Friday, June 29, 2012

Leah's Five Friday Fav's

Posted By: Leah

I started this post last week, just because there were sooo many amazing posts that you all may or may not have seen. I saw five more this week that I had to share! They are from blogs of all sizes and I got super happy reading these posts... and wanted you to know about them too! Nope, none are sponsored. Just genuinely good posts and I think you will like them :)

5. Goodbye Yellowbrick Road's " the summertime; a picnic for one."

Dottie is SUCH an effortlessly cool girl. And on Wednesday evening she packed herself only the most adorable dinner and went on a picnic by herself. She brought strawberry mojitos and sat alone in her town's square and listened to a band play bob marley covers. Her photography and writing are exquisite and I felt like I was right there next to her, having my own picnic of one.

4. Pamplemousse1983's "Thursday's Things: Funny HaHa Edition"
Maryam's post is of funny pictures I wish I found myself! But I didn't have to because she found them for us to enjoy!!! These gang signs have me DYING of laughter. Don't act like you and your girls haven't at some point flashed these. There are probably photos to prove it!

3. The Poop Whisperer's "Chocolate Hailey"
Oh, the sweet irony of a site called 'poop whisperer' talking about a dessert that looks like... *ahem* this. But no, that's not the reason I'm loving the post (ok well not the WHOLE reason). Let me give you the back story on why this recipe has me so jazzed. In Charlotte there is this super cool diner (hipster occupied) called The Diamond. They serve this exact dessert and also call it Chocolate Delight. I LOVE it!!! I wanted banana pudding one day when I was there, but the server said they were out and promised I'd love this. OMG HECK YES I DID! This is one of my top favorite desserts OF ALL TIME! I order it every time I'm there. I just figured the recipe was a magical secret that never could be duplicated. But my girl Hailey spilled the secret... and it looks e.a.s.y. oooh dangerous knowledge :)

2. restlessRISA's "Clothespin Doll"
Risa is gorgeous, like so pretty she should be on TV... and oh wait! She is! Yup, she does a craft segment for a local morning show and has the most adorable ideas. This week she made little clothespin doll peg people. She saw them on Etsy and figure out how to make them, and is now teaching all of us to make them too! And it looks pretty simple!!! I want a million of these. I want to make them for all my friends. I want them on every cake, cookie, cupcake, pop-tart, and pancake I serve... and eat!

1. Hundreds of Hundreds' "Grand"

Jill is a blogger living in Portland and received a large inheritance after her mother's death a couple of years ago. Jill wanted to use the funds to make a difference. Her blog is about the experiences she has had handing out $100 bills to strangers. I truly get chills reading this blog, Jill is amazing and meets the most deserving people. In October 2010, she gave a $100 bill to a stranger every single day of that month. Every time Jill surprises a stranger with $$, she says she receives even more back. She looks them in the eye and truly feels she is helping them with their own burden. Jill is amazing; a wonderful writer, and I am sooo happy to have learned about her amazing giving project via The Paper Mama's blog. It's not even a project, this is Jill's life. It is a truly wonderful thing she is doing and I'm so happy she shares it through her blog. A true example of 'paying it forward.'

PS linking up with

Foxy Friday - No Excuses

Posted By: Leah

I'm linking up with Down at Fraggle Rock for Foxy Friday again this week. I want to continue my discussion from my Tuesday Shape-up post on being Accountable.

Although I'm mainly talking about being accountable for diet and fitness, I also want to talk about being successful in other areas of life as well.

You are responsible for your success. Yes, we can have all the excuses in the world, but at the end of the day, YOU are the only one who is responsible for your actions. You are the only one truly in control of your choices and behaviors. Of course there are outside conditions, that delicious cheesecake you were given, the free samples at the store, but you are the one who chooses to eat them or not.

But here's where it gets tricky... it's being responsible 'either way.' Yes, it's sooo easy to claim responsibility when things go well. But when they don't, that's when the excuses show up. And that is one of the main reasons I'm having my own shape-up weekly link up as well as participating in K's link-up. I need to hold myself responsible and accountable, publicly two times a week, I post on my weight loss twice. If it was only 1 time a week, I'd be more likely to indulge and then figure I could get the weight off by my next week's weigh in. Maybe I could, maybe I couldn't. Maybe I'd stop getting on the scale all together. By making my accountability public, I am responsible for keeping this up.

