Be Inspired

A resource center full of inspiring posts and mood lifting photos.

@ the Workplace

Helpful articles and resources for the working woman.

Mental Health & Fitness

Helpful tips to keep you healthy, strong, and mentally motivated.

Dairy Free & General Recipes

A collection of tested of my favorite non-dairy and regular recipes.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Just Some Thoughts Delegating Your Time...Tips That Helped Me!

Alert!: This blog post is dedicated to those in their 20's with jobs and without kiddo's. I have NO idea how to handle time with kids, as I have no kids yet. BUT, I assume i'll be using about the same structure, but with more kid stuff on the list :D. 

So I don't have kids. But here is what I DO have. A full time job, a horse, other hobbies, friends, family, and various time commitments. I was getting to the point where I was stressing, stressing, stressing out about not getting things done. I didn't get enough crafting done, I didn't get off work in time to make it to my bible study, I didn't hang out with friends like I said I would. I was soooo caught up that it felt like literally NOTHING was getting done. I found myself freaking out while making dinner one night, because I wasn't going to make it to my GYM class on time, and I really needed to work out, but the laundry wasn't done either.

Surely i'm not the only one?

SO! I created a system. Now, please note, this system is based on "what makes you happiest" and I don't mean that in a selfish way. It could also be based on "things that bring balance and peace to your life, when accomplished".

I listed out ALL the feats and things that need to, well...GET DONE.

Work (40+ hours a week)
Horses / Barn Time
Gym / Working Out / Personal Training
Crafting / Graphic Deisgn / Other Hobbies
Household Chores / Cooking / Cleaning
Time with Friends
Time with Family
Relaxing Time (TV, Computer, Blogging, Web & Graphic Design etc)
Volunteering / Church / Bible Studies / Enrichment

***Now time with my husband is not on this list right now, and here is why. He gets home around 10pm every night. On the 2 nights a week he does not get home that late, he is usually studying for Pharmacy exams. The weekends are really the only time we get to spend extended time with each other, so its a "giving" I'll be with him majority of time then. So - let this be an example, this method of time budgeting needs to remain flexible. 

Then, I applied my scoring system to each activity.
1 - Least Important for Balance
10 - Most Important for Balance 

10 - Work (40+ hours a week)
8 - Horses / Barn Time
7 - Gym / Working Out / Personal Training
- Household Chores / Cooking / Cleaning
6 - Relaxing Time (TV, Computer, Blogging, Web & Graphic Design etc)
- Time with Friends
5 - Time with Family
4 - Volunteering / Church (non-Sunday) / Bible Studies / Enrichment
3 - Crafting / Graphic Deisgn / Other Hobbies

Now its easy - spend more time on the higher rated items, than the lower rated items. 

I made work a 10, because without income, the rest are not feasibly possible. I know others feel differently, but I've got to get in 40 hours somehow...that's a must.

My passion in life is horses, and I feel very lost without them, so I make sure the time I have right after work, goes to them.

After I spend the time I can with my horses, I focus on the gym. If my time had been lacking horse time, I could only pick between one or the other, I would choose horses, in hopes of making time for the gym the next day.

Once I spend time at the Gym, then I would focus time on household chores, cooking, and cleaning things up. Not because I'm a good ol' homemaker, but because living areas get MESSY and its important to keep things tidy so you stay positive in your life. My hubby and I get hungry too. If I had been lacking GYM time, I would put that first before cooking or cleaning. We can always pick up a pizza or sandwiches to save time, if need be.

Once I fulfill my responsible of cleaning and cooking, then I relax!! Its a wonderful reward...relaxing :)

The first 5 on the list usually take up a whole day - so I usually pick one thing from the rest of my list and do it weekly. For example: Spend time with Friend/Family one evening. Go to a bible study the following week, etc.

I know this is a pretty brief way of looking at things, and its not a complicated formula where you can plug and chug the amount of hours in the day, and the activities you have planned. But its flexible, and it really helped me realized WHAT things in my life establish the most balance. Hanging out with friends and crafting does not fulfill me like 1 hour with my horse would. Its important you are harvesting peace and satisfaction from the right sources.

After following this model, I have found my weeks a lot more enjoyable, and I hope you do too!

Here is a Model of my "typical week".

