Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Meaning of My Blog Name

Everybody always asks me why and how I chose the title "The Little Life".

Well...  It wasn't anything too complicated and there wasn't any sort of crazy story behind it.

The reason I chose the name was because of two reasons.  One, I am short and two, when I originally began this blog, I was located in a smaller town.  I had no idea that I would be moving to much larger city.  I know Grand Rapids isn't as large compared to other places, but when you have more than one 24 hour restaurants in town and you take the freeway most of the time to get to work... you know you're in a much bigger place. 

20 Facts About Me

Look at this!  Another post!  I bet I surprised you all. 

Well I have decided to help kickstart this blog and get the ball rolling with a 31 day blogging challenge.  I did my first post last week with my intro to me getting back on here.  NOW... it's time to get to know me a bit.  Below I have listed 20 facts about me.


1. I am part Italian.

2. I love to cook (especially Asian and Italian cuisine).

3. I have one tattoo.  A smallish cross on my back.

4. I love whiskey and rum. 

5. I can listen to almost all music, it just depends on my mood.  But I am mostly a country and hip hop kind of girl. 

6. I'm very much into photography as well as other mediums such as painting and drawing.

7.  I used to play piano and cello.

8.  I have pretty much never traveled.  I have only been as far North as Canada and as far South as Chicago. Keep in mind... I live in Michigan.

9. But I do have plans to change that and I hope to  travel and see the world before I settle down.

10.  Along with cooking, I love planning get togethers and hostessing.  I find celebration in every little thing.

11.  I'm secretly a fan of Kdramas....well I guess no longer a secret now..

12. I'm a hopeless romantic..

13.  I pretty much like cats and dogs equally.  (I have no pets as of now.)

14.  I love taking day roadtrips and not knowing where I'm going.  I enjoy random adventures.

15.  But I do also enjoy staying in, eating chinese and binge watching tv shows all day.

16. I love tea AND coffee.

17.  I feel like I can always relate to Demi Lovato.

18.  I am obsessed with the movie Frozen.  I could watch it on repeat and sing every song to you.

19.  White wine.  Almost always. 

20.  I sleep with socks on and a window cracked open or a fan on low. 

I feel like some of these facts are very random, but I just felt I should write whatever came to my mind.  (Do you know how hard it was to come up with them??  After the third one, I was clueless).

This post was fun to type up and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Back for the 100th time...

Here I am...again.  writing yet another "I'm back" post.  

I know what you all must be thinking... I am the most inconsistent blogger...ever.  

But! Let me tell you why I've started this again. For many reasons have influenced this. One of the major roles being that I have finally moved!  After much back and forth, an opportunity came up that I knew I had to jump on. It was a sign I knew God had given me. It had lined up too perfectly to not take the chance.

The jist of what happened is that I had been looking for a place to move into and wasn't finding anything pretty immediate. Then my two highschool friends reached out to me asking if I could stay at their place for a couple months to help with rent while one of them left for a while.

It worked out perfectly. Not only do I have a temporary place, but I get to share it with a friend. 

With this grand move, I feel a whole new sense for adventure and just a fresh start. I'm not only hoping to pick up my blogging again, but I've got my camera ready as well. 

Im going to try and involve a lot more photography with my blog posts. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Being an Intermediate Couponer

Okay, so something that a lot of people tease me about is how frugal I can be.  My friends like to call me "Mom"  because I have a special pocket in my purse for coupons and I have have an app that I am always whipping out when shopping.

So in today's post I'm going to tell you my "secrets"  to being an intermediate couponer.

First off, the special pocket. Audience: Oooooo. Now you all are probably wondering if this is some sort of Mary Poppins trick. Well no. I wish! But no...

Whenever I switch purses I always dedicate a pocket to all my coupons and discount cards. Anytime I pull something out of a magazine or trim off the ends of my receipts I tuck it right in that pocket.  Whether it's something I would or would not use. 
You never know, you might be shopping with friends and they end up purchasing something from a place you don't go to. You could be the hero of the day! (And maybe score a free lunch).

I know my mom loves it when I pull out coupons when she is shopping.

Some pointers for couponing:
*check your magazines for coupons
*check ends and backs of your receipts for coupons and surveys that lead to coupons
*clean out that special pocket of yours about once a month. You don't want to hang on to expired coupons
*if possible, try to immediately stash your bounce backs and super cash after shopping trips that you can use next month.  I've worked in retail and I've seen so many ladies toss those right into their shopping bags and forget.
*always sign up for reward programs. Starbucks always sends me free music and I earn points at Famous Footwear and Walgreens.
*if you must, do only ONE credit card at your favorite store and only if you can pay off your account right after the transaction in store. This way there's no debt, you can build credit and save more money by using your card. (Yes, the card that the cashier always tries to convince you to get).  Just be careful with these and choose wisely.

