’t ever have to worry about fertility”. Life sure does have a funny way of keeping us guessing, the third time around it was just NOT happening . After about month 6 we got worried, month 8 I got mad, month 12 really sad and month 13 we began to live a bit more in a space of we are VERY blessed beyond all measure with our two beautiful children and this might be it for us biologically. Mainly, pinning the fertility issues to having two cesareans and the effects the surgeries had on my uterus.




Life at this point went in cycles that coincided with my cycle, kind of a monthly roller coaster. After riding on this roller coaster for too long it was finally the time all 4 of us had been anxiously awaiting, VACATION! It was time to break the roller coaster cycle and just go have some fun and get out of the day to day routine! That’s just what we did. We went on a 10 day road trip starting with visiting family in the south and then heading to the coast of Georgia parking it in St. Simons Island, GA. Our vacation was just what we needed. It was PERFECTION and we all had such a wonderful relaxing and rejuvenating time.




The only little negative that I was not looking forward to was the fact that I had to pack and travel with very large packages of feminine products where ever we went due to the time of month we were traveling. As usual I waited for the signs of my monthly friend and as usual I had them all, hot flashes, mood swings and my very least favorite bloating, cramping and spotting. For 2-4 whole days as usual before the BIG event actually started (this was part of the issues I had been seeing DR’s for). As best I could I ignored all of this and just had fun with my family.



Towards the end of our vacation we had an awesome fun adventure filled day and we decided to head to the little beach town and get some frozen yogurt and watch the sunset. While ordering our frozen yogurt two older couples overheard us and could tell immediately tell we were not from Georgia (this happened a lot) and they asked us where we were from. We told them Michigan and they immediately got excited and exclaimed that they were in fact from the great mitten state too! They had actually retired to Saint Simons Island but had lived just about 30 minutes from where we live now. We had a really nice time chatting with them but I have to admit I actually started to get a little annoyed with the fact that our yogurt was now soup and our kids were covered head to toe in chocolate because this nice group of retiree’s just wouldn’t let us go. But while being slightly annoyed we both put our smiles on and chatted, we did enjoy the talk. The gentleman gave my husband his email address (which of course we can’t find now) and then we finally parted ways and enjoyed the rest of our chocolate soup and walk to the peir.



As we were finishing our walk through town and just rounding our way down by the pier a car pulled up, it was the retirees, the gentleman stopped, rolled his window down and yelled to us with a large smile on his face “Your family should be on a billboard for Pure Michigan, a boy and a girl and ONE ON THE WAY” (after 16 months of trying for a baby those words were literally, like a bullet) I politely smiled and clenched my teeth as they drove away. My Husband instantly looked at me not sure if I was going to burst into tears or chase down their vehicle. I didn’t say too much that night but anger was my emotion. Anger at someone for saying that to us not having known our situation, anger because sure I was a little bloated but in no way did I look visibly pregnant, anger because I felt like in that moment the Lord did not protect me from the blow of those words to my heart.




The next day we woke up and had planned to go to the beach, I put on my swim-suite and cover up and was a little more cautious about what I chose to wear and asked my Husband 100 times if I looked too “bloated” (especially after the statement made to us the night before). I armed my bathing suite with the needed supplies for my ever yet illusive monthly friend to show her full vengeance as she had been ramping up all week. We enjoyed our time at the beach, it was our last full day on the island. Coming back to our cottage and upon changing I was surprised to find my protection in my swim wear was actually not needed, AT ALL, at this point I became annoyed. Thinking alright let’s go already body, I know you’ve been having a hard time figuring this stuff out after the last baby but let’s GET IT TOGETHER and get the show on the road already.


That night we got our stuff packed and so we could wake up early the next day and begin our journey home. I had fully expected to wake up that night to my favorite visitor ready to join us for the two days in the car, but I was not awoken and slept wonderfully through the night with no night sweats, bloated belly or any additional spotting, the horrid monthly symptoms I had inherited since my last pregnancy had seemed to vanish. We woke up and hit the road. At this point I started to look at my calendar as we drove and realized that it marked day 5 of expecting the monthly show and the show and all my symptoms had seemed to quietly slink away with no sign of return. Once the kiddos fell asleep for a nap in the car, I brought this fact up to my Husband just to be sure I wasn’t crazy. This is not the first time we have had this discussion, but it had happened at 2 or 3 days past not 5!! I did not want to take another test and see a “not pregnant” but I did not want to go another day without knowing for sure and convincing myself in my head that I was (again I had done this far too many times over the last almost year and a half).


