Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Hey y'all!
So I know I kind of pooped on the blogging challenge but the last few days weren't really things that I could write about- but I'm proud of myself for getting out as many posts as I did.  I'm also wicked excited for next year.  I have a lot of ideas and can't wait to get back to writing about what's on my mind and what's going on.
Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope you had a very Happy Hanukkah, if you celebrate!
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday Books 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #8

This is a tough one!
I don't read very much and when I do it's junk like Twilight or 50 Shades!  Plus I don't have children, so I'm not even sure where to begin with suggesting holiday books, but I'm going to try!
The first book I thought of when I read today's challenge was Little Women!  I love, love, LOVE this book!  However, I'm almost positive it doesn't count as a holiday book with the exception that there are mentions of Christmas through out the years.
I did a google/amazon search for some more child friendly books and these are the ones that I would buy, if I had kids or nieces/nephews.
1. God Gave us Christmas 2. The Polar Express (Classic!) 
3. Latke, the Lucky Dog 4. Blues Clues Holiday (is Blue still cool?
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Gifts for the Fat Girl Who Wants to be Thin 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #7 (aka High Five for Friday!)

Before we get started, can I get a high five for longest blog title ever!?
Ok, thank you!
Now then- part of the blogging challenge is to do a list of gift ideas.  I honestly don't know if this list will appeal to everyone out there but I know that while I'm trying to lose weight these are the top five things that I would LOVE to get this year!  
1. A Bosu Ball I had one work out class with this and it was incredible!  Never have I ever had such a good ab work out, really it was a full body work out.  I love to watch TV so to have this at home, I could make better use of that TV time!
2. Shakeology A friend of mine works for Beach body and sells these shakes as well as the P90X series.  So many of our friends have had incredible success with jump starting their weight loss journeys with these products.  I want to try but it's so expensive!  Really- if I stopped going to wawa and making dumb side purchases, I'd have more than enough money to afford it, but getting it as a gift would also be incredible!
3. Work out gear As I mentioned not too long ago, finding cute and comfortable work out gear at my size (ranging from 1-3X) at an affordable price is not easy.  I've found Wal-mart to be the best for this, check out how cute this outfit is!
4. Fitbit! I don't trust the machines at the gym to give me an accurate account of how many calories I'm burning and I have no way of tracking what I burn while I'm doing weights, so I feel like this is a must!  They range in sizes and shapes, the link is the one that I personally think is the best.
5. Body Wraps I'm seeing a lot of success with these in helping to get rid of cellulite and tighten up that extra skin you have once you start losing weight.  I want to try it!
What's on your Christmas wish list this year?
Have you tried any of these products?
Have any other recommendations for assisting in weight lose?
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beauty Must-Haves 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #6

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm no expert when it comes to fashion and I'm even less of an expert with it comes to beauty.  However, I have found some products that seem to work for me- hopefully they'll work for you too!
1. Almay Intense I-Color Compacts- I'm still learning to do my makeup and having a compact with a million colors in it is just not conducive to my abilities.  These are the perfect solution to that conundrum because they're set up to accentuate your eye color and they come with instructions on exactly how to apply each color.  There is pretty much no way to mess it up!
2. Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner- Just like with the eye shadow this is a no brainer since you choose colors based on your eye color.  It's also super easy to apply!
3. L'Oreal Power Volume Collagen Mascara- it's waterproof!  I love it because I have a lot of eye lashes but they're not very dark so this makes your eye lashes pop but it doesn't clump up and end up looking like spider eyes.  Another product that's easy to apply!
4. Garnier Ultra Lift Transformer- Originally, I bought this only because it was randomly on sale at Wal-Mart, but I'm so glad that I did.  It's slightly tinted (something I didn't realize when I first put it on and just slathered it on) so I use it as a base/foundation.  It really does even out your skin and feels light, I hate feeling like I have makeup caked on my face!  Plus it has SPF protection, which I never use and probably should start before I get anymore wrinkles!
5. Eye shadow Brush Kit- The one in the picture I grabbed on a late night, impulse buy from Wal-Mart, the one in the link is the closest I could find to it.  I personally don't believe that you have to have the most expensive, designer brushes.  You just need a set that will help you apply your makeup evenly, something I can't accomplish with the sponge applicators that come in the compacts.  But I'm not a professional, so don't take my word for it.  Maybe just start with a small, cheap kit like mine until you branch out and learn more about application.
6. Eye lash curler- this should go without an explanation.  I feel like this is something everyone should use to accentuate their lackluster lashes.  A trick I learned in college was to hit the curler with heat from your blow dryer for a few seconds before using it- be very careful NOT to burn yourself.  It will help the curl be more dramatic and last longer.
7. Duck bill clips- If your hair is super thick, like mine, and it takes you a while to dry, or you like to curl your hair, or your trying to style it with a tutorial you found on youtube, you need these!  I used to separate my hair into sections with hair ties/rubber bands, but they rip my hair and leave dents in my hair, plus sometimes you need a lot of little pieces sectioned off.  It just makes sense to have these because of how much easier they make styling your mane!
8. Vaseline Intensive Care Moisturizer- (not pictures) My skin is always dry, but especially in the winter!  I find this helps best, it doesn't burn my skin, and it does leave a nice glow.  I use it every morning after my shower and every night when I go to bed and it helps keep the ashy skin and rough elbows/knees at bay.
9. Aussie Dual Personality Hair Spray, Hi Hold + Hi Shine, Maximum Hold- I love this hair spray because it holds so well and it makes my hair shiny but not greasy.  No matter what shampoo, conditioner, treatment, etc... I use on my hair, it always looks dull and frizzy, so I love how healthy this makes my hair look!
10. Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely- My current favorite perfume.  It's light but elegant.  I'm not good with picking out the different scents that combine to create one but I can tell you that I feel sophisticated when I wear it and I'm always complimented on it!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Fashion for the Big Girl, always accessorize! 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #5


