Friday, May 24, 2013

H54F #8 | I *heart* FRIDAYS

I love Fridays. 
I especially love Fridays when they are going into a 3-day weekend! 
And I especially love a 3-day weekend when I get to spend it at the lake. 
So Happy Friday to you! This week's highlights?


1 :: I was loud 'n' proud on Monday, sportin my Marathon Relay tee at work.

2 :: Yes, I apparently wash my tennis shoes. A little soak and scrub in some warm, soapy water gets those muddy sneaks right back to their pretty white.

3 :: Got my first Birchbox! Yesterday! Which means I've tried nothing but the perfume (which I looooove). And even though I knew it was coming, I loved getting a pink package in my mailbox :) Girly girl. Right here.

4 :: I just felt excited that today I'm finally wearing my Maui tee from my parents' vacay. Just wish I'd bought it myself in Maui. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

5 :: I get to spend my weekend here. If that doesn't deserve a high-five, I don't know what does.

Do you have fun, exciting plans for the long holiday weekend? 
Whether you plan on partying or relaxing, I hope you have a good one. Stay cool, friends!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

With a Heavy Heart

My dad always says "good things happen to good people".
And I believe him. I truly do. 
But why do bad things have to happen to good people, too?

Have you seen this video? It's heart-wrenching. Why does a 17 year-old boy who's so completely full of life only get 17 years to live?
Why did my husband, a strong kid who turned into a compassionate and inspiring man, have to choose to move out of his family's dysfunctional home as soon as he turned 18?
Why are people and children dying in Oklahoma due to a natural disaster that is completely out of their control?
Why are some people still coming to work everyday when their family or life seems to be falling apart?

I know God has a plan and everything happens for a reason. Isn't that how the saying goes? But sometimes, don't you just feel like knowing that still isn't enough? Because at the same time, I get reminded of the tough situations that we ourselves have had to overcome in our mere 25 years of life. Or  I know there's a good person who's hurting in some way. 

And it's with a heavy heart that I say a little prayer.

Even though we know there's a plan or a reason or whatever, everyone, at some point in their life, has thought to themselves "Why me?" Or "Why him? He's such a good person." Sometimes I wonder, if I think these questions to myself, does it mean that I'm questioning God and his plan? Maybe I am, because let's be honest - there have been times when, if I could talk to God, I would say, "What the heck are you thinking? Horrible plan, God. Horrible plan."


But we can't talk to God, which means we have to trust in God. Good things happen to good people, and we have to trust in God to allow those good things to find their path. I think that sometimes, being exposed to bad situations are supposed to remind me of how lucky I am. So I feel like tonight, I need to feel lucky. And I need to say thank you.

I'm thankful to be alive.
I'm thankful for a husband that supports, forgives, and loves me with his whole being.
I'm thankful to have a normal and safe family that loves each other unconditionally.
I'm thankful that I have a home. And a roof. And a warm bed to sleep in tonight.
I'm thankful that, although my life isn't perfect, it's pretty darn good.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10 things that make me happy!

It's my first time linking up with Tuesday Topics with Lauren and Tiffany!

I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with today's topic - Ten things that make me happy...

Real, material things? People? Food? Moments? A feeling? A habit? There's so much happiness to choose from. 

So I just chose 10, with no rhyme or reason, and ended up with quite the conglomeration. 
Without further ado... my Ten Happys:

1 // The smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies and the taste of that first sip of coffee in the morning or wine in the evening. 

2 // Math + numbers + budgets + organizing. Yes, I might be an OCD nerd.

3 // DWTS Freestyle routines. {Honestly, I probably just thought of this because I'm watching DWTS now, but I just LOVE their freestyle routines every season!}

4 // The lake. My true happy place.

5 // Freshly-washed sheets on my bed. {Which reminds me, it's Monday evening as I'm writing this and that brand spankin newly-made bed is calling my name!}

6 // New accessories - anything from Essie nail polish, to a $5 Target fedora, to a Coach purse.

7 // Getting completely caught up in a book. I have very eclectic taste - anything from The Hunger Games to 50 Shades of Grey to Harry Potter to Karen Kingsbury novels.

8 // Gilmore Girls. 

9 // The Limited. I think 80% of my closet has come from The Limited.

10 // A good sweat session. I might not always want to do it or love it but it sure makes me feel happy afterwards.





Even just writing this post made me happy :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

THE Collective Blog Hop!

