Tuesday, August 26, 2014

10 Dorm Room Must Haves!

I am still in shock that this is the last week of summer for everyone in my area.  My boss has taken off to spend time with her kids.  The teenagers across the street are spending every single free moment working on their tans and playing in the pool.  My teacher friends all reported their dreaded return to school on Facebook yesterday.  Where in the world did summer go?  Seriously... hello September?!  My brain is still stuck in spring, while my calendar is telling me we are entering fall and it's Back-to-School Glory.
I don't care who you are... there is something exciting about "Back to School" time.  Go ahead and call me a nerd, but personally, entering the stores and seeing the fresh notebooks, new pens, and colorful planners brings me joy.  So when Kleenex and Walmart reached out to 2 cats & chloe, asking me to write a little piece on the Top 10 Dorm Must-Haves I was a little pumped.  I mean, who doesn't want to pretend that they are packing up and heading back to college!  
This post brought back a lot of fun JMU college memories!  Memories of Freshman year, on the 8th floor of the tallest building in Harrisonburg, with no AC.  Memories of hiliarous times with my roomies, who became friends for life.  Memories of riding the bus to the old Walmart in Harrisonburg... and then waiting for that same bus to come back hours later while we lugged all of our purchases {and a few betta fish} back to the dorm.
Top 10 Dorm Room Must Haves Walmart

I had no clue how colorful the Back-to-School gear has gotten.  Seriously!  They have colorful mini refrigerators now?!  Personally, I think everything on the list above is great - but I want to give a couple of shout outs...
First of all, the disk chair.  This may seem like a silly looking chair, but when you have a ton of friends stopping in to your tiny dorm room, this chair will be perfect.  OR, let's say that you buy one, like I did, that has a slight squeak to it... it is exactly what you need to drive your roomie crazy!  {Amanda - wink wink} 
Or maybe you will be blessed with a loud typing roommate.  {It's a condition, I swear!}  You are going to thoroughly thank me for recommending headphones.  Some of us just cannot help our typing volume.

The Kleenex Expressions Oval Facial Tissues in Chevron Designs... You are going to get sick.  It's college.  It's germy.  And you may be just like me and have a roommate who forces you to wash your hands all the time, who sprays the television remote with cleaner, and who teaches you the proper way to cough.  She will make you use tissues, so you may as well buy these.  The design and pattern of the box makes them cute enough to leave on your desk all the time.  Heck, I am well beyond a dorm room but these Kleenex tissues are sitting on my desk!
What memories do you have of your college dorm?  Do you have any tips for must-have items?  What are your favorite roommate memories?  
Thank you Walmart and Kleenex for sponsoring today's post, and bring back some fun dorm room memories!  
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

End-Of-Summer Paleo Coffee

There is a certain point, usually mid August, when I am horrified that thought "I can't wait for scarf and boot season" crosses through my mind.  It's an unfortunate but annual moment.  A moment at which I begin to morn the end of summer while embracing every single last moment of sunshine and weekends on the river. 
I live in Virginia.  Of course, I'm a bit biased, but I really feel like this is one of the greatest states simply because we experience all four seasons.  We have snow {not a lot, but enough} in the winter.  Spring can be wet, but sunny and full of blooming flowers.  Summer... oh summer.  We have beaches and mountains: the best of all worlds.  You haven't lived until you have experienced Fall in VA.  Virginia embraces one of the prettiest Autumns you will ever experience.  If you don't have leaves that change to the brightest shades of golds, oranges and reds in your hometown - you need to plan a trip through the Shenandoah Valley this October.  
So when I mentally begin to transition from Summer to Fall, baby steps are required.  Only fools jump straight into the pumpkin spice... 
As one who lives a paleo and whole30 life, one thing I really miss from time to time, is coffee creamer.  And not just the plain jane, basically milk, stuff.  I miss that horrible-for-you, sugary, so-good but so-bad, flavored creamer.  
Did you know that you can still flavor your coffee without that crap?!  GASP!  Who knew?!  So today, I want to share with you my End-of-Summer Paleo Coffee Blend.  It's still sweet, but has a hit of fall in it.  Highlights?  It's much better for you than that horrible creamer, it's all natural, and most of the ingredients are already in your spice cabinet. 
Your favorite blend of coffee {Regular or Decaf}
2 heaping Tablespoons of Heavy Coconut Cream
5 Drops of Liquid Stevia
1/4 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract 
1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon 
1/2 Teaspoon of 100% Cocoa

Blend all of the ingredients in your coffee mug prior to adding the actual coffee.

Brew coffee, pour into mug.

Stir well, making sure everything melts and blends completely.

Sip and enjoy.  Embrace the hint of fall while appreciating the last couple weeks of summer.

What are your favorite coffee blends?  Are you the kind of person who anxiously awaits the arrival of the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?  Stay tuned... 