Also, in addition to being responsible 'either way' we need to be responsible for 'what is.' We are unable to change our pasts and what led us to this point. What we have to do is accept the hand we were dealt and go from there. Yes, life can be unfair. I wish a whole lot of things in my life were different and I'm sure you do too. But guess what? Once we accept 'what is' we are then free to move ahead.

So how does this affect you and affect me with being accountable? We need to allow ourselves to be self-empowered enough to be responsible for our actions. When you stop assigning blame, and become accountable to yourself, the excuses will go away. Be truthful, police yourself, and more than anything, look inward instead of outward when addressing any issues or challenges.

By being accountable and not making excuses, you are able to achieve anything you want. Whether it is weight loss or anything else you hope to achieve. I believe in you. I hope you believe in me. We're in this together.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Ok Thursday

Posted By: Leah

Its Ok Thursdays

This is my 1st time linking up with Brunch with Amber for It's Ok Thursdays. Pretty sure it's like 'So What Wednesdays," which is a favorite of mine... so here it goes.....

It's Ok that I am a 'nice blogger.' I know everybody always talks about how much they love reading blogs where the writer doesn't give a crap and will say anything. But, I think It's Ok that try to keep some kind of filter and keep my sass to a minimum. I'm sure my family and employer appreciate that too, consider who I am is not a secret.

It's Ok that I'm a nice person. I do not shoot off at the mouth or 'keep it real' saying everything I think. If it's not nice, I keep it to myself. I know this isn't really the healthiest thing, but I think it's the mature thing. And chances are whatever my issue was, I will get over it because it's probably nothing.

It's Ok that I change my nail polish color all the time, sometimes multiple times in an evening to get the right look I want.

It's Ok that I love Hello Kitty and she makes me super happy. She somehow incorporates herself into every aspect of my life, and I think I am a more cheerful person because of it.

It's Ok that I don't delete the e-mails asking me to review products. I work hard at blogging and I am not above getting free stuff because of it. I got this dress in the mail yesterday that was custom made for me. All I had to do was answer like 4 questions and they mailed it right to me. 

It's Ok that I had 2 cavities filled yesterday. It's because I'm so sweet! Or that I love sweets. I have had 3 cavities since turning 30 and only one before. I think it's true about your hormones changing. I'm going to sign up for fluoride treatments. Seriously!
 It's Ok that ok, yes we know I love Hello Kitty, but that I would consider dropping hundreds on her. Those little Swarovski figurines in the bottom right? $250 each!!! Ok maybe I wouldn't consider dropping that much. but I do love them.

Instead of saying "So What are you saying So What! to?" I will end with "It's Ok to be okay!" Instead of trying to be someone you're not, or being negative, be who you truly are. And if that's an upbeat positive person, It's OK!  :)

(yes this is my 2nd IG filled post of the week)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So What! Wednesday

Posted By: Leah

So What! I had a few bites of a delicious vermont maple cupcake with candied bacon this weekend. And I felt like I should have been eating it for breakfast. Cupcakes for breakfast trumps my normal fruit 'till noon diet any day :) ACTUALLY... what happened was I saw a food truck (van) and ran over to it.  and I made this guy give me the cupcake for free. Sometimes I can't believe my own adorableness ;) ok really, he was closing up shop and had this one left. But whatev's, still free for me!

So What! This Friday I'm going to see J. Cole for the 3rd time and Rick Ross for the 2nd time, along with some other awesome hip hop artists! Hip hop = my fav music for sure (old news). Plus I think J. Cole (who's from NC like me!) is a total hottie. Not so much in the below picture, but he's super cute!

So What! This Saturday BF and I are going to take Gav camping and tubing in the WV mountains. This weekend it's going to be HOT so we're getting out of town. I already got the s'mores supplies. What else do we really need? haha

So What! My best cubeeee Courtney (cube-mate) is leaving me :( I will be so sad at work. Who will I talk to for 8+ hours a day through the cube wall?  I'm working on her going away party, so that will be fun and we're ordering a Coldstone cake. (excuse my deer in the headlights look. Old pic. Yikes!)

