Fall In Love with February

Welcome back to Fall In Love with February! I’ve really enjoyed this past week. Since I’m only finishing a drawing every other day, this week was a bit more relaxed and I think my drawings benefitted from it. There are only three being posted here this week, because drawing number 4 won’t be finished until later today.

If you are following along, make sure to use #FallInLoveFeb2018 if you post on Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see your creations!

This week in art

I love the month of February. I love Valentine’s day. So I was excited to get started this week. Drawing lovey-dovey couples just doesn’t get old for me. The most difficult prompt for me was the very first one. How did I want the couple to meet? Where should they be? What should they be doing? Once I’d made those decisions, the rest of the week came pretty easily. I decided to work a good bit on my tablet this month and try to get some practice in on it, so two of my three drawings this week were done on my Surface. I’m starting to get the hang of it a little better. Though, I think that has more to do with my use of Clip Studio Paint over Photoshop than any skill on my part.

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Anyway, let’s take a look at the first few drawings for February!

Fall in Love With February Day 1-2: Meeting for the 1st Time

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I thought about where I would want to be in February and the first place I thought of was a nice sunny beach. So that’s where my little couple meets for the first time. Poor guy, he looks totally smitten by that winking vixen!

Drawn on Surface Pro 4 with Clip Studio Paint.

Fall in Love With February Day 3-4: Becoming Friends

In Love

I changed her hairstyle a bit this time, but I’m trying to stay with the same couple overall. I really liked this picture. It was a bit time consuming due to the table and chairs, but I really like the whole thing.

Drawn on Surface Pro 4 with Clip Studio Paint.

Fall in Love With February Day 5-6: Holding Hands

In Love

Okay, now they are just getting super duper cute! I love this one a lot. The little blush on her face says so much and they look so adorable together. I can’t wait to draw more of this couple and see how it progresses.

Drawn on copy paper with standard pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, and Prismacolor Pencils.

Next Week?

This coming week we have a couple having their first kiss, hugging, spending time together, and then (dum dum da dum) a proposal! Be sure to let me know if you are joining in and share your drawings on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #FallInLoveFeb2018.

Also, let me know which one was your favorite in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music

Progress Report

It has been a while since I’ve done a progress post. That’s mostly due to the fact that I haven’t made much progress. Well, so I thought. January was a bit rough on the diet and exercise front, with the mister and I fluctuating up and down quite a bit. But we broke out the tape measure this past weekend. Lo and behold, we were making progress without realizing we were.

Measurements trump the scale

I see it a lot, that the scale is not always the best indicator of where you are. But we never really believe that, do we?

Progress

We want to believe that that horrible, mocking number on the device of doom somehow is our end all and be all. Which is why we put so much stock in it. A good number can make you feel on top of the world, while a bad number can send you spiraling into depression.

The Clothes Test

After several weeks of the mister not going down at all, and my own numbers barely budging (or worse, creeping upward), I knew we had to get the measuring tape out. Neither of us were dealing with clothes that were too tight. In fact, hubby just bought a shirt in a size large! And the size 24’s that I bought just a little too tight to be comfortable are now fitting as nicely as my now loose 26’s did. So what gives?!

Had Anything Changed?

We weren’t eating any differently. If anything, we’ve been more diligent on the low-carb front since the discovery of Fathead dough. But we have increased the weights we use for our daily workouts. I went from 1lb dumbells to 5lb. The mister went from 2lb to 8lb dumbells. That’s a big change. I knew we had to be dealing with some muscle increase, but there might have been more going on.

So I did Some Research…

Turns out, part of the issue could have been the muscle gain, sure. But more likely, what we’ve been dealing with is muscle inflammation. It seems that we’ve been seeing the scale go up the more we work out with the heavier weights. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop working out. It just means we need a few more weeks for our bodies to adjust.

Still, I’m pretty certain that most of the issue was actual muscle gain, due to the measurements we took after our last disappointing step on the scale.

Oh wow.

The last time we did measurements was in November. At that point, the mister was at his lowest weight of 229.1 with a body fat percentage of 19.5. This week, his weight was at 237.3 with a body fat percentage of 19.4. Yeah, you can see where this is going right? Higher weight, lower body fat? He lost a total of 4.25″ off his body measurements that we track. A full inch of that was off his belly! He now has a healthy waist measurement!