I want to preface this post with the fact that I am NOT a fashion blogger, in fact I don't consider myself to be very fashionable in general.  As a plus sized girl I have a lot of difficulty finding clothes that I love and actually look good on me.  However, I have stumbled on to some looks that are particularly flattering, easy on the wallet (!) and will be incredible for upcoming holiday activities.
The best thing I've learned as a "big girl" is that Torrid and Lane Bryant are not our only options!  You can find a lot of their clothes and other designers at places like TJ Maxx, Mashalls, and Burlington Coat Factory.  I cannot stand the idea of paying double the price just because I'm a big girl!  I get that there is more material but come on, fat tax is not cool!  Shopping at these discount stores is much better, getting things marked down to regular prices or even further down when they're on discount, my favorite!
I recently snatched up this dress and LOVE it!  
Sorry I don't have a pic of myself in it, the website pic will have to do!
I'm planning on wearing it for Christmas Eve though, so I'm sure it'll be on my instagram feed!

It fits me perfectly and can be dressed up or down, based on the event I'm going to.

When your clothes don't make you feel incredible, your accessories should!  I've recently fallen in love with metallic headbands and found one in the local drugstore that wrapped around your head so it could create this look:


However, it had a foam/sponge wrapping on the band that made it slip out of my hair and the twisted band that was supposed to be seen kept twisting on it's self and showing the boring underside.  If you're going to go for a metallic look I strong recommend getting a basic band or at least one like in the picture that doesn't have the foam/sponge part- it was a wasted $9.99.  (Of course I can't remember the brand and the wrapping is gone, when I go back to the store, I'll check and post about it so you'll know to stay away!)

Metal Marvels is a fantastic store to get headbands and other accessories from!  
These are my current favorite headbands from their site:


If you're not into headbands but love delicate, and again inexpensive, jewelry like me then you'll love Lauren Conrads collection- LC Lauren Conrad at Kohl's.  I have at least 10 pairs of her earrings, several of her necklaces, and even a few rings.  These are my personal favorite:


And of course, we can't forget the shoes!  DSW and Burlington are my current favorite places to find good deals.  I recently purchased these, but they have studs on them AND they were on clearance for $10!  You just can't beat that!  Plus I'm tough on my shoes, I assume it's because I'm so big, so when I get great shoes on the cheap I don't feel so horrible when I ruin them.


Plus DSW has this amazing section full of boots under $45!  What?!
This is just a sampling of what they have to offer:


What are you wearing for the holidays?
Are you a plus sized girl?  Any tips you have to offer are ALWAYS welcomed!
Are you as big a fan of accessories as I am?

Linking up with !

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Favorite Pinterest DIY Holiday Projects- 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #4

Crafting's my favorite!
(Said like Buddy...)
But I just haven't had the time!
So I don't have any projects I can share with you that I've completed but I combed through my Tis The Season board on pinterest and choose a few of my favorites to share with you.
Milk Jug Snowmen



Ornament Wreath


Have you been crafting a lot this holiday season?
What's your favorite thing that you've made?

