Challenge: Week 9

Challenge: Week 9

glasses of water

Well my second month of my 12 Months to a Healthier You Challenge has come and gone and I have to say, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. Instead of focusing on eating more fresh fruits and veggies I was trying to eat better all-around by cutting out fast food and focusing more on protein dishes. Well my friends, I failed miserably.

For the month of March the focus is to drink more water.  My personal goal is to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day and totally cut soda out of my diet. I don’t ever buy a bottle or can of soda to keep in the house, but I love me some fountain Dr. Pepper. While cutting out the soda I am also going to eat more balanced meals. I am not going to say I will cut one thing out of my diet completely like I am with soda but this month I am going to track what I eat in a little diet diary. In two weeks in will be able to give you an update on how I am doing.

My plan is to continue going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week and hopefully lose 8 pounds by the end of March. I have 3 or 4 weddings to go to this year with the first one this summer and I hope to be down 30 pounds by August. Any healthy meal suggestions anyone?

photo credit: futurefit.co.uk

Weekend in Las Vegas Under $300

Weekend in Las Vegas Under $300

Yesterday was my birthday and I wanted to celebrate my 27th in a fun and positive way with my good friends. My sister came out to L.A. to visit for the week and we took a weekend trip to Las Vegas with some of my close friends. None of us really had the budget to do Vegas right. Two of my friends are students still, one is in her first year of teaching and as you know my focus has been paying down my debts. Well we still did it pretty good. Chris got us some amazing hook ups with an amazing dinner and a VIP lounge overlooking the strip from 60 floors up with complementary drinks and our own waitress and security. Security? Not sure who they thought we were but we had our guy.

Even without our amazing night at the top of the strip we had a great weekend without spending a ton of money. Here is how we spent a weekend in Las Vegas.

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When you think of Vegas you think of lights, shows, clubs and dollar signs. But there are a ton of things to do in Las Vegas without spending a lot of money. Start by stepping out onto the Las Vegas Strip and walk. The first time my family took a trip to Nevada I walked through every hotel and casino I could. The different themes, architecture and designs are amazing, unique and breathe taking. Below are some of my favorite things to do without opening my wallet.

My Favorite, Free Las Vegas Activities

1. The Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio

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2. The Bellagio Fountains

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3. M&M’s World

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4. The Volcano at the Mirage

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5. Lion Habitat at MGM

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6. Fremont Street Experience

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photo credits: gogobot.com, vegaslinks.blogspot.com

Challenge: Week 7

Challenge: Week 7

Valentine's Day Dinner
Valentine’s Day Dinner

Going to the gym has become easier and easier. After a month I can feel running getting easier and easier for me. I am running for longer increments and walking less during my cardio regiments. I am stepping more and more out of my comfort zone and trying different weight machines and free weights.

This month I am supposed to be focusing on eating healthier. More fruits and veggies and less fast food. I have to say, I haven’t been doing so well with this part of my 12 Month Challenge. It needs to stop. Breaking old habits are hard. If they weren’t I wouldn’t have to do this here Challenge, would I?

My sister is coming into town next week so we will be eating out a little more than regular but my goal is to choose my meals smarter sticking to protein and veggies and staying further away from pastas and rices that are so delicious. Well, as soon as my Valentine’s Day Italian left overs are all gone, of course.

Smaller meals and portions and meal planning is going to help me beat this goal. I have been bringing a peanut butter sandwich to work in the mornings instead of making my Starbucks run. Last week even made coffee before work one night. I put it in a tumbler and let it sit in the refrigerator. Not adding ice to it kept the coffee strong and it was delicious the next morning. Saving money and being smart about what I eat.

Fried Ice Cream

In my early twenties I worked in a Thai restaurant that my friend’s family owned. The food that was introduced to me was amazing. From traditional Pad Thai, to Lemongrass Beef and Panang Duck we got to pick anything we wanted off the menu, twice a night. Amazing. This is a little recipe that I picked up from my four years at the restaurant.

Fried Ice Cream

6 scoops vanilla ice cream
6 slices of store bought pound cake
1 ½ cup milk
2 cups vegetable or peanut oil

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place 6 scoops of ice cream onto the parchment paper. Make sure the scoops are rounded and not touching each other on the cookie sheet. Freeze for two hours.

Slice 6 slices of pound cake in half making 12 thinner slices. Dip ice cream scoops into milk and quickly coat scoop with two thin slices of pound cake. The milk allows for the cake to form easier and stick to the ice cream, Mold cake around ice cream and place back onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet.Repeat until all ice cream scoops have pound cake around them. Freeze for another 2 hours.

Bring oil to a boil in small sauce pan. Once oil is brought to a full boil place ice cream into sauce pan using a long handled spoon. Let fry for a minute and a half per side slipping only once.

Scoop fried ice cream out of oil using a slotted spoon to allow oil to drip out as much as possible. Serve in bowl with a dollop of whipped cream. Left over fried ice cream can be wrapped in plastic wrap after being casted with pound cake and fried at a later time.

Why I’d Like to Cut Cable

The past few days I was a little blog MIA. Work was pretty crazy and I was in the store at 4 a.m. four days last week. After going from work to cheerleading practice (I coach as my second job) all I wanted to do when I got home was shower, sleep and wake up with some coffee the next day. With a few days to finally veg out I am ready to get back to this here blog. Enjoy.

Why I’d Like to Cut Cable

Before I moved in with Chris and our other roommates I lived in a cute little studio apartment by myself. There I was able to be as frugal as I wanted to and cut as many corners as I could. If I wanted it to be freezing and layer my bed with blankets, that’s what I did. When I wanted to cancel cable, I did it. In fact, I lived without cable and internet for the last 6 months I was in my studio.

When I first moved in I had a sign up bonus. It was something along the lines of cable and internet for $80 a month for cable and internet. But then my year was up and I all of a sudden was paying $130 on the some service I was getting before. That just didn’t make sense to me. I called and tried to fight it and they were able to give me another deal but that expired after two months.

That’s when I decided I wasn’t going to call the dreaded cable company every few months to negotiate a price. And so I canceled.

At first it was a little weird. I had to use my cell phone for any internet browsing, Facebook stalking or email checking. My other option was to go to a coffee house or bring my laptop to work and do what I needed to on my breaks.

As far as TV was concerned, Netflix and Redbox became my two best friends. I caught up on full seasons of TV shows and watched more movies then I knew what to do with. Not having TV also forced me to read more and even to go out more. I tend to be a homebody if not pushed.

Currently we have cable and internet. Pretty basic cable, no HBO or movie channels, and internet at the middle speed they offer. We also have 4 boxes with DVR. We pay close to $200 a month. The boxes with DVR is $28 a month, so we are paying about $175 for the same services I had two years ago for $100 cheaper.

Chris has called on many occasions to lower our cost and the cable company happy obliges, for a month and then for some reason or another the rate is raised again for next month. I am tired of playing this game with the cable companies. I have never thought to switch to satellite television but that seems like something good to look into next time we are shopping for cable.