I'm co-hosting with some lovely bloggers so make sure you join in the fun, link-up, and find some new blogs to follow!!
{Make sure you check out my #Active180 Challenge Update post below!}


Welcome to the NEW and IMPROVED weekly blog hop party, THE Collective.
This is a link up for bloggers who want to gain followers and meet awesome people.
Not sure if this is the blog hop for you? Listen to what other bloggers have to say...

"Just to let you know, your blog hop is the best I've participated in for gaining new friends!!! I couldn't believe the results!! Thank you!"
- Danavee, This Vintage Grove
"I'm dropping by to let you know that I love being a part of your blog hop! 
 I have been meeting really nice bloggers.  Bloggers who are actually friendly and want to connect! 
I'm putting the blog hop button on my side bar, like, permanently!  Everyone should know about it. Just thought I'd share with you. Thank you."
-Vickie, Oh Abby Day

"Hi BreAnna, just want to say that your blog is beautiful, creative, and fun. The GFC collective is one of my favorite parts of the blogging week. Love meeting new friends and fellow bloggers. We just started our blog and were amazed at how helpful the GFC collective is! Keep up the amazing work."
-Alea and Rachael, Sparkle Your Life


"This GFC Collective Hop is seriously one of the best link ups out there! Through this hop I have found so many great blogs & friends that I wouldn't have otherwise found! Thank you so much for hosting such a fun link up! Please take the time to link up & join along! You won't be sorry that you did!"

Has THE Collective done wonders for your following? Let me know, shoot me an email at peacoatsnplaid(at)gmail(dot)com




and our lovely co-hosts for the week

Rebecca @ Caravan Sonnet
Samantha @ Life Style Love

...want to co-host? Email Bre at peacoatsnplaid(at)gmail(dot)com






#Active180 Challenge Update!!

3 weeks ago, I joined Melissa from In Her Boots in her #Active180 Challenge! {Read more about it + join in here!} My initial motivation was the fact that I was signed up to run a 4-person marathon relay and had procrastinated my training terribly (Obviously. Apparently I love to put things off as long as possible so that I freak out when it catches up to me.) So for me, Melissa's challenge was a little bit of an extra push, more motivation, and another reason to commit to being more active.
I love my lifestyle in the last 3 weeks. I love that I feel more confident. I love that there are other amazing women out there also joining in the challenge to be more active. I truly look forward to reading about others' experiences and progress. We are all in this together. 

In the past 3 weeks, here are 4 things I have...

accomplished: exercised for a total of 67.7 miles, not including any warm-ups or cool-downs.

learned: having another person to go to the gym with makes all the difference. Thank God my hubby and I make the early trek to the gym together. 

hated: our alarm that goes off at 4:37 AM!!!

loved: all the extra energy I seem to have throughout the day (+ the days FLY by).

3 reasons why I will continue my healthier, more active lifestyle...

1 // Being more active means I naturally eat healthier because I crave fresh fruit, and smoothies, and lean meats. Who wants to put crap in their body when you know that's what you'll be burning off tomorrow morning?

2 // I have lost 8 pounds due to my new lifestyle. I love how my body is changing and look forward to the increased confidence.

3 // No more headaches. Before I started my healthier lifestyle, I was taking 2 ibuprofen or tylenol every single day at some point for a headache. In the last 3 weeks, I have had less than 5 headaches. Total.

2 of my favorite healthy eats have been...

1 // Avocados! On crackers, in a relish, by themselves... you just can't go wrong. Plus, they're on the list of foods that encourage your body to burn fat and lose weight.

2 // Smoothies! My go-to ingredients: Vanilla Greek yogurt, frozen berries, frozen mangoes, peanut butter, splash of juice, water or ice cubes. {I don't mix ALL these things together in ONE - these are just my favorite ingredients to pick n choose from!}

1 goal I have for the next couple of weeks is...

To add more strength training to my routine. Getting ready for the marathon, I was focusing on cardio endurance but now I'm looking forward to being able to spend some of my time at the gym using free weights and doing ab work.

I'll be posting more about our 4-person marathon relay later this week {Think: amateur runners, porta-potties, leg cramps, + stinky sweat, all mixed into one great experience.} I know, you can't wait, right? Ok, here's a sneak peek, I'm the one in the hat that makes me look bald:

Have you been participating in this challenge or want to? Do you have any tips/favorite moves for strength-training? {It seems like that section of the gym is a "man's world" and can be so intimidating!}

Friday, May 17, 2013

H54F #7 | Mediocrity + H54F + TGIF!!!

You know your life is currently a little mediocre when you have a tough time picking 5 highlights of the week with related photos! 