We stopped for the day in White House Tennessee ate dinner at a fabulous Mexican restaurant and headed to Walmart to pick up the dreaded proof. However, this was the first time taking a pregnancy test that I was SURE it would be negative. I just needed the peace of mind that I was not pregnant so I wouldn’t be wondering for the rest of our trip home, all of the previous times I had taken a test I was sure it would be positive only to be disappointed when it was not. Once we wrestled our two crazy’s to bed in the hotel room I snuck into the bathroom and took the test, just waiting the three minutes so I could get it over with and get some sleep. Well three minutes later I did not see a NOT all I saw was a PREGNANT!!! Hot tears immediately filled my eyes as I rushed to wake up my Husband and tell him ever so nicely that he needed to get up and come in the bathroom. I showed him the UNBELIEVABLE test results and we sobbed in disbelief together. We then actually had to recount the month to ensure that this was not in fact immaculate conception! Thankfully we were reassured and one occurrence is in fact all that is needed! I hardly slept because I couldn’t stop smiling.

Our third baby, a sweet precious girl is now 16 months old and has been such a blessing to our family, she is the perfect fit and came at the perfect time. The even more miraculous thing about the whole experience is the timing of her joining our family and her birth. I have thought about it so many times since then and it was literally like my body heard the words “ and one on the way” come from the gentleman’s lips and it stopped in it’s  hormonal, hot flash, spotting, tracks and decided it was time to hold on and have a baby. I have no explanation for this other than God used him as our angel for a moment and we unknowingly entertained him through melty ice cream and chocolate covered children. Fortunately my heart overcame my hormones and we continued our conversation and in the end we were blessed by his bold words. Timing of not only this occurrence but also when the baby will arrive, my Husband graduated from graduate school with his MBA on December 14th and we had our precious girl  on December 21st (one week later) and were able to come home from the hospital on December 23th, MERRY CHRISTMAS INDEED!


Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

I have heard this verse several times since then and have come to tears each time, we never know who God will choose to put in front of us or how he will use that person in our lives or our presence in theirs. I ‘m sure this gentleman had no idea he was in the midst of being used as an angel for us, speaking hard to hear words in that specific moment only for us to find out words that seemed to shake my body out of it the crazy state it seemed to be stuck in. I hope in the future I remember this moment and never become too busy or to distracted to take the time to entertain angels. This experience tested and grew my faith immeasurably and looking back I am so thankful for all of it and my token of remembrance of God’s faithfulness gives the best open mouth kisses and full neck squeezing hugs. 

That’s my Shiny ~ J

Wednesday, August 7, 2013



One year ago on August 2, 2013, I had the honor and privilege of assisting my sister during her 24 hour natural birth to my beautiful (first) niece. This was a privilege to partake in for many reasons. First, that I made it! My sister and I live about 7 hours apart so the fact that I got my family of four packed up and there with enough time to be a part of the labor and delivery was a miracle! More than that the blessing of watching my niece come into this world was an experience I will always cherish and one that I hope will give us a special bond as she grows. The largest honor though was to be at my sister and brother-in-law’s side and watch them manage the contractions pain and pushing together. I was just the gap filler, I helped by fixing her hair, giving her sips of water and held a leg when needed, and I was also the photographer. What a JOY the entire experience was!



What I didn’t expect from the experience was what it would do for my soul…the healing it would bring me. I was unable to experience natural births when I had my two kids. I had planned for natural births and I tried both times, but to no avail, complications arose with both and I had cesareans. I had almost come to terms with this fact before experiencing my nieces birth. I had two beautiful healthy children. What a blessing! But I still couldn’t help feeling like I missed out on something or that I had been robbed of something. Going through the natural birth experience with my sister allowed me to not only experience it first hand but to also find the true beauty in my own birthing experiences.