Another form of couponing I partake in is the good ole smart phone.  I have just a couple apps that I use.  One is for Meijer, my grocery store.  I usually try to check weekly with their coupons.  If I see any coupons on products I use, I virtually clip it.  This way whenever I go grocery shopping I can just give them my mPerks code and whatever I have clipped they apply towards my purchase.  Usually I never end up getting what I have clipped, but always remember

Just because you have the coupon DOES NOT mean you have to buy it or shop at that shore.

Most coupons these days are aimed to make you spend more then you intend.  So only use them when necessary.  Coupons are like the devil in disguise.

Besides the grocery store app I also use this popular one called RetailMeNot.  Now this is the app I suggest out of all of them when it comes to retail.  This app is widely accepted at most if not all of the stores they have coupons for.  Other apps are not accepted and I believe that's because RetailMeNot now actually coordinates with the companies unlike any other service/ app.  So if you have one of these apps make sure it's this one specifically. 

I like to pull this app up on my phone for those days when I'm at the mall with my girls.  I can usually save us about fifty dollars on a nice shopping trip. Just got to be on top of things.

So get out there and see how much you can save in the next month. Let me know what you guys do to save money and if any of my ideas worked for you. I'd love to hear feedback.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Taking My Diet One Month At A Time

A few days ago I came across this photo on my facebook page that someone had posted. It was a picture of a girls abdomen all slimmed and toned with the words reading across it "Pick a food and I won't eat it for a month".

I started thinking to myself that this would actually be a great idea. Get my friends and family involved in my motivation for fitness.

So I clicked Share and posted it to my page with the following rules posted above the image.

1. I will give everyone until tomorrow, Wednesday at noon to list a food that I will give up for a month.

2. If its a food that I believe to be a necessity in my diet like chicken,, water, greens I won't consider it. I want things that are not nutritious or beneficial to my health.

3. I will only take one answer from each of you.

4. I will poll all the answers tomorrow after they are collected and draw three from the magical hat and post on facebook what three foods I am giving up for the month.

Once posted I slowly got some family and friends to comment a food item, even some who were just aquitances left a comment. It was nice to hear from these folks as well. Some friends didnt take it so seriously and posted things like water, lemon juice, kfc breading, and canned sponge cakes. I have no idea what they were thinking but I didn't put that nonsense into my magical hat.

Noon came the next day and I wrote all my choices down on individual pieces of paper and put them into a stand up paper bag. Then I drew out three pieces of paper reading



*crackers and cheese

I know the crackers and cheese one would technically be two different foods but I basically am just reading it as no cheese and leaving the cracker part underneath bread.

After I chose these three foods I went grocery shopping. YAY! My fridge was pretty much empty so I did some stocking up on rice, spices, frozen veggies, eggs, fruits and salad stuff. So far all my meals have been pretty simple and very yummy. And in the past couple of days I'll admit I dont feel bloated anymore. I think I'm on a good start and can't wait to hopefully see some results from this.

I also decided that if worse comes to worse I would make gluten free bread with flour made from almonds or quinoa. yum yum. I even plan on making lettuce wraps. That means no tortilla, just veggies. I think this will be very beneficial and help with my carb intake. I cant take so many in if I'm not burning that much every day. Otherwise... Der you gain weight. Me and my pudginess... In fact I was looking at photos of me from my senior year and I am so envious. I used to be so skinny and I can't believe that I used to think I was fat then. Im crazy, but you all probably already knew that.

One last thing before I go, I also decided that if this is successful and I do see good results from this challenge I plan on trying it again every month or just continuing down this path of no pasta and bread. But possibly reintroducing cheese back into my diet and interchanging it for something else.  I really suggest you guys give this a try and maybe make it more challenging by doing it with a friend.  Besides possibly weight loss or living a healthier life style it could help you to discover new foods and recipes that you may find enjoying.  Give it a shot and let me know how things go.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Microwaves...Helpful yet Harmful

Several weeks ago I decided to try something daring... Duhn duhn duhn I gave up my microwave. *gasp* 'Oh no she did not` Well yes I did. 'But how?!' It was actually quite simple. Let me tell you. I decided to do so when my boyfriend had made several comments to me about how bad using the microwave was. He even told me his story of how he lost some weight and just overall felt better after having give it up for a couple months. So then I decided to take some things into consideration and try it and give it up. Now, it does still sit on my counter as temptation only because my room mate wants to use it, but I did technically give it up. I started heating leftovers up in a frying pan or in the oven. I use my tea kettle to warm water up. By not using the microwave I now cant really resort to unhealthy tv dinners and other frozen assortments. It helps me to eat just a little bit healthier. But then I was asked what really made me believe this was a healthy choice? What convinced me to try this? Well my thoughts were that it is an electric device heating your food up... That is kind of wierd, but these questions provoked me to do a little research. What is it that makes a microwave so bad for your health? What benefits do you truly gain from not using this device? So I did a little investigating, and mind you I'm not turning this into a lengthy research article but after reading several websites and articles of my own I have learned several things. So lets start from the beginning, how does the microwave actually work?