10 - Work (40+ hours a week) - 5 Days a Week
- Horses / Barn Time - 3 to 4 Times a Week
- Gym / Working Out / Personal Training 4-5 days a week
- Household Chores / Cooking / Cleaning 3-4 days a week, or a little bit each day
6 - Relaxing Time (TV, Computer, Blogging, Web & Graphic Design etc) 2 allotted times a week, open to other free times. 
- Time with Friends 2-3 Times a Month
5 - Time with Family 2-3 Times a Month
4 - Volunteering / Church (non-Sunday) / Bible Studies / Enrichment Not including Sunday mornings, 1-2 times a month. 
- Crafting / Graphic Design / Other Hobbies Whenever time allows! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Check out my new super duper flowery apron from Home Goods!

I'm sorry, but this was really just too precious for me to pass up! Everything I cook just taste's SO much better now! ;)  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Quick Word on Shellac Gel Polish...

I've always been slightly skeptical about gel nail polish; which is interesting because I am a HUGE fan of nail polish and care to begin with. Invincible nail polish - for up to 2 weeks? I’m sorry, but that’s just too good to be true.

First off – I’m a pretty rough and tough girl. I work out, do barn work, care for horses, garden, do dishes, etc. The point is - my nails take a good beating on a day to day basis. Usually if I put a nice coat of quality nail varnish on, its takes a grand 12-18 hours before it sorely needs to be redone again. Therefore, a lot of time I go without L - which stinks, because I’m a huge fan of nail polish.
SO! The other day, I was told to leave work early because I’m such a star employee ;) and I had put in A LOT of hours that week getting ready for a workshop. It was Friday, so I turned it into a “Treat Yo’ Self” day which for me, is a haircut and manicure. I also bought some Biologe shampoo and conditioner. GREAT buy.

I got my lovely haircut. Then I went in my manicure. Taylor was my manicurist and she was OH SO SWEET and enjoyable to talk with. I’m sure I’ll be returning JUST to talk with her. J Next to my booth was a picture of a car keep resting on beautifully painted nail. Car key + nail polish = chipped nails right??? WRONG…or so they say. SO! I talked with Taylor; she told me it was another $15 to get Shellac Nails. I’m a bargain girl and a pretty thrifty so this seemed an EXORBITANT amount of money to pay for nail polish. I mean really? Maybe for a whole bottle of name brand….but just one application? Pffffttttt…..
Taylor could tell I was a little put off by the price, so she then began to explain all the wonderful benefits to Shellac/Gel nail polish. Then her friend piped in and told me her mom comes in every 3 weeks and gets her redone, but most people do 2 weeks. TWO WHOLE WEEKS? With the potential of three? I imagined it in my head right there – 2 weeks of beautiful nails. 2 weeks of feminine hands. 2 weeks of NOT having to redo my nails. SOLD!

I was in a good mood and I already spent a small fortune on some car repairs earlier in the day – what’s another $15. So I told Taylor GO FOR IT and she proceeded to apply a rather pretty pink polish to my freshly trimmed and buffed nails. The outcome was AMAZING.

4 days later... My nails grow too fast...
I do not have enough GOOD things about these Shellac/Gel nails. They just look AMAZING. The polish is so smooth and shiny. No bumps, bubble, thin spots, or think spots. It’s evenly applied, and SUPER DUPER smooth. Even better, it’s been 4 days since application, and they STILL look as good as they did when she first painted them. I am SOLD, yal.

So I encourage you to give them a try. Shellac nails ARE all they are cracked up to be. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Do Not Fear The Future or the Unknown - Lessons with Boppa Cooper - The Story of Thunder Mountain

Last night, at the Alley Abode, Seth’s “Boppa” joined us for dinner.
I always have a fabulous time having Boppa over for dinner. He is such a delightful guest! I spent about 2 hours getting dinner and dessert ready. I had it all ready ahead of time, so I could take a break before he actually arrived. When he got there, I just popped dinner in the oven. Dessert was already waiting in the refrigerator.

Our Menu

Story Time – Do Not Be Fearful of the Unknown

When Boppa visits, we spend the first part of the evening catching up with life. Seth’s Family, my family, OUR family, job, money, hobbies, etc. Then we spend the second part in "Story Time." Boppa is an Amateur Geologist, and enjoys collecting rocks and minerals, especially ones with stories!