First, I feel blessed that I was able to experience going into labor naturally and laboring, even though this resulted in a harder recovery, I am still grateful to have experienced the rush of emotions and excitement and elation of having the “THIS IS IT” moment before my deliveries resulted in cesareans.


With all of that said, here is a breakdown of I had to have a C-section let’s find some shiny list: 

The Calm During the Storm. The O.R. is a very calm place, at least in both of my experiences. My situations weren’t super urgent so once I was in the O.R. everything was nice calm and sterile. Controlled. The Dr.’s and nurses make conversation with each other and with you and your spouse. It’s usually pretty light and many times comical. Once the baby is out they make sure you can hear their cry and then they move them into the area to be cleaned and weighed, all of which I could see and observe. For the circumstances it was quite a relaxed atmosphere. Not what I expected. This calm and controlled atmosphere really allowed me to soak it all in. I have the images of both of my babies being weighed, measured, cleaned up and wrapped up like a burrito BURNED into my brain. I am so incredibly grateful to have those memories, I realized now that in a natural birth it may not be possible to “witness” this process as Momma is still VERY busy with final labor stuff and isn’t out of the battle field yet. Being able to just watch in awe as my children took their first gasps of air and entered this world is a gift I cherish.

Precious Moments with Daddy. Due to the fact that our children came into this world via surgery the process of it all happens a little differently. VERY Shortly after the baby is born the father takes the baby to triage while the DR’s finish the surgery with Momma. This precious and small sliver of time allows those new Daddy’s an opportunity to bond with their new child that they might not get otherwise. It gave my husband the opportunity to take ownership of this new life, HIS CHILD! For Father’s this can be challenging as they haven’t just cooked that baby. One day they don’t have a child and the next day they do. For the Momma’s we start feeling and bonding with that baby even before it’s the size of a grain of rice! Big difference. When a baby is delivered via C-section the Momma is literally strapped to a table so once the baby is out, cleaned up, weighed and Momma gets to give the little one a few smooches Daddy is holding and snuggling the baby from the minute they are out and then….. Dad is on his OWN! He gets to STEP UP and take sole-responsibility for HIS CHILD and head to triage while Mom is in the O.R. with the DR’s finishing the rest of the surgery. Dad must answer questions during this time and be the provider. Even though it is only 10 minutes in my experience it is a very powerful 10 minutes for the new Daddy to have.This empowerment continues for the entire first day as Momma can’t get out of bed for a bit after the surgery so Daddy gets to bond with baby through all the meconium blow outs, talk about on the job training! With a natural delivery those 10 minutes with Daddy don’t exist. I feel so blessed and grateful that my husband had these special first moments to bond with our children. 


Nursing. I always thought with natural birth the baby would be pulled out put on your chest and would nurse within minutes of being born. I learned that many times this isn’t possible. The baby needs to be cleaned up and cared for, Momma needs to be tended to, cleaned up and cared for and it can be all a little chaotic as this is all happening at the same time and there is only one Daddy to hold Mommies or babies hand. I can see how in natural birth nursing may take longer than with a cesarean. I feel so so so incredibly blessed I was able to nurse both my babies about 20 minutes after they were delivered.

Six Weeks. So for all you Mommies out there, you know what six weeks means…..du dun duuuuunnn!!! It is the clearance (most of the time) the DR’s give the ok for normal marital relations to commence. After our kids were born and six weeks rolled around , I honestly didn’t think about it much, and I know I would have if my babies came out the OTHER way. Don’t get me wrong things were different but now having seen a natural birth and experienced it first hand I know that feeling this way at six weeks is a luxury most natural birth Mom’s probably don’t experience. As new parents we have a LOT of adjusting to do and it was a nice luxury to have that department relatively unscathed.


The Recovery. Now the cesarean recovery is NOT a walk in the park, don’t get me wrong. There are parts of it though I think I would prefer to healing in the other region. I could see my battle wound easily, care for it and keep it clean. There is a lot that goes on in the other region and it’s not easily seen. So caring for that battle wound and keeping it clean would probably be a bit more of a task.