A microwave, using electronic magnetic radiation, causes water molecules to vibrate at very high frequencies which in time turns into steam which then heats your food. I find it very odd the way this microwave works. Doesn't sound so normal and I'm not into the idea of this space technology helping me out so much. Articles also spoke of how it doesn't give the food radiation but that it is basically killing your food by destroying all the nutrients within. Tests were performed and in comparison to steaming your vegetables, found that you lose about 97 percent of nutrients versus 11 percent when steaming. Now just to be fair a microwave barely harms minerals, such as zinc and magnesium. But otherwise what is the point of microwaving that food? You barely get anything out of it. Also, consider what you heat your food in when it comes to the microwave? If not conscious about this you could be using certain plastics and papers that are releasing carcinogens into your food that is going into your body that you have just heated up in the microwave. Ouch.... Lastly, what affects does the microwave have on the outside. Now I know I said that there isn't radiation being absorbed into the food but there is radiation being emitted through the window. Studies are finding that its not enough to report microwaves "unsafe" but there have been enough studies showing that it can cause cancer agents and irregularity in the heart rate and heart rate variability.

Now I did get a few opinions and viewpoints from family when discussing my decision, and they do make sense. Some people don't see the harm. My mom had pointed out that if I was getting rid of the microwave because of radiation purposes then I should just get rid of all other electronics. Well, not quite exactly. The microwave was just a step. It was just one less thing in my life that wasn't really beneficial to me. It was something that I could deal live without.  I'm not concerned so much as ridding all harmful things out of my life right now. My grandma had also said that the only reason she uses hers is for microwave popcorn and heating up her coffee and her coffee doesn't exactly contain many nutrients that she's concerned about not getting. So for some folks using the microwave isn't that big of a deal for them. It's all dependent on how you view the issue and how you want to take action about it that matters.

Even before diving into this little bit of research I had already had a gut feeling microwaves weren't the greatest thing for you. Even from what I had known growing up. Not to stand close to the microwave and blah blah blah. Just the idea of how the microwave works just frightens me because it doesn't seem so normal. Now that I know some of this research it really helps me to say no to microwaving. But we will see how long it takes before these "facts" have slipped my mind and I cave into using the microwave again. I highly suggest going above and beyond my own words here right now that you have just read and commit to a little research on this topic as well. See whats out there that might change your mind about something that makes your life that much simpler.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Let's Try This Again

   Soooo, I'm starting a three day cleanse today!  Technically I started it late last night when I was having cravings for a snack, but still.   This cleanse that I am doing is solely apples and water for three days.  I had heard of one of my mom's co-workers doing it and I had looked it up a bit online and it seemed fair and nice.  I even read a bit that apparently cleanses work better than dieting because it will help keep the weight off since you are actually getting rid of the toxins and what not in your body.  It's only for three days so I've decided to try it.
     This morning I'm on my second fuji apple.  Yummmm but I'm still hungry!  I can tell it's going to be a long weekend now, but it will all pay off in the end.  I'm hoping this is very successful and if so I'm going to try and keep a healthier appetite around as well as trying to do this cleanse once a month or so.  It's not expensive which is really helpful.
     I decided to go through with this cleanse, because of several reasons.  A couple being from my boyfriend and others from myself.  Personally, I'm tired of gaining weight and never following through with my promises to myself.  I want to stay on top of being healthy and maintaining a good weight.  I can't stand it that my jeans and pants once again do not fit.  I know in my last article I had posted to accept yourself and I have.  It's just that I want to change for other factors.  Such as being able to wear my clothes and living a healthier lifestyle.  The fact that I'm gaining weight and not even maintaining a steady weight is what's really getting to me.  I had read somewhere before that you are beautiful the way you are it's just now you are choosing to become someone even better. That's what I'm doing right now.
     Goodness... even as I'm writing this I'm craving crazy things like ramen.  I might just start having hallucinations of food next!  Wouldn't that be just so funny... not. Anyways, another incidence was when my boyfriend and I were standing in the checkout at our local Meijer and he went to pick up the fitness magazine with a beautiful, toned woman on it.  I asked him the most obvious question, why he had chosen that one out of all the others and he just simply said "She has a nice body".  It was nothing directed at me or anything but it made me realize that I need to step up my game.  I want him to look at me in the end and be amazed.  I've gained weight since I've met him and that just doesn't seem all too fair.  Even when we first started dating I was working out and taking vitamins.  I was in a better spot at that time than I am now and I want to go back to those ways.
     So my first step back in that direction is going to be this cleanse.  I'm working on a grocery list and recipes at the moment for when I get off the cleanse so I can keep myself on this road for some time.  Even get my family to participate in the healthier lifestyle.  I'm going to try and push myself as well to at least run twenty minutes a day at the gym and if I can't really take the cement walls and treadmills than I will bundle up and run at a park or something.  I'm hoping in the end... I become an addict for this lifestyle.