Here's what my weekdays look like: wake up @ 4:45, run/workout, work 7:30-4:30, try to find time in the evenings for dinner, chores, errands, and a tv show. Nothing too exciting, right? 

So I tell ya what folks, this is the best I can do this week :)


one // I guest-posted here on Tuesday with one of my absolute favorite summer "salad" recipes. You have to go check it out. I eat bucket-loads of it. And it's healthy. Win-win.
 
two // I've been into smoothies. I haven't gone green yet... I'm nervous that adding spinach or some other green will totally ruin it because of my horrible experience with kale this one time. I'm thinking sometime soon though, I have to take the leap and try a "green smoothie" that everyone is raving about.
 
three // New favorite lunch {Corn, tomato, avocado, spices, and sesame crisps} + new favorite photo app {A Beautiful Mess}.
 
four // Time with my main squeeze.
five // Possible accessory for our marathon relay on Saturday? He was totally kidding. But I would totally love to have water strapped to my waist during the upcoming race.
 
Tomorrow I run 5.2 miles for my leg of our 4-person marathon relay. Say a little prayer for me, will ya? The most I've run is 4.5 miles so I'm hoping the adrenaline will carry me the rest of the way :)
 
Oh, a little birdie told me there might be a giveaway over here today :)
 
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Organizing your bathroom

I originally shared this post over at Limited Space Organizing, but I'm just so happy with my bathroom organization that I had to share it here! Yes, I think organizing is cool. If you think that's weird then you should probably just stop reading. I already shared with you how I made the neato-o labels you're about to see, so if you like them, head over here

Not only do I love for things to be organized, but I also love for them to be pretty to the eyes and cheap to the budget. Which is why I am proud of how I've arranged our small bathroom in our one-bedroom apartment. 

Between my husband and I we have a lot of stuff. Okay, yes, most of it is probably mine. But I needed to find a way to organize our things not only so that everything has it's 'own place', but also so that it's easy for both of us to maintain. It doesn't do any good if you spend hours organizing, only to have to redo it 3 weeks later. Here is what I love about our bathroom organization:

1. Labels - pretty and obvious. I love how they look and my hubs loves that he knows exactly where to find something or where to put it back. Head over here to see how I made them.

2. The things we use on a daily basis are in the front. The things we rarely use, i.e. first aid kit, extra shampoo, extra washcloths, are in the back or on the bottom shelf.

3. Hooks in the shower.


4. All materials are multi-purpose. The crates and shelves can be used in a bathroom, linen closet, storage room, kitchen, or even bedroom closet. If you're like me and like to change around your storage/organization every so often, then having items like these that can be used in so many different ways are extremely practical.

5. I used office organizers in the bathroom! If you're trying to organize your bathroom, don't limit yourself to the bathroom section in Target. Look in all sections - who knows what idea you might come up with.

My total cost: about 5 dollars for this project! This is because I only had to buy the supplies to make the labels and only used a small portion of the labeling supplies. Often times, an area can be organized just by making use of things you have lying around. I happened to already have extra crates and shelves that were not being used so I didn't need to buy those. However, they can normally be found for around $5.00 each on average. {similar: here} Totally reasonable.

I love it. I love that I know where to find things. I love that Parks knows where to put things after he uses them. Fun labels make me happy. Do you love the way you've organized your bathroom or another space of your place? 

E-mail me at lifestyleloveblog(at)hotmail(dot)com to let me know if you love it and want to share it here!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sneak Peek: A Favorite Summer Salad


I'm guest posting today for Jen over at Boogies n Boo-Boos! I am sharing a delicious recipe - one of my favorite summer salads. I wish I could tell you more but I just can't, so make sure you stop by her blog!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Celebrate Women

Happy Monday, friends!
And Happy Mother's Day to all you amazing moms out there!

Speaking of amazing moms, here's mine:

For us, this weekend was all about celebrating women. Along with it being Mother's Day, we also participated in a Breast Cancer Walk with my husband's family. His mom is a 2-time breast cancer survivor, woot! Can you believe there were over 6,000 other participants?! The overall goal is to raise money for breast cancer care in surrounding areas. My favorite part, though, was to see all the participants who were racing for someone: their mom, friend, sister, cousin, or maybe someone they don't even know. Every where you looked, there were crowds, smiles, laughter, tears, and cheering. For me, being there was one of those feel-good moments. And we had a blast :)

I seriously would strongly urge you to participate in a local event like this if it is an option for you. Music, walking, food, family time, fitness, and fun, all while supporting a good cause.