There is still obviously a whole list of negatives that come with a C-section  that I haven’t forgotten about like the major surgery, the lengthened time it takes for belly swelling to go down, the added meds, every pair of pants and undies sitting RIGHT on top of the incision, the scar, the risk of complications, being stuck in the hospital bed for the ENTIRE first day, the catheter, the extra night at the hospital, the tremendous pain a sneeze causes (for months), the simple task of getting out of bed to nurse your baby at night is NOT a simple task and is often times the most painful part of the day (for weeks), the possible delay of milk coming in.  I have not forgotten these negatives but I now know that natural birth has it’s own list of negatives and isn’t all moon beams and rainbows, I can now see the shiny in my own experiences even though it is not what I planned.


This also made me look closely at what happened during my labor experiences and realize now that there was no other way for my kids to be born. I didn’t miss out, I was blessed with the gift of healthy and successful deliveries and children. I was told by my midwife and DR that there just wasn’t enough room, I need to accept that fact and be so grateful that surgery is an option we have in this country and realize that there are women TODAY who do not have this option. I am grateful.


Watching my niece enter into this world was an experience that was so wonderful and provided some totally awesome acceptance and healing regarding my own birthing experiences. I couldn’t be more humbled or grateful that my sister and her husband allowed me to be apart of such a miracle. I’ve told her this several times since, that she did enough PUSHING for the both of us!

My own enemy is how I picture things in my head when in reality, true life happens so much differently and most of the time more beautifully than we could have ever imagined ourselves!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece! I am so excited to watch you grow. I want you to know that from your first moments in this world you were already teaching your Auntie something. Thank you for delivering me sweet little  cousin 3!

That’s my shiny ~


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Freedom in a Budget

About four years ago my family was adjusting to living on one income and grew from two to three with the addition of our son. This adjustment went well on most fronts but one area in particular had us crippled, and that area was making purchasing decisions. Reducing our income stream by one and adding one to our family all at the same time made us raise our white flag in surrender and realize that we had to get our financial life on lock down, get a plan. For me personally I literally had buyers remorse for EVERYTHING, even when I went grocery shopping I would feel guilty! This was largely due to the fact that I myself was no longer bringing in an income and hadn’t learned to value my new role in our relationship and family. So we heard our church was offering a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class and we decided it was time to take the class. This was one of the best decisions we made for our family, for our relationship and for ME the family shopper!
Freedom Budget
Here are 11 Reasons Why Our Family Found Freedom in a BUDGET:
1. Agreement. My husband and I talk about finances just ONCE A MONTH! We don’t have disagreements or argue about money. After we have our initial budget meeting the first of the month we really never talk about it again, this is not an exaggeration! What freedom!
2. DEBT FREE!! We have been able to save and pay off our debt and not accumulate any new debt.
3. Focus. I can focus on taking care of my family instead of worrying about how much money I just spent on groceries.
4. Need. The budget has shown us the value of delayed gratification and has truly defined need vs. want.
5. Bargain. I’ve always been thrifty but now my inner thrifty girl is at a whole new level! Why yes, thank you, I love my dress too, I just purchased it for $6.99! Whoot!
6. Stress. I CAN’T stress this enough! WE NEVER NEVER worry about money. It is not a stressor in our life, this is not because we are loaded or have a ton of money, we are very blessed but we aren’t the swimming in the dough by any means. We do what we can afford. Sometimes we have to say no because we can’t afford things but that is ok. With a little bit of saving and planning we have been able to take vacations, have amazingly blessed Christmases, eat a largely organic diet and work on renovating our house (slowly but surely). All of these things are just JOY with the stress removed because we pay for them in cash and DON’T NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN, like when the bill shows up in the mailbox.
7. Gratitude. We appreciate the things we have more. We realize the amount of time we actually had to save for something. This has given us such gratitude for the worldly possessions we have been so blessed to have.
8. Contribution. I no longer feel like I need to contribute monetarily to our family. Having this budget allows me to feel involved and having these discussions once a month has truly redefined the meaning of “our money”.
9. Giving. We have been able to give SO much more than we were able to give before we started following a budget. This is largely because we control our money and our money doesn’t control us. So our money goes where our hearts go. Having more gratitude for our financial blessings has also opened our hearts more to those who aren’t as fortunate.
10. Rule. We rule our money it doesn’t rule us. There are moments when I want to CURSE the budget and just buy what I want to buy but those moments are few and far between. The moment usually passes or what seems to happen more often than not is that item goes on major clearance or someone we know is selling that “thing” used or I happen to find that item on Craigslist for almost nothing. Honestly, this is one of our favorite parts of budgeting because it feels like God is giving us a little approving slap on the rear each time we score that “thing” at a price we can afford. Talk about a motivator!
11. Respect. Understanding the importance of each other’s role is extremely important for every family, when you discuss your finances side by side it brings to light the roles of each and in turn allows your spouse to understand all that you do for your family and vise versa. Being a one income family can add to that challenge increasing the divide between roles, you have one person working out of the home and one person working within the home. I guarantee when you start to discuss your purchasing plan together gone are the days of any “mine” and “yours” feelings that might exist. Not only does it get both of you involved it also brings forth all of the “duties” that each of you do that might go unnoticed otherwise like buying toilet paper or paying the trash bill.
These are just a few reasons why our family is in a better place because of budgeting. We don’t discuss our budget too often with others but there have been a few instances when someone notices we pay with cash or ask how we make it work on one income. Most of the time their first response is “What if you run out of cash” or “doesn’t that feel restricting”. The answer to both is YES, YES, YES we do run out of cash and when we do, we don’t spend any more. Now there are circumstances that may come up but for the standard monthly expenses once it’s gone, it’s gone. Yes, it can feel restricting at times but NEVER stressful or remorseful! From my seat I will always choose restricting over stress and remorse any day! When I do get to buy that colorful pillow or a cute top we have money set aside for it in the budget, I NEVER NEVER NEVER feel guilty, yes Mother’s out there I buy things for myself and I DO NOT feel guilty about it! This is solely because of the budget.
We have a few simple tricks on how we make this REALLY work long term for our family. It’s kind of like “dieting”, going on a diet will help you loose weight but ultimately you want to be free of that weight and burden for the rest of your life right?? So instead of a quick diet making a lifestyle choice is the best way to accomplish your goal FOREVER!! Structuring your budget so you can do it for the long haul will ensure that this won’t be a binge debt pay-off only to rack up more debt the next month, it is a long term lifestyle change and in the end you will have less weight to carry FOREVER!!!!
I’ll be back to share some of our tips and tricks on how we make it work soon!
That’s my Shiny ~