So What! That reminds me of a really hilariously creepy story. So on one of my last days of the job where I worked before I moved down here for my current job, they had a pajama day in my honor. We ordered pizza for lunch and it was a blast! I had not yet sold my house, and was selling big stuff I didn't want to move on Craig's list. The day of my PJ work party I got a call from a dude who wanted to buy my thousand-dollar  cherry sleigh bed.  I ended up leaving work, going to my abandoned house (we had moved into an apt trying to sell the house), and I met a craig's list creeper stranger IN MY cute little PAJAMAS. To sell him a bed. Fortunately, the guy was nice and nothing weird went down. I got my $$ and actually helped him move the bed frame down the stairs (in my PJ's). But looking back, craig's list meet-ups are sketchy enough in a parking lot. What was I thinking meeting him in my PJ's in my empty house? And selling a BED!?

So What! Even though Courtney my cubeee's leaving me, I'll still have Lauren! (here's us at a Bachelorette party and me making another weird face) This afternoon Lauren and I were some of the first ones to sign up for the Charlotte Color Run on November 17th. This race will sell out for sure, I'm pretty certain everyone I know is going to be there. Don't know what the Color Run is? it's a 5k of happiness! I CANNOT WAIT!  to understand, Just watch the video:

Want to join our team? Message me!

So What! I'm in the blog button designing business. And I'm creative and cheap! Does your blog need a new button? Click HERE for more info! I LOVE designing them, it's one of my favorite things for sure.

So What! BF's mom gave me a 2nd cute halter apron! Now I have one for my house and one for BF's. I look super domestic here, right? And I was only making a salad. HA!

So What! I STILL haven't had a chance to edit my HerosCon photos from this weekend. I will do it this week. I promise!

So What! are you saying So What! to this week? Link up with Shannon of LAID and share what's happening in your life!

I'm also linking up with According to L for My Life In An Instagram :) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

12 Week Shape Up - Week 3 Link Up!

Posted By: Leah

Welcome to my 12 week shape up for Cali! What are you getting in shape for? Link up below and join me!

Good news, I'm down a lot this week! 5 lbs total in 3 weeks, Yay!
I really tried to do well this past week and weekend and that has made all the difference. A few days of over-eating really can derail you. I'm so happy to report I'm back in the game and feeling good!

Mission 3 - Accountability
This is for sure the easiest mission I will have for you guys for my 12 week shape-up. This week's mission is to make your healthy eating, exercising.... everything you're doing to 'shape up,' I want you to make it public. There is no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed. I've found that by keeping my healthy diet a secret, it's harder than just telling people. There's no making excuses why you aren't eating cheese fries and drinking bottomless beer with your friends. By increasing your accountability, it will motivate you even more. To know that your coworkers, friends, and family know you are eating healthy, it will make you accountable to them and not want to fail. For me, another way to be accountable is to talk about it on my blog. I have quite a few daily readers and even though most of you I don't know IRL, I would feel like such a failure if I just gave up on my 12 week challenge. Whether you'd judge me or not, I am putting myself out there in front of all of you and this helps me be accountable.

Please note- although you may be overweight, when you tell people about your 'shape up' they will often say things like "you don't need to diet" or "you are already such a good size." It may be easier just to accept the 'compliment' than to justify what you're doing and why. Remember, you're doing this for you, and you don't need to justify it to yourself. You know this is the way you need to be eating.

That said- don't skip social opportunities or stop going out to eat just because you're starting to eat healthier and differently. You will resent being healthy and binge eat out of rebellion. Trust me, I'm famous for doing this. Not the skipping social situations (I'm a blast!) but the binge eating because I didn't get to eat what I want when I could have. It's all about moderation and tracking.

Link up with me and lets support each other! Don't forget to visit the other people who link up and support them on their journeys as well!

Prior Missions:
Blood Type Diet
Fruit 'Till Noon
30 Day Ab Challenge

Monday, June 25, 2012

Need a blog button?

Posted By: Leah

Blog Buttons (also called badges) are one of the best ways to promote, track, and link back to your blog. Ever have someone ask for your button and *gasp* you don't have one, or the one you have isn't the image you want promoting your blog? I'm here to help! I will design a custom button for you blog, for only $10!

