March 29, 2017

April Fitness Challenge

Starting in April, I’m pushing myself to complete a fitness challenge – take 25 classes in 30 days at the studio where I take barre, cycling, and yoga. While it might not sound like a lot to many, for me it’s a big increase in what I’m currently doing. I typically take two classes each week, which are great for helping me maintain my current fitness level, but I’m not really pushing myself or getting any stronger. 



The reason I chose this particular challenge for myself is because I find that I’m most successful in a group class atmosphere. It’s so much easier to get out of bed on a Saturday morning if I know there are 20 other people waiting to hit the barre and start off their weekend on a healthy note. Plus, I’ve really begun to enjoy indoor cycling, which is something I never thought I would say! The combination of the cardio, strength training, and stretching that the group classes bring to my life is exactly what I need right now.

I don’t plan on changing my diet, but I will be weighing myself and taking some measurements to see what happens throughout the next month. And if I’m being completely honest, I’m hoping that making it through this challenge will help me cement some workout habits that I can carry into the warmer weather. 

To kick off this challenge, I purchased an extra pair of workout capris from Athleta, another awesome tank that doesn’t ride up when I’m in downward dog, and two extra sports bras. Having pretty new workout gear is a good motivator for me, especially because I hate adding extra laundry to my already annoying laundry schedule. 

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this awesome challenge is made possible in part by my mom and mother-in-law, for gifting me with gift cards to the studio! With unexpected home repairs recently, I don’t have a ton of spare cash, so I’m so appreciative of their thoughtful gifts. 


If you’re in the Harrisburg area, come out to a class with me at H2L studio – the more, the merrier!

March 27, 2017

Weekending | Prom Dresses + Spring Cleaning

Is it just me, or is this year flying by? I cannot believe we are in the last week of March. It always seems like there's so much to do and time is just slipping away, right? Or maybe that's just me. 

Even though the weekend went too fast, I did manage to get quite a bit accomplished! Although overcast, Saturday was the first real taste of spring with temperatures in the low 70s, which melted that last little bit of snow we were still holding on to. 

Also on Saturday, I was lucky to be part of the first ever Prom Possible event with the Junior League of Harrisburg. So what is Prom Possible, you ask? It was a one-day pop-up shop where local high school girls could come and pick out a prom dress and accessories for their upcoming dance. And why? Because as many of us know, prom can be quite an expense, and unfortunately not everyone is able to afford it. 


Through the generous donations of dresses, jewelry, hair certificates and dry cleaning expenses by local friends, family members, and businesses, JLH was able to provide many local high school girls with the perfect dress! This {link} provides little more information about the event from our local ABC station.


I will say that after all of the excitement of Prom Possible on Saturday, I kept Sunday really low-key. I tested out my new Instant Pot by making barbecue pork, and it turned out so well! I can't wait to try more instant pot recipes, so if you have some please share your favorites.

I also worked more on my spring cleaning, which is finally starting to get somewhere! I keep saying I'm going to work on my wardrobe, but that seems to be really difficult for me so I started with books, candles, linens, and office supplies. I managed to get rid of five entire bags of junk that we no longer need and I'm looking forward to continuing with the purge later this week.

Also something to look forward to this week - Jason and I are taking a little trip to Annapolis! Neither of us have ever been and it's not too far for a short vacation away. If you've ever been and have places we must see, food we must eat, or things we must purchase, let me know! Happy Monday, friends!



March 17, 2017

Five on Friday | Favorite Soups

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through another week! If any of you are on the East Coast, I hope you survived our fun little March snowstorm. Right now, it’s hard to believe Spring is right around the corner! You better believe I used this last little bit of winter and my time snowed in to enjoy some of my favorite soups. And for this week’s Five on Friday, I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes:



1 // Chicken Corn Noodle (recipe via My Kitchen Addiction)

This is my all-time favorite, especially when my mom makes it. It’s perfect when served with saltines. And this is probably sacrilege to some, but good chicken corn soup absolutely DOES NOT have hard-boiled egg pieces in it! That’s the perfect way to ruin a delicious soup, in my opinion 

2 // Slow Cooker Loaded Potato (recipe via Cooking Classy)

I had the most incredible potato soup at a local restaurant last week. It was made with fingerling potatoes, which were the perfect size and softness. But this crock pot recipe is a good substitute for at home!

3 // Tomato Basil with Parmesan (recipe via le creme de la crumb)

Make this with a grilled cheese and you’ve got yourself the perfect comfort meal for a snow day!