Monday, January 21, 2013

Green Salad with Salmon and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Finding meals that are quick to make, healthy and don’t have a billon steps and ingredients is always a never ending quest for families. This is true for our house. Since deciding to eat more whole foods there are honestly moments when we have nothing to eat unless I cook, like as in cooking from start to finish. This only causes a problem when for one reason or another cooking a meal from top to bottom just doesn’t fit in the agenda for the evening. I’m still figuring out a few simple go to recipes that can rise to the occasion on those nights without totally throwing in the healthy eating towel and this is one of them! We ate this about once every other week this summer and probably around once every 8 weeks or so since this fall. It is quick and delicious!


Green Salad with Salmon and Raspberry Vinaigrette                                                                                           Cook Time: Around 15 – 20 minutes; Serves: 4


  1. 4 fillets of salmon (I use frozen)
  2. Dried or fresh Rosemary
  3. Lemon Juice
  4. Leafy dark green lettuce (I get a 4 pack of dark leafy lettuce heads at ALDI)
  5. Veggies of your choosing ( I usually throw in whatever we have on hand but mostly carrots, tomatoes, celery and a bit of onion)
  6. Croutons
  7. Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing (I also get the dressing at ALDI, Grandessa Raspberry vinaigrette
  8. Optional Feta Cheese, if you have on hand or feel like picking some up, this adds a yummy flavor and texture

1. Defrost salmon. I usually run it under cold water for just a few minutes and start the cooking process before it is totally thawed. In a cast iron skillet (or stainless steal skillet) put a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the pan and let heat. Sprinkle a little salt pepper and rosemary on both sides of the fish. Place fish in the skillet. Once the fish is cooked to your liking (usually takes just a few minutes per side, I hover around 4 mins, I like mine cooked through) add about a tablespoon of lemon around your fish. Swirl the pan around to disperse evenly. Remove the fish from the heat.

