Monthly Goals: March 2015

Monthly Goals: March 2015 - Paper Swallow Events

Hello lovelies! How was your February? Mine was full of client work, passion projects, and some really wonderful time with friends. All of these things together really helped the month fly by faster than anticipated. I feel a little like I blinked and an entire month disappeared. As I look over February's goals I'm proud of myself for what I did get accomplished, amazed at how much can change in a short 28 days, and giving myself grace for the things that didn't get done. 

Anyways! Let's jump to reviewing last month's goals!

Monthly Goals: March 2015 - Paper Swallow Events
  • Explore Buffer. This didn't happen, and that's okay. Client work and other tasks needed to come first.
  • Find a new pair of shoes, finish altering my dress, and make a bunch of pretty signs for Jen's wedding next month! Yes! There are still a few finishing touches, but it's all in a good place.
  • Read 4 books. I shared last week the one book that I read in February. I did start several that I intend to finish.
  • Write a letter. I wrote several!
  • Meet a couple blogging friends in person! I did get to meet one and it was absolutely lovely! I'm hoping we can meet up again soon. My other blogging friend needed to reschedule, so we have plans for March.
  • Complete my photo a day challenge for this month. Yes! It was challenging and fun! Check out this post for the recap!
  • Continue working on secret project #1! Secret project one has morphed a bit. I'm hoping to share the details towards the end of this month. :)
  • Travel to Nashville for a weekend visit with Michael's cousins. This weekend was so relaxing!
  • Work on Blog Life. I did look in to getting it printed (I want a hard copy so I can highlight and scribble notes in the margins). But I didn't actually dive in.
  • See Michael's sister in her senior production. We are so proud of Jessica!
  • Go see our friend Cody Harris play in Chattanooga. Enjoyable as always!
Monthly Goals: March 2015 - Paper Swallow Events

I'm keeping it simple this month. I'll be out of town for several days for a wedding, and I'm traveling to meet with one of my non-local brides, so outside of client work, organizing a big collaboration for April, and other back end business projects I'm not going to have time for a whole lot.

  • Travel to Chicago to be maid of honor in Jen's wedding! AHHHHH!
  • Take one full day off a week. I was terrible at this in February except for our weekend in Nashville, and I can feel it. I need a day where I pull back and intentionally rest which is hard when a lot of exciting things are happening with my business.
  • Finish working on secret project #1. As I mentioned above, I hope to share this at the end of March or beginning of April.
  • Read 4 books. Any recommendations?
  • Continue participating in the #SundayPostChallenge. You should jump in and join us!
  • Meetup with Jenna from the blog Dearest Love to talk about a super exciting collaboration we have upcoming in April!
  • Celebrate Michael's birthday!

What are some of your goals for the month?

xoxo, Stacia

My Week in Review

This past week has been insanely busy. Michael and I are trying to slow things down, because we kinda feel like we're loosing our minds, but it's hard when everything feels like an urgent priority. I'm definitely working towards taking deep breathes and being gracious with myself and my to do list this coming week!

1. We got tons of snow this past week! Around 7-8 inches, I think. It was so beautiful and I was thankful that Michael took time to go play out in the snow with me despite how much is on our plates right now. Our snow photos (taken in the middle of the night under the oh so fabulous lighting of a street lamp) are some of my very favorites. 

2. Someone on Facebook mentioned that Michael's fuzzy (and super warm) hat looks like his hair. It made me smile. 

3. I've been drinking lots of tea and hot chocolate this week. Trying to energize myself and stay warm.

4. Snow has always felt a bit like magic to me. I love the way it piles on branches and leaves and slowly amasses in a beautiful elegance.

You May Have Missed:
#ShakeItUpDaily Recap
Favorite Posts from February
Spring Clean Your Lifestyle: The Kitchen
Recent Reads: What I Read in February
The Perfect Gift for Your Geeky Bridesmaids

Great Finds:
This cake is absolutely beautiful!
I went to Harry Potter World before they expanded it. This post makes me want to go back ASAP.
I love the perspective Samantha shares in this post.
I love this unique idea for escort cards.
This drink is so pretty!

What are some of your highlights from this past week?

xoxo, Stacia

#shakeitupdaily Photo Challenge Recap

#ShakeItUpDaily Recap - Paper Swallow Events

First off, thank you all for following along with this challenge! I learned a lot about myself and my photography this past month, and I have more plans for the #shakeitupdaily hashtag, but for now I'm bringing this to a close. 

For those who don't know what I'm talking about,  the inspiration behind #shakeitupdaily is twofold. The first part has to do with letting go of what we feel pressured by the outside world to be saying and doing. It's time to shake off those pressures and pursue what we feel passionate about even if others sometimes think that we're crazy. The second part is about shaking up the box of comfort that we too often put ourselves in. To encourage ourselves to see the world more broadly than our current day-to-day perspective and to be willing to learn + grow.

It was so fun to do this challenge all through February!

Here is a peek at what I shared this last week:

I'm also so thankful for and impressed by Melissa Hebbe for rocking it out every day on Instagram with me! Here are my favorites of hers from this past week (be sure to check her out on Instagram!): 

Do you like photo challenges? 

xoxo, Stacia

P.S. You should also check out everything that was shared in the previous recaps here, here, and here!

Favorite Posts from February

Favorite Posts from February - Paper Swallow Events

Can you believe that February is over already?! It seemed to fly by for me! Today I just wanted to pop in and share some of my favorite posts that showed up around here this past month.

I love this post by Britney with easy suggestions to spring clean your kitchen and enable you to eat cleaner and healthier in the summer months!

I had so much fun creating these free, printable Valentine's for all of you! I think I'm going to keep using some of them throughout the year to express  my nerdy love for my dearest friends. 