But what about my progress?

Well, despite having stalled out around 275 (274.7 to be exact) my measurements dropped dramatically. I went from 279.2 with 55.5% body fat in November to 274.7 with 53.5% body fat. So I lost 4.5 lbs, and lost 2% of my body fat. Oh…and 15.5″ off my measurements.

Progress

Of course, there is a downside to that. 3″ of that loss came off my boobs. At least I have plenty to spare in that department! But that was also 2″ from around my ribs, and 1.5″ off my waist and hips. And by the way, squats kick ass. I lost an inch and a half off each of my thighs. EACH.

Not a Bad Start

The year is still just beginning and I have a long row to hoe to hit my goals, but I’m going to get there. If I don’t hit my goal of 250 by our anniversary, I’m hoping to at least get into a size 22. That would be a size smaller than I was on our honeymoon.


Daily Dose of Music

 

 

 

Fall In Love with February

Welcome to a brand new month, and a brand new challenge! Today begins the first day of Fall In Love with February. This month is all about falling in love and couple drawing. Because it is going to be a bit more intensive, I will only be posting a drawing from every other day. There are only 14 prompts this month!

When you look at the prompts, you will notice that they follow a pattern. It is the classic story of boy meets girl (or boy or girl meets girl, as you like), they become friends, and their relationship progresses. You could draw the same couple every day, or you could draw a new one as the mood strikes you. It’s all up to you!

Make sure to use #FallInLoveFeb2018 if you post on Instagram or Twitter if you are following along. I’d love to see your creations!

This week in art

This past week has been a bit hectic (as evidenced by my lack of posting). What with work, a new tattoo, and an irresistible desire to play World of Warcraft, I haven’t had time for much else. However, I did do my drawings every day. At least I thought I did. Then when I was looking at my drawings, they didn’t quite add up! I missed the ogre. Oh well. It’s the first time I’ve missed a day at all since the holidays, so I’m not beating myself up over it too much.

Fall In Love

So before we fall in love let’s take a look back at the drawing from this week!

Manuary Day 25: Demon

Fall In Love

I really liked the expression I got on this devilish guy. He looks so devious! I wanted to make him look fairly normal, aside from the horns, and make him look like he’s asking you to keep them a secret. This is one of my favorites this week.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 26: Ogre

Fall in love

Poor Ogre got forgotten! I don’t even remember what it was I was doing on Friday that led up to me forgetting to draw this one. It was probably because we ended up going out for dinner!

Manuary Day 27: Cat Man

Fall In Love

I’m not super thrilled with this cat boy. His hands came out wonky, and so did his hair. There’s just a lot to not like about him. That said, I do like the way his tail came out!

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 28:Alien

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I know, it’s not original, but I love Roger so much! He’s so sassy and selfish and funny. I broke out my tablet for this one since I was more or less laid up after my tattoo session. I’m glad I did! I discovered that I’m not as bad as I anticipated.

Drawn on Surface Pro 4 with Clip Studio Paint

Manuary Day 29: Minotaur

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Not as good as my Roger the alien, but still not completely disappointed with this attempt on my tablet. I had fun drawing this little chibi, and I worked on some new skills. That’s the whole point of the exercise, right? Right.

Drawn on Surface Pro 4 with Clip Studio Paint.

Manuary Day 30: Mage

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This is another of my favorites from the week. This “janitor mage” was based off the character created by one of my friends. I was considering the backstory he’d created for him and decided I’d take a crack at drawing him learning a bit of clean-up magic.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 31: Tribal

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My final drawing of Manuary! I looked at my prompts last night and then told the mister, “I have no idea what I was thinking when I put down Tribal.” I still don’t know what I was thinking. But I forged ahead and decided to go with a caveman feel. The pose is actually based on a photo. I wanted to try morphing a reference from real to chibi. I was pretty pleased with the outcome!

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Next Week?

This week we have a couple meeting for the first time, becoming friends, holding hands and having their first kiss. Be sure to let me know if you are joining in and share your drawings on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #FallInLoveFeb2018.

Also, let me know which one was your favorite in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music

It’s Raining Men

It’s Week Four of Amazing Mimi’s 31 Days of Manuary! This has been an interesting week for drawing. I have a single standout favorite this week, and I think it will probably be my favorite for the whole month. It’s just so cute!