#Paleo  #Gluten Free  #Dairy Free
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Five things You Missed This Week...

Oh hey Friday!  It's about time you got here!  This has been one long as heck week.  In addition to wedding planning, I work as an Independent Marketing Contractor during the week.  One of my clients is going through a website rebranding and relaunch.  I spent a couple days of this work week up in Northern Virginia at the corporate office... and the rest of my time clicking refresh as the new site was supposed to go live.  {Fingers crossed, without any glitches.}  But everyone in this online world knows - it's rare for there to ever be a non-glitched-up launch or to have it perfect without one tweak necessary...  Sigh.
But hey, it's Friday!  Since the blog was a little bare in the middle {of the week} this week, let's just do a completely random 5 today to catch you up!  Oh, and thank you all so much for the kind words of encouragement with last week's 5.  Y'all rock.  Thank you so much for your support. 
PiYo!  I was invited to join an {online} group of lovely ladies for 30 days of PiYo.  You know, God seriously works in the most interesting and timely ways.  I definitely have a love/hate relationship with social media.  But when it comes to love - I whole-heartedly LOVE the people I have met {and some that I have only "met"} via social media.  Through random #hashtag hopping, I somehow crossed paths with the lovely and amazing @sugaryjoy several months ago.  She is one of the sweetest and down right gorgeous {inside and out!} people I think you could meet.  Maybe she is catfishing us, but I highly doubt it. ;)  Either way, I'm thankful for her.  She is an encouraging and wonderful coach to have. 

So I've jumped on board and have joined these women for 30 days of PiYo.  If you have been following along for the past couple months {via my social media} you may have heard me ask about yoga recently.  The timing of this Pilates and Yoga Combo exercise was perfect.  Well, as perfect as exercising can be.  {Why do I seriously hate it so much?!}  

Today is day five and I am proud to say, that I even stuck with it and did my PiYo in the hotel this week!  I have become "that girl" who travels with her hot pink yoga mat.  And I'm okay with that.  It's a really fun exercise that can be modified for people {like me} who have struggled with knee problems and/or really just dislike anything that makes me sweat.  I will keep y'all posted on what I think {and my results} as the 30 days progress!  

Rebrand!  I had a little teaser on IG this week showing the sneak peak of the 2 cats & chloe rebranding in process!  Yup, it's true.  I've had this look for the past three years.  It's cute and all, but every time I look at my blog, I hate it more and more.  I need something fresh and new!  {Considering I re-arrange my house almost quarterly, I'm shocked my blog design has been the same for so many years!}  I'm hoping to have it live next week!  Stay tuned!

2 cats and chloe blog rebrand look

Oh, and to answer a lot of your insta-questions from the teaser post - YES I do my own blog design.  I'm no expert but it is a great, creative outlet for me.  If you are interested in me looking at your design, and possibly helping you tweak yours - let me know!

Shopping Spree!  Shhhhhh!  Don't tell anyone, but I took a couple hours to myself yesterday on my way home from working in Northern Virginia.  It's been FOREVER since I have gone out shopping for no particular reason.  Considering everyone is in back-to-school mode, I expected the Williamsburg Prime Outlets to be quite a bit more hectic.  Thankfully, it there was plenty of parking and no real lines.  Probably because it was the hottest day ever and only crazy people shop outdoors, in unruly humidity and extreme heat. So what did I buy?

A pair of ankle boots.  Birthday presents for my dad.  A fall garden fall.  A candle that smells like birthday cake {just because I can't eat it doesn't mean I can't smell it right?!} And a new rustic "Home Sweet Home" box for us to put our shoes in.  Oh, and I purchased my first Christmas present!  It's never too early to start shopping for Christmas right??

The Ice Bucket Challenge!  

Crap.  I was really hoping I would make it through this awesome, yet extremely trendy, social media fundraising blitz warm and dry.  Last night I was alerted via facebook that I was tagged in a post.  My immediate feeling was dread.  BUT - who am I to turn down a challenge.  Stay tuned...

Weekend Plans?
We have none.  Other than work:  Client work.  Contractor work.  Website work.  House work.  Yard work.  Blog work.  Why is being a grown up so un-fun sometimes?  
That's it from me for today.  Have a lovely weekend my dears!  If you are stopping by from the friday linkup, please leave a comment!  I would love to say hello and get to know ya!  Happy Weekend!  