4 // Vegetable Beef (recipe via Taste of Home)

This is an old standby that my mom makes pretty frequently. It’s so easy to make with frozen vegetables and a roast! 

5 // Slow Cooker Broccoli + Cauliflower (recipe via Recipe Runner)

I tried this one for the first time last week and the recipe was good, but I’d tweak it a little bit by sautéing the garlic and onions before putting everything in the crockpot to add a little more depth to the flavor of the soup. Also, I used sour cream instead of greek yogurt because it was what I had on hand, and it worked perfectly.


And okay, let’s be honest. Just because winter is basically over doesn’t mean I’m going to stop making soup anytime soon. Share your favorites with me!

March 15, 2017

The Secret to Stress Free Packing and Travel | Book Review

Packing. One of the worst parts about taking a vacation, amirite? If you're anything like I used to be, it's all about cramming every possible space in your suitcase and carry-on with every possible item you may need. Long before my flight attendant days, I was a notorious overpacker. 
The First Step to Becoming an Efficient Packer and Traveler | Line Up and Wait


Actually, even at the beginning of my time as a flight attendant, I was an overpacker. I remember showing up for what we called a "stand up" overnight (or a high speed, or a CDO [continuous duty overnight]), which basically means the crew works the last flight into a city at night and the first flight out in the morning. The crew is on duty the full amount of time (typically about 8 hours), but they are given a hotel room to rest. Well, on my first CDO, I had a bag full of clothes, makeup, books, laptop...and used nothing of it. I brushed my teeth, threw on some sweats and a tshirt and crashed for about three hours. I pulled my uniform back on in the morning and was ready to get back to Houston to really go to sleep in my own bed in a few hours. So that entire long story goes to show you that I still have overpacking tendencies, despite my experience of living out of a suitcase!

In my years of flying, living out of hotels, moving frequently, and traveling for work, I've come up with quite a few tips and tricks that work really well for me. However, there's one non-negotiable secret that I think everyone should follow. And that would be...

Buy a quality suitcase that is built to last!

But why would I spend $450 on a bag that just gets my things from point A to point B? Because you want your things to arrive intact. The job of your suitcase isn't to look pretty (but it's a nice perk!), the job of your suitcase is to get your belongings from point A to point B so that they show up clean, safe, and unbroken. The bag protects its contents from rain, snow, falls, you name it. So your suitcase shows up at baggage claim and it's looking a little worse than it did when you dropped it off? Cool. It's taking a beating so that what's inside - what really matters to you - is intact. Even the best suitcases will get scuffed, scratched, and generally worn. And that's completely okay. A quality bag will look even better as it ages and you can save yourself so much cash by investing in a good suitcase instead of replacing your lousy one after every trip.

I highly, highly recommend TravelPro (any of their crew lines are great, I've had mine since 2009 and in my time in the industry it's been on and off airplanes thousands of times as checked and carry-on and it's still going beautifully). Tumi is also a wonderful brand, and they stand by their products. Hard-sided suitcases might seem like a good bet, but I see them broken more frequently than any other kind. My TravelPro is an older one with only 2 wheels, but it's perfectly easy for me to drag it behind me, regardless of what it's filled with. And it's light, so I can lift it into the overhead, up the subway stairs, or into my trunk, regardless of how much shopping I did while traveling! So if you do one thing when it comes to travel - especially semi-frequent travel - BUY A QAULITY BAG!


Now, as far as packing the bag? I'm going to leave that to a pro, Hitha Palepu, author of the new book How To Pack. This short little information book is filled to the brim with ideas on exactly what to bring with you and how to pack, depending on your type of trip. Hitha's own blog, HithaOnTheGo.com, is a great resource for all kinds of travel queries, but her book narrows down one of vacations biggest stressors: packing. She talks about pre-packing, choosing the right style of clothing, adding accessories to change up a look, what sort of toiletries are must-haves, how to edit your beauty routine for travel, and the big part: making the list and how to actually pack for maximum space. Hitha's book is a cute extension of her blog, and would make a great gift for any new college grad who might be moving into a new job that requires a lot of travel. Definitely check it out! But first - get yourself a quality suitcase before your summer vacations start up!

I received a copy of How To Pack at no cost via bloggingforbooks.com. If you're a blogger who loves to read, check out their selection! As always, opinions are my own.