You've probably noticed that for every one of my posts, I make a really fun intro photo. Usually it has the post's name and a picture of what the post will be about... this is because I LOVE graphic design. So so much. I have a blast designing these and wanted to offer my skills to you to help promote your blog! I also can make buttons for link-ups, ads, anything you'd like!

So how does designing a button with me work?
Simply contact me at leahwinstead*at* and I will get to work for you! Let me know your blog's name and what you have in mind for your button. If you don't know where to start, that's okay too! I usually will go ahead and click around your blog on my own and see what photos you have already up that would work, and I feel out your style and taste. From there, I'll start sending you choices. This one, for example, was for a blogger who wasn't sure if she wanted me to use a photo or have a patterned button. I was happy to send both from a photo I found on her blog:

I am super easy-going and if there's anything you don't like, or want to suggest I am totally open to your feedback, this is YOUR button! I also have a pretty fast turnaround time! Usually 24 hours or less.

This is the final button that was selected from the drafts above. I can work with any size specifications you would like. Rectangular, square, even round (for white background blogs), I can do it!
You will receive the code to your button via e-mail and I can help you with directions on how to paste it into your sidebar if you need it. The final product will look something like this:

Here are a few more of my designs (images only, these aren't the actual clickable buttons):

You're free to use your button anywhere around the internet. From using it as an avatar, to a link-up, this button is YOURS! And if you ever need it resized, or something different... I will always help you with that for FREE!

You never know who'll you will be linking up with in the future, and don't worry I won't leave you stuck with a rectangular badge forever if you end up needing a square one or visa-versa!

Let me know how I can help with your blog badge needs. I'm happy to help you grow your blog!

Also, I offer a free ad-swap! Want me to promote your blog on my page? Of Course!! You may link-up anytime and let me know what size you'd like of my button for your page. I'm down to only 5 spots for July! 

Weekend Recap: IG's of HeroCon!

Posted By: Leah

We had sooo much fun this weekend at HeroesCon in Charlotte (yes I call it HeroCon). I am working on editing the pictures (there are some awesomely hilarious ones of me and people dressed up as superheros and inappropriate pictures too of course!) but here's a quick recap via my Instagram! 

Friday night by PURE CHANCE we wondered into a Stan Lee autograph signing VIP event. (Stan Lee is like the George Lucas of Comic Books. He's responsible for all the Marvel Super Hero's like Spider Man, Avenger characters (Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawk Eye, etc.) Tell your husband's and they'll be impressed. PS- he's the guy in white with white hair and his back turned.

Gav dressed as Mario and I dressed as Hello Kitty (of course!) We were adorable... except it did creep me out when middle-aged men would stop us to take photos of Gav. Not sure how I feel about that, but I did dress him up. Trying to think only good thoughts on this one.

BF, Gav and I parked away from uptown and rode the Lynx (train) in. I pretty much adore this pic BF took, and look at Gav eating Sun Chips on the train!

Having never been to a comic book convention, I didn't really know what I wanted to look at first. BF's been to a zillion and just sat back and let Gav and I go where we wanted and followed us. I was clearly on a HK mission in this one.

Found her! Yes, I may have scared this poor artist when I started screaming and pointing. But all he draws is HK on sides of ABC liquor boxes as different superhero's! These were the five I purchased ($25 total, a great deal, right?) L to R - Robocop (the handle is a cutout!), Wonder Woman, Han Solo, Princess Leia (in her slave gold bikini costume), and Cobra Commander. Right now they are on the mantle in my living room. I want to get some Ikea floating shelves and properly display these ASAP. freaking LOVE these!

Speaking of Cobra Commander, check out BF's shirt that day.... I KNOW! Best picture of BF & HK ever! (ok probably the only pic, but this is so awesome!)

Why do I look freaked out? I had on Necomimi. I will do an ENTIRE post on these. They were $100 for the cat ears. They operated on BRAIN WAVES! Yup... there was a sensor on my forehead and one clipped to my other ear. Depending on how I was feeling, the ears moved. Gav had on a set too. It was a trip!

The pictures on the camera are much better, but this was Gav and I as action figures. From far away and at the correct angle it looks like we're in packaging. It's adorable! I hope you all had an awesome weekend. Have you ever been to ComiCon or another comic book convention?

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