Oh, and free tshirts! Hello!



Friday, May 10, 2013

H54F #6 | High-five for Friday!

Happy Friday fiiiiiinally!

This week has been crazy for us between work, exercising, sleeping, and getting ready for our weekend trip to see my husband's family!

Here are some of my High-Five for Friday highlights...

one // Monday night this week was homemade pizza night at our place.These are all the colorful, yummy veggie toppings for my 1/3 of the pizza - mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach.
 
two // This guy makes me happy.
 
three // My new favorite: serve a relish on the side of your main dish. I used corn, tomatoes, and avocado with a few sprinkles of sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
 
four // I tried an herbalife shake this week for the first time ever. I got the scotcheroo flavor - it was pretty good and kept me full for awhile, but I definitely can't justify spending 7$ on that on a regular basis. Do you have any favorite flavors I should try next time??
 
five // Our marathon relay is 1 week from tomorrow!!! But, I have finally gotten my butt in gear and have been training for my 5.2 mile leg of it. Thanks to Kristine for telling me they say you only have to train for 80% of your race day distance - makes it seem a lot more do-able! I'm actually starting to be a tiny-bit excited for it.
 
I am looking forward to this weekend to relax, rejuvenate, spend time with family, and get caught up on things so I can be back in full force next week with some great posts on the way!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Because who doesn't love a quickie every now + then?


It's been one of those days.. more like one of those weeks. One of those weeks where you've got all these plans for things you are going to accomplish, spaces you will organize, dust you will clean, and then it happens. 'It' meaning 'life'. Life happens and life gets in the way of all your plans! Goshdarn, life!

My point: I had this great post planned for today - "Things I have learned since I started blogging". My blog-beginning wasn't that long ago and sometimes it's nice to share even basic-newbie blogging lessons learned. I was going to link up here. I was going to read all the other posts of the link-ups and learn bucket-loads about how to make my blog successful!

It snuck up on me. Life this week was crazy. And I didn't write that post. And I haven't gotten my H54F post ready yet. And I haven't finished editing my guest post for this blog that I really should have completed for tomorrow. Aaagghhh. I am currently the lead role on the struggle bus right now.

Things I am currently struggling with:

My wine. On so many different levels.
1. I've been on a new (and much-needed) healthy kick and wine is just empty calories but it is oh-so delicious.
2. Every morning I tell myself it would be easier to get out of bed if I didn't have a glass (or two) of wine last night. But every night I tell myself it will be so enjoyable to have just one. And it is enjoyable. It just makes my bed feel that much cozier the next morning.

The fact that I've started liking to type my blog posts in centered alignment, but it used to drive me nuts to read a blog like that!

I have to drive 8 hours tomorrow.

I can't remember the last time we cleaned our apartment. Wait, yes I can. It was April 21st and that was way too long ago.

I didn't want to write a blog post. And it bugs me that I had to force myself to do it. Although, once I've started it's fun and easy-peasy. I wonder if it's the glass of Riesling that is helping. Either way, I'm struggling with the fact that I didn't get to read some of my favorite blogs, or respond to comments, or write the posts I wanted to write this week.
I have done laundry every night this week and we still have a full hamper I have to do before we leave for the weekend.
Again, I'm on this new healthy kick and you know what sounds delicious? Chips + salsa, frozen yogurt, mexican food, and pizza. No, I'm not preggers, just a famished girl wanting what I can't have.
My to-do list.

I keep getting texts from JL Beers and Zorbaz. They were two of our favorites from before we moved and everytime we get a text I am reminded that I can't just drive there and eat their delicious food right now. Never heard of them? Google it. Deeeeelicious.

So there ya go. Although I had a potentially well-thought-out, narrative, and descriptive blog post somewhat planned for today, you were left with this one. Short & sweet. A quickie. Because who doesn't love a quickie every now and then? ;)

And yes, the reflection in the photo is my own hand / iphone taking a picture of myself. So you wanna be friends then?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Why I Started Blogging

So... you blog?
Umm yeah.
Well, what's that all about?
Well I write about life and things I care about. [etc. etc. etc.]
Well why? When did that start?

Why is it always a little weird when you actually find out that people you know know that you have a blog? It's not like I have anything to hide. If anything, when it comes to most topics I'm an open book right here on my own little piece of blogland. It's just so hard to explain how great blogging is to non-bloggers sometimes. Anyone else with me on this one?

Regardless, I love blogging and am so glad I made the decision to start. Today I'm linking up with Samantha and Neely to share why I started blogging in the first place. Let's talk about the deets.