March 13, 2017

Monday, Monday | A Poodle Pawty

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend! My weekend was very low-key, which was just fine with me. I had grand plans to work on my closet clean out project that has been going on for the last, oh, five months or so, but that just didn't work out like I wanted it to. I can't explain why, but I always get to a certain point in my decluttering/purging/KonMari-ing and I just get stuck. It's a weird sort of overwhelmed, but mostly just a frustration with how much excess I have and how disorganized I feel. Has anyone else had similar feelings while doing a major wardrobe purge? If you have and you've made it through to the other side, help me out and share what worked to push through! 

Although I failed in the clothing department, I did manage to pare our sheets down to two sets per bed! It might not seem like huge accomplishment, but if you knew how many sets of sheets (and mismatched fitted/flats) we had in our house, you'd realize it's a pretty big one! We were basically out of storage space for linens and our "office" had become the room where bedding went to die. So it was a double win - I got some office space back and we donated at least four full sets of sheets and will give the other six or so mismatched sheets to the Humane Society. Even the doggies win!

And speaking of winning doggies...


Happy 7th Birthday Karma! Our big poodle turned seven on Sunday, so of course we threw her a Perfect Poodle Pawty! Born as part of a St. Patrick's Day litter of 12, Karma's been used to crazy and chaos her whole life, and today wasn't any different. Her best friends Kinsey and Sig were in attednace, along with her cat friend, Meowtown. 


For the doggies, McDonald's cheeseburgers were served. The humans were lucky enough to get wings, roasted vegetables, tots, and a delicious birthday cake. Poor Karmy didn't get to have mom and dad around for her big day, though, because they're living it up in Florida right now. I guess that just means we'll have to celebrate again when they return!

Who knows when they'll be back though? We're expecting a whopper of a storm here in Central PA tomorrow, so they might have to hold down the fort in Florida for a few more days as we wait for this big snowstorm to make its way through our area! 

The potential for this huge snowstorm is actually the reason I'm at work today - I'm trying to get ahead because I have a feeling I won't be in the office at all on Tuesday and there's lots of work to be done. In an industry that never shuts down, it's nice to have the flexibility in my position to change a few things around so that I can still get my work done in an efficient manner, even if the office is closed due to this alleged 18" of snow that is headed in our direction!

But hey, maybe this whopper of a blizzard will trap me in my home all day on Tuesday...faced with nothing but my closet that needs to be cleaned out. Maybe that's just all the message and motivation I need to get it done :)

Have a great Monday, friends! If you're in the area of the storm, do you have any special plans to prep? 











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March 10, 2017

Five on Friday | Two

Happy Friday, everyone! Aren't you glad we made it to the end of another workweek? I was supposed to fly down to Florida this weekend, but decided to save the money and stay home instead. My parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins will be having lots of fun, though, I'm sure! Instead I'll be continuing my massive closet clean out and hopefully taking lots of items to the consignment shop and listing a few on Poshmark. I've done a pretty good job of cutting down on buying clothing, but after months of chipping away at this project, I don't feel like I've gotten anywhere. It's probably time to play 100% by the Marie Kondo rules and just do it all at once. We'll see what happens!


Anyway, I'm excited to be joining in with this week's Five on Friday virtual party...because hey, everyone loves a good party. With that said, here's what I'm loving this week!

1 // Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray

We finally decided on a paint color for downstairs! We picked up ten samples and I couldn't decide which one I liked the most. After many hours of Pinterest searching, I decided I wanted to try Agreeable Gray, so Jason went out and bought the sample and it was love at first swatch. Now I have to decide what finish I'd like and what white would look best for the trim. Too many decisions, am I right?

2 // Jeopardy

Does anyone watch this show as religiously as I do? I mean, I know my parents are as equally as obsessed as I am (where do you think I get it from?), but this has got to be the best game show on television. Seriously, I don't feel any smarter watching The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars makes me depressed that I have zero rhythm. Plus who doesn't like a little friendly competition when you're shouting out "Who is Bruce Springsteen?" with your spouse on an average Tuesday night?

3 // Coconut Oil

I know I'm so late to the party with this one, but I finally started using coconut oil as a makeup remover and moisturizer recently. I've been having some weird skin issues which I will share all about in a post next week, so I've really pared down my skincare. Although I'm not crazy about the scent, the oil works really well as a moisturizer. I just need to remember to use a small amount, or my pillow ends up a greasy mess in the morning!