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guilty Pleasures - #GuiltyTotalSocial

Oh guilty pleasures... As I am spending 2014 revamping my life and making healthy decisions {eating, exercising, and well, just trying to let those creative juices flow!} I still find myself sneaking in a couple guilty pleasures when I have a moment to breathe.  It's extremely refreshing to know I'm not alone too!  I'm linking up with Helene and Sarah for the #TotalSocial Linkup!  This month's theme is Guilty Pleasures! 
Helene in Between
1 //  Coastal & Home Magazines and Pinterest Boards.  Have I told you that we are building a house next year?  Yeah, it's big news that I have yet to share with many people.  But maybe you could tell based on my currently overused pinterest board.  In between drooling over and tweaking my new custom house plans - I just can't seem to get enough of these home design and decor magazines!  Magazines that I used to think only old people, like my mom, were supposed to read.  #imgettingold
2 //  Teen Mom 2.  Yeah... apparently I simply like watching train wrecks.  Train wrecks that make me realize how good of a mom I will be... one day. 
3 //  All other forms of trash television, which is basically Bravo TV:  Below Deck, Ladies of London, Million Dollar Listing, Real Housewives of any city... I've never actually seen an entire season of anything.  It's amazing how 15 minutes of other peoples' problems just make me grin.
Whole30 Approved Paleo Almond Butter
4 //  Almond Butter with Raisins.  I would be losing a heck of a lot more weight, so much easier, if I could just give up my almond butter.  I don't crave chocolate, reeces, wine or anything anymore... as long as I can have a couple spoonfuls of almond butter and a handful of raisins {almost daily?! eek!} I'm good to go!
5 //  Purses.  I have done a really good job at cutting back and giving away the ones I don't carry.  Only to pine over a few other bags I'd love to own.  Like this one, this one or ooooo especially this one.  
mini goats!

6 //  Obsessively hopping from one hashtag to the next, killing time on Instagram.  Due to life choices, I'm currently hooked on any hashtag related to the whole30, paleo, kittens or goats.  Speaking of goats...  
7 //  Not exercising.  I've said it once, and I will say it a million times: I hate exercising.  I will easily give up all sweets, popcorn, wine, chocolate, bread, pasta, pancakes and cuppies... if I'd never have to exercise again.  ARG!  Why do I hate it so much?  Luckily, I have a hilarious 70 year old trainer who is okay with my sarcasm and banter.  {Yup, he's 70.  But you'd never, ever guess it. #YouAreWhatYouEat!}  But sitting, and partaking in numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 lead to guilty pleasure number 7.  I've decided I need to try to kick this guilty pleasure /slash/ bad habit in the butt!  I've signed up for a 30 day PiYo challenge.  #SugaryJoyPiYo.  I'm on day 2.  Y'all will be reminding me next week why I want to get healthy...   
8 //  Taking too many pictures of my dog.  Taking too many pictures of my food.
9 //  This picture of my mom.  {Just incase The Big Bang Theory is looking for Howard's Mom...}
Big Bang Theory - Howard's Mom!
10 //  Girl Meets World.  Is it possible that I am the only 30-something who is beyond pumped to have Cory and Topanga back on television?  I will confess... I am DVR-ing it every single friday night.  
I feel so much better getting these guilty pleasures off my chest!  Woo!  What are some of your guilty pleasures?  Can you relate to any of mine above?  Does your mom look like a tv celebrity?  Are you secretly spending quality time with Cory and Topanga? 
Thanks for hosting this great linkup gals!  #GuiltyTotalSocial
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Recipe: Whole30 Approved Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

I have a new side dish obsession.  I've made this twice in the past seven days, and it's on the agenda again for tonight.  It's Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus.  And it is by far one of the easiest appetizers you can create, while absolutely wow-ing your guests.  {Personally, I made these as a side dish... and then reheated my leftover spears to go along with my breakfast!  Eggs with a side of prosciutto and asparagus?  Now that is a well rounded brekkie!}

Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Dried Basil


Wash your asparagus.  Cut and discard the white, dry ends off of each spear.

Lay out aluminum foil on a baking sheet.  Place asparagus on foil.  Drizzle olive oil on the asparagus.  I used my {clean} hands to move the spears around and cover them in olive oil.  Then sprinkle them with your garlic powder and dried basil.

My prosciutto came in wider pieces, so I torn them into skinnier strips.  Wrap the prosciutto around each spear of asparagus, laying them back out on the same aluminum foil covered baking sheet.  Lightly drizzle the wrapped asparagus with just the tiniest bit of olive oil.  

Broil on high for 10 minutes.  Half way through, take them out and flip them over.  The asparagus will soften and bake up with the flavor of garlic and basil, while the prosciutto will being to get a bit crispy.

And that's it!  This could be a huge hit as a party appetizer.  Your friends would be so impressed and have no clue how incredibly easy this dish is!  Best part about it?  Prosciutto is SO MUCH EASIER to find than Whole30 Approved Bacon {meaning it doesn't have sugar and crap added to it!}  So not only is this easy but it's whole30 compliant!  Yahtzee!  

 This dish is:
#Whole30  #Paleo  #Gluten-Free
Please let me know what you think?  Do you have a favorite side or party app?  I am having fun working and adapting recipes to be whole30 compliant!  Give me your suggestions of what to try next!
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I'm linking up with Monday Morning Gossip, Made By You Monday and #letitshine