When?
I started blogging last September - read my first post here. Gosh, that's sort of embarassing. 
I started because I thought it might be a fun way for people to keep up with our lives once my husband and I moved. I wrote a couple posts, we moved to a new city, life got crazy as my hubs and I tried to move in and fit into a new place, and my blog took a small hiatus. In March, once I felt much more in control of life in general, I got started again and here I am, yours truly.

How?
A fellow type-A friend of mine told me she started reading a blog and loved it (IHeart Organizing - I fell in love with it right away, too.) I started reading and the domino effect happened from there. You know what I mean - you go to one blog, find another blog, and another and another and another until you realize it's 2:00 am and all you have to show for yourself from the past 6 hours is quite a few comments.

Why?
The reasons why I blog have grown to be so much more than for people to keep in touch with our lives post-move. 

Here it is, short and sweet. The top 3 reasons why I blog:
1 // I feel inspired, in so many different ways and aspects of life.

2 // I have met cool, new people and look forward to forming great relationships and meeting many more.

3 // Writing can be therapeutic. If you have a blog, you get this. If you've ever had a journal at any point in your life, you get this. There is something to be said for putting thoughts, ideas, or feelings down on paper (or virtual 'paper'). It can work wonders for the mind and soul.
Yes, I blog. Because the way I see it, we all have a blog simply because life should be shared
It's too beautiful a gift to keep to ourselves. 
Share your interests. 
Love your passions. 
Celebrate your life.

Why did YOU start blogging? I can't wait to read other people's stories!
Hooah and Hiccups

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Recap: It was all fun + games till I had to go to the bathroom

I know it's human nature, but it seems like no matter how much I get, I always want more - more chocolate, more wine, and more time on my weekends! Especially this fabulous birthday weekend of me turning the big 2-5. I'm halfway to 50 now (my young hubby keeps reminding me). We finally had beautiful springtime weather so we wanted to be outside as much as possible. The weekend was truly perfect... until I had to go to the bathroom.

But let's start at the beginning...

Woke up to this on Saturday, my birthday morning.

Parks made me breakfast - whole grain eggos + a sliced orange and kiwi.

He took me shopping for my present (sunglasses) because he wanted to let me pick the style.

After a workout and relaxing outside we went to our favorite place for birthday dinner.


[It wasn't until the next day that I realized my flash was off so sorry about the fuzzy iphone-with-no-flash pictures.]


I even let myself have dessert (We shared it. Although I probably could easily eat that whole sundae myself, I didn't.)


Sunday: we packed a cooler, threw on some sunscreen, and headed out to a nearby lake to enjoy the sunshine, 65-degree weather, and drop a line. {That's outdoorsy lingo for 'going fishing'.}




And when I say we go fishing, I mean Parks goes fishing. What, you may ask, is the reason why I choose to join?

This is the reason, right here.

Sometimes I hold the rod and pretend to like it just to make him happy :)

So when did things take a turn for the worst? About 2 hours into the afternoon. I had consumed 2 bottles of water, a salad, and a bud light. I've been on this new healthy kick and have been drinking tons of water, which results in using the little girl's room often. Well, what do you think? Does it look like there's a little girl's room around the corner at the end of the rolling hills?

In fact, there was! I would tell you all about it but I feel dirty just thinking about it. So I told P there was no way I could use that 'bathroom'. Ok, so we drove to another fishing hole and found another little girl's room. Yay! It was just as nasty and had no toilet paper. So, naturally, I told P we were just going to have to leave, because what is a pretty-little-non-outdoorsy gal to do when nature calls and there's no recently-cleaned facility to be used? And what do you think he said? He told me I was being ridiculous and that I'd have to find a place to squat. Do you think I look like the type of girl who finds a place to squat? 

I told him no way, jose and explained the state of the public bathroom. Long story short, he remembered he had a roll of toilet paper in the back of his truck, because who doesn't carry an extra roll of toilet paper in their vehicle?! I chose to leave that as 'don't ask, don't tell' because, honestly, I really needed that toilet paper roll. After pouting for a good 4 minutes I put on my big-girl pants and, I will spare you the gory details, but I did use the bathroom. I also left the roll of toilet paper there for the next troubled woman who comes along. However disgusted I may be, I did live to tell the tale and, honestly, I learned that one should always pack toilet paper for an afternoon excursion.

I even enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. I just didn't have anything else to drink.


Did you check out this delicious salsa recipe in honor of Cinco de Mayo??

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