4 // Athleta Chatarunga Leggings

These soft workout leggings have been a staple in my closet for ages. I recently ordered a pair of cropped leggings and will probably have them hemmed at the Athleta store near me (shoutout to Kait for telling me about this awesome perk!) so that I have something to wear during indoor cycling that is a little cooler than my full-length chats. I know, I know, I just said I wasn't clothing shopping as much anymore. But in my defense, I sold all of my Lululemon leggings recently, so I'm down to two pair for the gym. And I need to workout more frequently than that, so the leggings are for my health, I promise.

5 // Prettiest Poodles

Just look at this gorgeous little face - gosh, I love her so much I could just squeeze her all day! Kinsey's best friend Karma is spending a few days with us, so I'll be basking in poodle love all weekend. What could be better?


Have a great weekend, friends! Does anyone have any great plans?

March 9, 2017

Recipe Box | Ravioli Lasagna Bake

In honor of me getting myself together enough for meal planning, I'm bringing back this recipe that was pinned countless times before I somehow managed to screw up most of my old blog posts. This ravioli lasagna bake is the perfect Friday meal for Lent season - just use cheese ravioli, add a side salad and your dinner is complete. A meal this simple leaves more time for Netflix, so what are you waiting for?

{originally published November 2012}

This week for meatless Monday I made a very, very easy ravioli bake. I've made this from two different recipes and eventually made my own little version. It's so ridiculously easy, I almost feel guilty for claiming I actually made dinner...I mean, come on. You don't even have to cook the ravioli before putting the entire pan in the oven!

Ravioli Lasagna Bake - An Easy Weeknight Dinner! | Line Up and Wait Blog

Ravioli Bake
adapted from Emily Bites and Kraft

Ingredients:
{1 package/25oz} frozen ravioli (I used the square ones)
{8oz} low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese 
{1 jar} chunky marinara sauce
{1/2 cup} water
shredded Parmesan to taste

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400*
2. Mix together sauce & water and layer 1/2 of mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 pan
3. Layer ravioli over the sauce. I ended up with 3 rows of 6 frozen raviolis
4. Top the layer with 1/2 of the shredded cheese
5. Repeat the sequence one more time - sauce, ravioli, cheese.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese on top is starting to brown and bubble up.
7. Top with shredded parmesean cheese and enjoy!


March 8, 2017

Book Club | February 2017 Reads

In 2016 I kept a list of books I’d read in the back of my planner and used a very fancy system of asterisks to note which books I really, really liked. This year, I decided it would be more fun to keep track here, complete with mini reviews. So, for those of you who may be looking for your next read, here are five of the books I’ve read so far this year:


1 // The Secret History by Donna Tartt


This book by the author of The Goldfinch takes the number one spot, just because I so thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a long one (my copy was nearly 600 pages), but so worth the read. This debut novel follows the story of a small cohort of classmates at a small college in New England before and after tragedy strikes. I’m a sucker for any books that are 1) set in New England, 2) involve a group of students at a prep school or college, and 3) are psychological thrillers. If you’re a fan of those topics, I highly suggest this book. I haven’t read the Goldfinch, but I’m adding it to my to-read list after reading The Secret History!


2 // Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough


So this book is somewhat hard to share without giving away too much. It's a very interesting psychological thriller that is told from the point of dual narrators. To keep the spoilers off the blog, I’ll just mention the book involves an affair, a sneaky friendship, a mysterious past, and some terrifying nightmares. So you want to read it, right? Yes! And just wait until you reach the end!


3 // The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines


I think this little autobiography has been read by most of my friends recently, so of course I had to pick it up. Disclaimer: I have never seen an episode of Chip and Joanna’s HGTV show, Fixer Upper, but I do follow them on social media and love looking at photos of their beautiful renos. For those who are fans of the show, I think you’ll get much more out of the book than I did. The story of how they met and started their business was cute, but I really wanted the inside scoop on how they work together on the homes and all of the craziness that goes into flipping a residence. Nevertheless, I liked learning more about Chip and Joanna and will have to sneak over to my parents’ to watch a few episodes on their cable TV!


4 // Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott


This is a cute little book from the Madame Chic series by The Daily Connoisseur blogger Jennifer Scott. It describes what Jennifer learned about Frenchwomen from her study abroad experience in Paris, but also shares little anecdotes about her life in California. The author shares everything from her advice on creating a Parisian “ten item wardrobe,” to how to handle stressful situations without flying off the handle. It’s a short read and reminded me of Emily Post, if Emily had lived in 21st Century Paris. 