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Monday, December 15, 2014

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #3 - Christmas Memories

(source)
My family is tight knit and fun loving.  We moved out of Connecticut when I was 9 so holidays are the best and sometimes only time I get to see my family.  To say they're a big deal would be an understatement.
There are so many amazing memories flooding back to me right now that I don't know which one to share so I have to pick a few, so please bare with me while I stroll down memory lane.
I actually don't remember this happening, but it's been told to me so many times, I can picture it in my head.  When I was 4, our tradition was for the entire family to congregate on Christmas Eve at my Great Aunt Peanzie's house.  At this point it was my Great Grandfather, who we referred to as little Poppie, his children, their children, and all their children (at the time it was just me and my baby cousin.)  Seeing as I was the only kid, my Uncle Anthony had to have his fun.  I LOVE chocolate and I LOVE my aunt's homemade fudge, but not this year.  This year, my aunt told me it was dog doo doo, and when it was passed around to me I used his wording!  So they put the plate in front of me and I yell, "ew gross!  I don't want dog $hit!"  The room went silent, my great grandfather face palmed his forehead, yelling at my uncle, and then everyone burst into laughter.  To this day, when I'm eating chocolate my family asks if I'm sure I want to eat it because it might be from a dog!
A few years later, my parents had the brilliant idea to take me to Disney for Christmas.  Honestly, at 7 years old, it was the most magical place EVER- probably still would be today.  They were smart!  It was my first flight and my mom was already terrified, and my dad didn't want that to rub off on me.  So we flew at night and they gave me the window, instructing me to watch the Christmas lights as we flew down the east coast.  It was so fun, and I can still vividly remember seeming the twinkling lights from way up high.  But of course, it wasn't that simple!  On Christmas Eve, I panicked because there was no fireplace in the room and that meant Santa couldn't get to us.  Then I realized that he wouldn't know where we were because we didn't leave a note (gotta love the mind of a child) and really freaked because I thought I wasn't getting any presents.  Thankfully, my parents thought ahead, which actually may be bad because that goes to show they expected my bratty behavior, but nevertheless, they thought ahead and brought 1 barbie, which was placed on my night stand with a note letting me know the rest of my presents were waiting for me back home.  They had my grandparents go over before we got home and set up everything under the tree.  They're so good!
And finally, Christmas when I was 9.  At this point, the family had grown and we no longer fit in my Aunt's house so Christmas was held over the weekend and we rented a hall.  I remember my great uncle dressing up as Santa, we played bingo, ate lots of food, and apparently drank a bit too.  A couple of my cousin's got into a heated argument that turned into an all out brawl.  Needless to say, we no longer rent a hall, and have to make it a point to get to individual's houses so we can see each other during the holidays.  I would love to resurrect this party but every time I suggest it, I'm told to "leave well enough alone."  Apparently, some people still haven't gotten over whatever it is they were fighting over.
What's your favorite Christmas Memory?
Have any funny ones?

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #2- Random Acts of Kindness

This one has me stumped!
Being kind to others is crucial, year round, so honestly what I'm thinking is do what people love to do this time of year- donate clothes and toys, volunteer at soup kitchens, donate food, etc... but do it when it's NOT during the holidays!  
It's great for kids in need to get coats and toys for Christmas, but what about for their birthdays?  What about shorts in the summer?  They need help year round, so that could be your random act- do something nice at an unexpected time.
For a not so random act of kindness my favorite tradition as a child was going to the local mall and choosing children to sponsor.  We had an orphanage and home for troubled teens in our town.  So every year they would be given pamphlets to fill out about what they want and need for the holidays.  The pamphlets would then be stapled to wooden trees in the mall court yard and we could take them, then bring back wrapped presents with the pamphlet attached.
My mom would have me pick 5 children (she always wanted 6 total, so that's why she choose 5- you do what you can do, even 1 is a huge help) and I would then have to do the shopping for them.  We did this before we shopped for anyone else, I didn't get anything for it.  This taught me the great lesson of how much better it is to give than to receive!  I learned to not be the selfish brat who screams in a toy store because I want a gift that we're buying for someone else, and I learned to appreciate what I do have because my parents kept reminding me that these children didn't have the home and family that we have so we had to do this for them to have our kind of Christmas.
If you have anything like this in your area I strongly recommend you not only taking part but having your children be active participants as well.
To this day, I love getting gifts, but I'm a much bigger than of giving!
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS BLOGGING CHALLENGE DAY #1 - Christmas Recipes