Boppa told us the story of Thunder Mountain; which was/is a mountain in Brazil with a very lucrative mining facility. The miners of the mountain, in their quest to find more minerals and precious metals, began to drill farther into the mountain. Suddenly, their drills ceased. After evaluation, the miners discovered they had reached a large empty cavity in the mountain. They had never seen anything like this before. This scared the miners, for no know knew what could be back there.  Monsters, Aliens, Evil - They had immense fear of this “unknown experience”.

Many of the minors wanted to board up the holes, never to speak of it again. Other minors wanted to dynamite the whole area, in hopes of discovering what back there. These two opinions created a lot of anger towards each other.

Finally – the owners of the mines ordered the men to bore a small crawl space leading towards the open area. One brave man ventured onward, through the crawl space, and into the cavity. The others had secured a rope around his waist, in hopes of protection if he fell, or in case of death, they could retrieve him…
As the man crawled through the space, the rope began to inch through the miner’s hands inch-by-inch. The brave man slowly descended from sight. After a few minutes, there was a loud shout, and 10 feet of rope ripped through their hands. Shortly after, they heard more shouting from the brave minor, “Glory to God! Glory to God!”, over and over again!

The brave man had ascended upon a geode, A HUGE hollowed rose quartz & crystal geode, hidden away in this vast mountain (I believe Boppa said 30 yards wide). Pink & Red crystals shined around him, reflecting the light of his flash light. Other miners joined him, and they were all presented with a unique experience of God’s glory. The crystals were so beautiful.

This is not our actual rock,
but its pretty darn close.
Boppa concluded the story with this – Do not be fearful of the unknown, for fear & anger will consume you. Move forward in life with excitement, curiosity, and interest, but be prepared as well (remember the rope around the manes waste?).

Boppa loves to use the expression “Life events are chipping away at our outsides, revealing the precious stone within”. I’m not sure why, but this always makes perfect sense to me. Every moment, good, bad, terrible, amazing, or hard, is shaping me to become the woman God created me to be.

Boppa left us with a fist sized piece of Thunder Mountain quartz (A REAL PIECE!) – Which, apparently is just the “ rind” or outside, of the geode. However, it is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Simple Garlic Pasta & Brussel Sprout Bake Recipe - Dairy Free and Clean Eating

Clean eating is really a diet plan that I've been working my family into slowly. I LOVE greasy yummy fatty fast food. But as I have gotten a little older and wiser, I really hate what it does to my body. Mainly the fat part, but also the stomach aches and other negative side effects.

To put it simply, clean eating avoids anything fried, processed, fake, fatty, nasty, etc.

Last night, I got into one of those increasingly common moods of "I LOVE Cooking!" and took tons of pictures and also took special care in my food prep.

Simple Garlic Pasta


2/3 cup Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil - divided
4 garlic cloves - minced
2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese.
8 ounces uncooked linguine
1/4 cup fresh parsley - chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh, or bottled. I use bottle all the time, and my recipes never get turned down)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • Boil your pasta until al dente. Don't forget to put a tablespoon of cooking oil in their to keep the pasta from sticking. 
  • While pasta is cooking....
  • Heat 1 1/2 tsbp of olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add minced garlic - cook for 20 seconds. Add bread crumbs. Stir around and simmer until bread crumbs darken in color (less than 5 min). Add Parmesan cheese. Stir for a minute. Remove pan from heat. 
  • Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp of Olive oil. Stir and mix well. 
  • Add garlic/bread crumb mixture, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and paper. Mix gently for a couple of minutes. 
  • Serve warm!

Brussels, Apples, and Bacon (oh my!)

  • 3 slices bacon, sliced and diced
  • Brussels sprouts (i used about .5 pouds) ends trimmed and halved
  • salt, ground pepper, garlic seasoning
  • 1 apple, sliced and diced
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil. 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fry bacon in a skillet, drain bacon on a paper towel. Add to a walled baking pan (I find glass works the best) Add Brussels sprouts in a single layer; sprinkle with spices. Drizzle with olive oil and stir around with bacon bits. Roast until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, add the apple bit. Roast again until Brussels are tender and brown, about 15 minutes (less if you have a hotter oven). 