5 // Lucky You by Erika Carter


I had really high hopes for this novel about three friends who for one reason or another decide to live off the grid for 12 months. The premise of the book seemed so great – a cabin in the woods, living off of the land, confronting all of the issues that got you into this situation – but the story fell flat in actuality. There wasn’t much character development, and the story skipped months ahead without filling in the blanks. It was an easy read, but I wouldn’t recommend it. 


Also, for those of you who haven't joined Book of the Month Club yet, I highly recommend it! I’ve enjoyed every book (aside from one!) that I've received from this once-monthly book shipment. It's opened my eyes to new authors and different genres that I'm excited to explore more. If you join via this link it’s $9.99/month and you get a sweet little book tote with your first book. So get on that and we can chat about more books next month!


March 7, 2017

Shopping | An Awesome Website Find!

Oh my gosh, friends, I'm dropping by today because I need to share this awesome new shopping site I just recently found! I'm sure my more seasoned shopping friends are going to say "well, duh, Courtney, we knew about this forever ago" but I'm still spreading the word! PS - This post is 100% not sponsored, I just want to share this with you! But hey, Spring, I wouldn't turn down anything you wanted to send me :)


A little background: my sister and I were perusing Ebates (sign up immediately, if you haven't already - free money just for clicking a link before you shop online) and came across a site with a whopping 24% cash back called Spring. Well, that one little click lead us both down a rabbit hole of all sorts of amazing clothing, pet goods, makeup, and shoes. I'd describe Spring as an aggregate of all of the awesome places you love to shop, all in one place. There's Clinique, Fresh, DVF, Tory Burch, Urban Outfitters, Lilly Pulitzer...I could keep going.

Spring has free shipping and free returns, which are always a plus when it comes to online shopping. I placed my first order over the weekend and got my 24% cash back with Ebates plus a 15% off new customer discount. They offer over 1,500 brands to shop and are based in NYC. And according to their About page, employees can bring their dogs to work! If I lived in the city I'd be hunting them down for a job immediately, because obviously Kinsey deserves to come to work with me, right?

You can use this link for $20 off your first purchase of $75 or more, so sign up and get shopping! All that cash back and the discounts mean you can buy more, right?

Anyway, that's all I've got - I'll share what fun items I bought sometime next week. Now get your shopping on!

March 6, 2017

Meal Plan Monday | Weekly Dinners

Is it just me, or did this past weekend just fly by? Aside from a yoga class at H2L on Saturday morning, I had no plans all weekend, which was completely okay by me. Jason and I went out to a new restaurant for dinner on Saturday, and despite the crowds we had some good food and a nice time! Sunday morning brought a not-so-fun surprise - our hot water heater had rusted through and covered our basement floor with a little lake. After cleaning the damage, it was off to Lowe's for a new hot water heater. It's scheduled for delivery early this week, hopefully sooner rather than later!

Even with that unplanned excitement, I took some time to meal plan again this week, tweaking my menu from last week because we had so many leftovers that I didn’t cook everything as planned! I’d love to eventually have myself together enough to prep meals on Sunday, but I’m not quite to that point just yet. In the meantime, here’s what’s planned for this week:

Meal Plan Monday | Weekly Dinner Plans from Line Up and Wait Blog

Monday: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas (from Carolina Charm)
Tuesday: Chicken Corn Soup (mom's recipe)
Wednesday: Out! I have a happy hour, so I’ll be eating there.
Thursday: Lasagna Wonton Cupcakes (from Emily Bites)
Friday: Tuna Casserole (my old recipe)

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas are one of my favorite weeknight meals to make because everything comes together so quickly – I cook the chicken in the crockpot all day and then just assemble the enchiladas and bake! Plus they make incredible leftovers for lunch the next day.

The Lasagna Cupcakes are a pretty easy meal, too. I’ll be making some with Italian sausage for Jason, but I’ll keep mine vegetarian so that I can take the leftovers for lunch on Friday (Lent!). I haven’t made a muffin tin recipe in a while, so I’m excited to break it out again this week.

As far as breakfast goes, I usually have cereal or yogurt and a very large cup of coffee. Wednesday is always bagel day – I treat myself after my weekly allergy shot. Lunch is typically leftovers, although I occasionally order a salad or pizza with my coworkers, which is a nice treat. 

Once I get into a rhythm of meal planning and actually following through with the plans, I’m looking forward to branching out with pre-prepping and new recipes. Everything I’m making this week is a recipe I’ve made multiple times in the past, so I won’t have to think too hard. And of course I welcome any new ideas, especially for crockpot or vegetarian meals. Share your faves in the comments, please!



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