As I've mentioned before, my family loves to bake around the holidays!  So when I started this challenge, I instantly knew I'd have to share a cookie recipe!
Today is a true Italian classic....
It gets it's name from the nuts that are on top of it, and they have a deliciously almondy flavor!
Ingredients:
1 LB Almond Paste
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Egg WHITES
3/4 Cup Confectioner Sugar
3/4 LB Pignoli Nuts
Instructions:
Crumble the paste with your hands, then blend in sugars, again by hand.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they're almost stuff, the fold into the paste and sugar mixture.  Form the cookies into balls or into crescents- my family does crescents- roll the cookies into the nuts and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden.  
Voila!  They're chewy and soft and just oh so delicious!
Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Fat Girls Guide for Surviving the Gym

I've been trying to lose weight probably since I was 10.  I honestly have at least 100 lbs that I need to drop to not just look better but to actually be healthy!  My attempts always ends with me getting frustrated and giving up but now that I'm older and know what I want out of life, I really have a fire inside of me to get this done.
So I started going to the gym before work and started really watching what I eat.  It's still a work in progress, I've really only been motivated for a month or so but already I've learned so much!
Before you even begin working out it's important to choose a gym that's right for you.  I loved the idea of going to a gym that had a bunch of classes and decided it was worth it to spend the $50 a month for that option instead of the $10-$20 for a local planet fitness.  Shortly after I joined I realized that most of the classes didn't work with my work schedule and the ones that did I didn't enjoy!  So I was spending $50 for what I could have gotten for less than 1/2 from another gym.  Ultimately, I choose Planet Fitness at the black card level ($20 a month) because this way I could use the gym near work in the mornings and the one near home on the weekends.  It has the cardio machines I want, the weight machines I need, and the price and locations can't be beat.  Think about what it is you want from a gym and weigh your options so that you can end up at a gym that's best for you and isn't blowing your bank account.
While choosing a gym is essential to sticking with your program and actually getting results, the #1 thing that I've learned is to not worry about what others are thinking!  I used to look around at all these svelte men and women working out and think, "They're watching me and laughing because I'm so fat and disgusting."  (Sweat literally pours off of me when I work out, it really is not a pretty picture.)  Then it finally occurred to me that they don't care.  They're there for them, not for me.  They don't care what I look like or what I'm doing, and if they do, they're horrible people!
Going along with that you cannot hold yourself to the same level of capability as the other people in the gym.  If they're thin, they're possibly in better shape or have been doing this longer.  Don't look at the girl next to you who's running at 7 mph and think you have to do it too!  Don't be ashamed to run slower or even walk!  Do what you are capable of doing!  If you keep at it, you will build up to what the other gym rats are doing.  Your only focus should be you, not everyone around you!
It is also absolutely imperative that you wear comfortable clothes, that fit!  While no one should be looking at you and judging, we can all be honest that it is never tasteful or appropriate to wear clothing that is too tight or that leaves you hanging out all over the place.  I have rolls and I know no one wants to see that.  At the same time, try to find clothes that still look good (I know it's hard for big girls, I'm always on the hunt for cute clothes that fit!)   It sounds silly but I feel better and tend to work out harder when I'm in a "cute" workout outfit as opposed to just some frumpy sweats and a tee shirt.
Always go in with a plan!  There is a man I see every morning at my gym that clearly has no clue!  He does 5 minutes of cardio, then 2-5 reps on each machine- he never adjusts the seat or the weight, and never wipes them down.  He's just running around like he's on some kind of a high that he's trying to work off.  Honestly, it's entertaining and annoying to watch!  (I know, I know, I shouldn't be watching!  But it's hard to ignore!)  My point isn't to have a plan to not annoy others, my point is to have a plan so that you're getting the most out of your work out.  Make sure you're doing enough cardio, at the right heart rate for maximum fat burn, but don't neglect your muscle tone and leave out the weights.  No one wants to look like a muscle builder but if you want to get toned you will want to do the weights, plus it helps burn even more calories.  I have spoken to some friends who are nutritionists and they've made some suggestions for me that might work for you (I'll be sharing them soon) but in the mean time ask your doctor, ask the trainer at your gym, or do research online for routines that will be helpful to get you started before you can start planning your own work outs.
Now that you're confidently working out, and looking good, take pictures!  You'll want to have it documented as your body begins to change and improve.  You don't have to take a picture every day and you don't even have to take them at the gym, and you certainly don't have to post them to social media!  These are more for you than for anyone else, so that you can look back and be proud of what you've accomplished.
I'll be posting more about working out and attempting to lose weight as I get further along on my journey.  I'm hoping to post more tips, recipes, and progress reports.  I'm sharing some pictures on instagram with the hashtag #lessfatmorefun2015.  Please feel free to follow along and share your progress as well!  I love having the support and motivation but also love giving it to my fellow gym and weight loss "newbies."
Are you in the process of working to lose a large amount of weight?
Do you have any advice to add to this?
Would you be interested in a weekly or monthly link up for a progress report?