This is seriously one of my most favorite meals to make. The boys LOVE it! By boys, I mean Seth (hubby), and Randy, who moved up from Florida and is living with us this year. They are the easiest people to please with it comes to cooking. They are super-duper excellent customers, and full of compliments. I wish every wife could receive the praise I get from them! 

Cheer! I hope you enjoy this making this dish as much as I do!

Through a Rapist's Eyes

I saw this post going around on Facebook and I think its super important that woman be aware of what going on around them. 

I did not write this content. 

This is by no means professional advice. PLEASE SEEK HELP if you fear for your safety. 


It seems that a lot of attackers use some tactic to get away with violence. Not many people know how to take care of themselves when faced with such a situation. Everyone should read this especially each and every girl in this world.


Through a rapist's eyes! A group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed on what they look for in a potential victim and here are some interesting facts:

1] The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun! , braid or other hairstyle that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.

2] The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing.

3] They also look for women using their cell phone, searching through their purse or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be easily overpowered.

4] The number one place women are abducted from / attacked at is grocery store parking lots.

5] Number two is office parking lots/garages.

6] Number three is public restrooms.

7] The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don't have to worry about getting caught.

8] If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn't worth it because it will be time-consuming.

9] These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands.

10] Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you're not worth it.


1] If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question, like what time is it, or make general small talk: can't believe it is so cold out here, we're in for a bad winter. Now that you've seen their faces and could identify them in a line- up, you lose appeal as a target.

2] If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell Stop or Stay back! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they'd leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

4] If someone grabs you, you can't beat them with strength but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and
armpit or in the upper inner thigh - HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it really hurts.

5] After the initial hit, always go for the groin. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy's parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you'll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause him a lot of
trouble. Start causing trouble, and he's out of there.

6] When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked

7] Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don't dismiss it, and go with your instincts. You may feel little silly at the time, but you'd feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.


I know you are smart enough to know these pointers but there will be some, where you will go "hmm I must remember that" After reading, forward it to someone you care about, never hurts to be careful in
this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do it.

2. Learned this from a tourist guide to New Orleans: if a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you.... chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car: Kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit
(doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU CLOSE the DOORS, LEAVE!

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking garage:

a. Be aware: look around your car as someone may be hiding at the passenger side, peek into your car, inside the passenger side floor, and in the back seat. (DO THIS TOO BEFORE RIDING A TAXI CAB).

b. If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.

c. Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard /policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot).

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; and even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP IT! It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.

I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know. It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle. I was going to send this to the ladies only, but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc., you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

Send this to any woman you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it and it's better safe than sorry.

If you have a heart or compassion share this photo.


‘Helping hands are better than Praying Lips’ – give us your helping hand.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don’t Let Your “In-Between” Job Become Your Career

I want to take a little of your time today and write a good old fashion message about working and money. It’s Workday Wednesday ya know, and frankly, I can’t think of a better topic. Many people I talk to see to hate their job, but they don’t acknowledge they have the choice in changing it.  

Now I’m not talking about the job you get because you are in desperate need of income. I know lots of people who were unfortunately let go and now work “in-between” jobs. There are necessary… a lot of the time.

I’m talking about when that “in-between” job suddenly becomes your career.

The #1 reason why people stay with their in-between job is this - "I've worked here 5 years now, and I won’t be able to find another job that pays me what I make now". 

You will NEVER make enough money, but you can spend less money; then pursuing a lower paying job can become more of a reality.  

My husband and I went to pre-marriage counseling with our pastor (who was a very close friend). I learned two very important things from him, 1) Always lock your car with the key-less remote (I have a sad habit of locking my keys in the car) and 2) Try to live off one income.

Well, we don’t live off one income. But we have before, and we could do it again. This takes a lot of planning. You can’t live off one income if your house is too expensive and you drive brand new cars. You can’t live on one income if you consistently shop for brand new clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. You can’t live off one income if you don’t plan your menus, eat out several times a week, ignore food sales, or keep a family budget (and STICK to it).  

If your dream job (or heck, even a BETTER) job makes a couple/few dollars less an hour, it IS possible to compensate for this. It’s a mind-set, and it’s a life style. If you LOVE your job, you’ll excel at it. After a while, you’ll receive a raise, and things will get better and better.

“More money” should never be the reason to stay with a job you hate. This is your life, and your happiness, and you have the power to make the changes you need!