I combined one of my favorite songs with something I firmly believe is essential for maintaining your sanity while wedding planning in this post. It's one of my favorites yet!

I love this clothing retailer and the unique pieces that she creates!

Favorite Posts from February - Paper Swallow Events

Last year I had the privilege of coordinating a wedding at The Hunter Museum of Art. I loved highlighting that venue in this post!

What post did you read or write last week from anywhere around the web that is your favorite?

xoxo, Stacia

Spring Clean Your Lifestyle: The Kitchen

Hello lovelies! Today Britney is back with some great tips for spring cleaning your kitchen! xoxo, Stacia

Spring Clean Your Lifestyle: The Kitchen - Paper Swallow Events

Welcome to Spring Cleaning: Kitchen Edition! The weather here is anything but spring-y (actually, we are currently on our 7th snow day in a row), but the robins outside my window are giving me spring fever - and bad! Every year around this time I get the uncontrollable urge to throw everything out and deep clean every nook in our little house. I spend hours throwing things away, going through old filing cabinets, purging the closets, rearranging silverware drawers, and laundering curtains. It’s a bit obsessive-compulsive, but I have done this for so many years that it now feels second nature. Like geese flying back north after a sunny winter in the South. It clears my mind, resets my priorities (do I really need 6 different bottles of shampoo?), and refreshes my passion for life. 

In this series, I am going to break down spring-cleaning your kitchen - and not just the physical kitchen, but the foods you buy and the recipes you prepare. The kitchen is our favorite room in the house - and where we always congregate when guests are over. I love the simplicity of friendship built over a home cooked meal and spending time with my family cooking a healthy meal from nutritious, real foods. Time in the kitchen is time well spent - which is why deep cleaning my kitchen every spring is not only enjoyable, but absolutely crucial to my sanity! I like to do my kitchen spring-cleaning in three parts: ingredients, recipes, and prep ahead. This first article will focus on deep cleaning your pantry, fridge, and freezer - what stays, and what goes. The second article will be recipes I love for spring cleaning my body - super food salads, fresh soups, easy smoothies and juices. The third article will be ideas for restocking your newly emptied and cleaned kitchen - my go-to snacks, freezer dinners, prep ahead lunches, etc. 

Excited yet? Let’s get started!

Pantry

My pantry is fairly small so I learned early on to prioritize what gets prime real estate on those shelves. Anything that is old or expired - throw it out. Anything that you have had for over a year and not touched, toss or donate it. Easy.

Now for the tricky part - if it tempts you, toss it. If I keep Oreos in my pantry, I know I will eat them. Not one or two, but all of them. Get rid of anything that keeps pulling you off track or derailing your motivation to eat better. It will strengthen your reserve and free up space!

Fridge

As with the pantry, toss anything that is old, expired, or moldy. The cleaner your fridge, the more motivated you will be to eat better. There is nothing more off-putting to me than grabbing a jar of spaghetti sauce and realizing it is full of mold! Once you have cleared the old foods out, examine what is left. How do the foods in your fridge fit your goals? 

As a real foods family, we have committed to filling our fridge and pantry with foods that only have 5 ingredients or less. These are the foods that are the least processed and contain the least (if any!) preservatives. If we keep good food in our fridge, we will eat good food. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any foods with an ingredient you can’t pronounce. Don’t forget to wipe down the shelves and drawers in your fridge!

Freezer

Again, toss the old, freezer-burned, or unidentifiable. While foods don’t typically spoil in the freezer, they are best only for about 2-3 months. Labeling freezer meals helps me to see which ones should be eaten first. Make a note of what foods have been forgotten to avoid making and saving foods you know you won’t eat in the future.

But that doesn’t leave me with much!

Ready to restock but not sure what to replace your old foods with? Here is a look at a few of the items we keep in our kitchen for quick, real food meals. (This list is not exhaustive, just a sample of our favorites!) Join me next month for recipes to help spring clean your body! 

Pantry:
Canned beans (black, garbanzo, kidney, white)
Whole grain pasta
Barley (Great for risotto!)
Quinoa
Brown rice
Honey
Nuts
Dried fruit
Chia/Flax/Hemp hearts (Some need to be refrigerated)
Natural peanut butter
Hot sauce
Spices (no salt added is best and adds flavoring to dishes)
Tomato Sauce/various canned tomatoes
Pita Chips (Great for hummus!)
Steel cut oats/quick cook oats
Baking soda/powder
Whole wheat white flour
Organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
Whole grain tortillas
White vinegar
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Whole wheat English muffins
Annie’s macaroni and cheese (For rainy days!)
Rice cakes
Balsamic vinegar
Cooking wine

Fridge:
Eggs
Almond milk
Real butter
Sesame oil
Tahini
Grade B maple syrup
Fresh fruits and veggies
Cheddar, parmesan, and feta cheeses
Coconut water
Plain Greek yogurt
Bragg’s Liquid aminos (like soy sauce)
Apple Cider vinegar
Whole grain Dijon mustard
Greens for salad mixes
Fresh herbs
Chicken/Vegetable stock
Sprouts (Have you ever grown your own?)

Freezer:
Chicken breasts
Salmon
Venison (My brothers are big hunters)
Whole wheat pizza dough
Frozen berries
Frozen veggies
Pie Crusts
Cheese rinds (Great for flavoring soups!)
Freezer meals (Stay tuned for our favorite recipes!)
Breads, muffins, quick breads
Bananas (for ice cream or smoothies)

What are some of your kitchen staples?

Britney Ammen is a Real Foods Coach and Meal Planning Consultant. To find out more about the real food classes and motivational fitness groups she offers, visit her facebook page www.facebook.com/Britneylynneammen.