2. While your fish is defrosting and cooking start prepping your salad. Cut greens, and veggies place in a large bowl.

3. Prepare the plates by adding greens and veggies, gently break the salmon up with a fork and place pieces over the salad, add croutons and finally top with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing and feta cheese.

Enjoy! Our kiddos love this meal too, it helps that they are big salad lovers to start! I hope you find this meal as refreshing, tasty and simple as my family does!

That’s my Shiny ~ J

Friday, October 19, 2012

Second Day Hair: High Fishtail Pony

Wearing a high pony with a fishtail braid has been another go to of mine since early spring. I only wore it once or twice before the Summer Olympics started, but then! This type of tamed yet jazzed up pony was all over the courts, the volleyball courts! Indoor and sand volleyball and I do love me some volleyball and showing a little Olympic support, so during and since then I have found myself gravitating to this style a bit more. It easy and fuss free just like a pony tail but a little more polished.

Photos of the USA volleyball teams from the 2012 Summer Olympics


High Fishtail Pony


High Fish Tail Pony - Steps:

1. Add some texture to the roots of your hair by using dry shampoo and / or spray hairspray or texture spray into the palm of your hands and then kind of comb it through with your fingers starting right at your roots. I’m not a back comber, it just makes my hair look frizzy and tangled so this is the method I use. But if back combing works for you for volume that’s a great option too.

2. Pull hair into a high pony. Leave a little room to go up. I like to get more volume in the front when I tighten my pony. I separate into two piece and while tugging to tighten I kind of pull up ward and the pony moves up and pushes more volume to the front. After I do that I usually use my fingers and gently tug and pull up at the front part until I get the volume I’m looking for. I kind of have a flat head, hehe.

3. Grab a piece of hair from the middle underside of your pony. wrap around your pony tail holder to conceal it. secure with a bobby pin and smooth with hairspray. Either spray on your hand and smooth or directly on to the wrapped hair,  smooth hair down with your fingers.

4. Separate your pony into two pieces. Grab a small chunk of hair from the outer edge of one side and bring to the other side. Repeat on the other side. The smaller pieces you grab the tighter the fishtail. I generally do it pretty loose so I grab about a third of the side before crossing over. continue until you get close to the bottom, I usually leave about 2-3 inches at the bottom.

5. Secure with a clear rubber band. Gently hair spray

Of course this would also look stellar with a regular braid too!

That’s my Shiny ~ J

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Even Better Fiber and Omega Rich Whole Wheat Banana Muffins (or bread)

You can find the original recipe here if you don’t have maple syrup on hand or if you would just rather use good old fashioned sugar! The morning after I posted this I actually made the muffins again and went for the less sugar option. I actually preferred them! The maple syrup almost made them fluffier. YUM!

Recipe yields 24 muffins or 2 thin loafs of bread


Small loaf with just a few pieces left





2 cups whole wheat flour (I use Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat White Flour)

2 organic eggs

1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup ground flax meal (optional, see note below)*

2/3 cup brown sugar (could even reduce to 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 cup mashed bananas (3 large)

3/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk (to make sour milk: add a little less than 1 T lemon juice in measuring cup, pour in milk to reach 3/4 cup, let set for 5 mins)

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup butter softened

1 t vanilla

1.Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together (flour, oats, flax meal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt) mix well.

2. Make sour milk (see note above), crack eggs into same measuring cup with milk and whisk together with fork. Add milk and egg mixture to dry mix.

3. Add remaining ingredients to mixture (mashed bananas, greek yogurt, butter, vanilla, maple syrup). Stir together until well mixed.

4. Makes 2 dozen full size muffins or 2 small loafs of bread (or one of each). Scoop batter into greased muffin tin using an ice cream scooper (one full scoop per muffin). Or pour batter into greased and prepared bread pans. Bake muffins for 12-18 mins and bread for 30-35 mins or until knife or tooth pick poked in the center comes out clean.

*Ground flax meal is optional but I wouldn’t leave it out, this AMPS up the health factor by adding lots of fiber and Omega. I use Bob’s Red Mill Whole Ground Flax Meal, I think this also makes the texture and flavor extra yummy! Ground Flax Meal is also a great brain and heart healthy addition to any bread, baked oatmeal or even smoothie recipe!

Happy baking!

That’s my Shiny ~ J