I'm also helping share a giveaway this week! Hurry, the offer ends 12/15/2014!
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Whew! What an awesome giveaway! The Owner of the Etsy shop, SecondHandGoddess, has put together a huge giveaway for her fans! Enter to win below for your chance to win an item from Second Hand Goddess. The best part? You get to choose! Also, there will be not one, but TWO lucky winners!
Good luck to all who Enter!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Italian Christmas Cookies!

Part of my family is Jewish.
Part of my family is Catholic
The Catholic side is Italian and oh do they know how to cook and bake.
There is never a special occasion or a holiday that passes when we don't get a massive tray of delicious, homemade cookies from my great aunt/God mother.
As part of my bridal shower gift 5+ years ago, she made me notebook full of family recipes and recipes she had found online and managed to slip into her repertoire.

(I love how she put a picture of my little cousin on the front and put the pages in plastic protectors.  I'm so messy when I bake, so it's good that the pages are protected!
I mentioned not to long ago that my parents had gone away for their 35th wedding anniversary and I took advantage of having the house to myself and did some baking.  I'm finally getting around to sharing my 2 favorite recipes with you!

Cookie Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 TSP lemon extract
1 TSP orange extract
6 cups of flour
3 sticks of butter
1 cup OJ
1 TSP baking soda
6 TSP baking powder
Mix the eggs, butter, and sugar, then add the OJ, lemon and orange extracts.  Mix well!  Then add the baking soda, baking powder, and flour.  Again, mix well!  Shape the batter into 1-2 inch balls and bake at 350F for 6-8 minutes.  Frost cookies when cooled.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick of butter
1 box confectioners sugar
milk 
Instructions:
Mix ingredients, add milk as needed depending on the desired texture/consistency.
Additionally, you can add food coloring if desired.  You can also add sprinkles!

Ingredients:
1- 15 oz box of Graham Crackers, crumbled
1 box confectioners sugar
28 oz jar of peanut butter
1 stick of melted butter
melting chocolate
Instructions:
Blend all ingredients, minus the chocolate, together.  Roll into 1-2 inch balls.  Place on wax paper covered baking sheets and let set in refrigerator for about an hour.  In the mean time, melt down the chocolate right before you pull the balls from the fridge.  Dip each ball in the chocolate and replace on the baking sheets.  Leave in the fridge until the chocolate is solid.
Do you like to bake?  
Is your family full of bakers like mine?
What are your favorite recipes for around the holidays?


The Princess & Her Cowboys

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Whew! What an awesome giveaway! The Owner of the Etsy shop, SecondHandGoddess, has put together a huge giveaway for her fans! Enter to win below for your chance to win an item from Second Hand Goddess. The best part? You get to choose! Also, there will be not one, but TWO lucky winners!

Good luck to all who Enter!
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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Party Planning and Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

Y'all, despite my best efforts I was a total "bahumbug" about the holiday's last year.
I refuse to let this year be the same!
I have made plans for Christmas Eve with friends and I'll spend Christmas day with my parents.  Hopefully I'll get up to Connecticut to see my family that weekend or shortly there after.
I have joined the "party planning committee" at work and I'm diving head first into planning our in office as well as the out of office party.  Right now I'm focusing on the in office, which will feature Ugly Sweaters!  I'm so so so excited for this!  I have wanted to do this kind of a party for forever and my friends always poo poo'd the idea so I never got to.  Seize the moment I will!


(Forgive me while I revel in the memories of The Office's PPC)
While doing research for what to wear to this party I came across a couple great sites as well as pinterest ideas that I love and I of course had to share them with y'all!
First of all, we're ordering from this site!  Buy 3 get 1 free, so 4 of us are going to split the cost!  Some of them are so funny (I'm sorry, reindeer getting it on makes me laugh like an immature teenager) but inappropriate for work.  I'll be getting the sloth tee shirt!  I can't wait to get it!

This site also looks FANTASTIC!  It's a little more expensive but so many hilarious options!  
The jumpsuits are hilarious!

Now if you're looking to make your own sweater here are my personal favorites from pinterest:




Do you have a "PPC" at work?  Do you participate?
Have you ever taken part in an ugly sweater party?  Did you make your own sweater
Do you have an annual holiday party that you host or go to?
What's your favorite theme for a holiday party?
Sorry for so many questions!  Just curious what y'all are up to for the holidays!
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