This week in art

I did a few more tutorials this week, simply because I was running into character prompts that left me at a bit of a loss. That said, I found a few that were really fun. Overall, this month I’ve found that I enjoy drawing males more than I expected to. They are not as difficult as I had built them up to be in my head.

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So let’s take a look back at the drawing from this week!

Manuary Day 11: Dwarf

Manuary

This little dwarf came out pretty cute! I was going for a bit of a stockier body, but I was more or less happy with him. The braided beard was definitely the hardest part of the whole drawing. I had to redo it a few times. I started out with his hair braided too, but it got so wonky that I ended up erasing and drawing in just long hair.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 12: Ranger

This one was another try at my elf. The one leg got turned kinda strange, but I like the way he came out. I think he was actually a little better before coloring, but that’s mostly because I’m still working on getting better with my markers.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, and Copic markers.

Manuary Day 13: Robot

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I know, I know, Alphonse Elric is not technically a robot. If you don’t know who Alphonse Elric is, go watch Full Metal Alchemist. Brotherhood. Right now. I’ll wait.

Okay, now you understand what I mean. But he IS an animated metal suit with a soul, which, depending on how you classify a robot, is pretty close. This drawing was done off a tutorial of course (I hate to say it but I am not that awesome on my own lol).

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 14: Gargoyle

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How cute is this little guy!? I had a good time drawing this one. The references I used were super cute, but I decided to go with a more prickly expression and claws on his little feet. Still cute though!

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 15: Dragon/Lizard

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Dragons are hard. Dragon people are even harder. But I kinda like it. Very chibi with the giant head and little body. Drawing the snout was the most difficult part, but it came out better than the last time I tried to draw a snout. So, success.

Drawn on copy paper with 2B pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 16: Bard

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Ahhhhhhhhhhh! This bard came out so much better than I expected. I was attempting to draw from reference but I had a bit of trouble with the instrument. It’s not awful, but I think its distortion has to do with my drawing surface. The top of our desk tilts a bit toward the back, so when I’m looking at certain drawings they look straight and even. At least until I pick them up. Oh well.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 17: Giant

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And now we come to my favorite drawing of the week. I know it’s a bit gory, but omg I laughed so hard when I drew it. This one was done with a tutorial for the giant. It can be found below:

But when I was working on the giant, the mister said I should put a chibi beside him to give some size perspective. I started out with the little mad chibi to the right. But then I started thinking…what’s she mad about? And the expression…the “oops” look in his eyes. I had to. I just had to.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, and Copic markers.

Next Week?

Next week is the final week of Manuary. I’ll have the last seven drawings next Thursday, along with the new list for Lovey Dovey Month! But first we have a demon, ogre, cat man, alien, minotaur, mage and a tribal drawing coming up. Be sure to let me know if you are joining in and share your drawings on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #Manuary2018.

Also, let me know which one was your favorite in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music

Mimi’s Monday Menu

It is Monday once again! You know what that means? It’s time for another edition of Mimi’s Monday Menu! I have a lot of deliciousness on the menu this week, but first, we need to talk results from last week.

monday menu

Last Week’s Results

We got a little off track last week, but only on Friday. Unfortunately, I decided it would be a good idea to freeze the chicken thighs since we weren’t using them until Friday. It didn’t seem like such a good idea on Friday morning when I needed to cut them up. Given that I had ten minutes to get everything together, we decided we would do Jambalaya this week instead. So we hit Chick-Fil-A for supper on Friday night.

We each still saw a pound lost on Friday night, so that was a big plus. We try to eat light on Friday night just so we don’t have anything too heavy that skews our results on Saturday morning. Chick-Fil-A wasn’t exactly the best choice for that. Hopefully, if we stick to the plan this week, we will see even better results.

monday menu

Now, I have to tell you, I was skeptical about the skillet pizza and the taco bake on our menu last week. The taco thing looked good, but pizza with no crust? I had my doubts. They were unfounded. Both of the new meals last week came from Cooking Keto with Kristie on YouTube. The skillet pizza was recommended to us by a friend who is on the keto plan, and man did he know what he was talking about. I followed the instructions, but added a spoonful of pizza sauce, and used colby-jack as the base. YUM. It was so flipping good. That’s going to be a new staple, I’m sure.

But let’s talk about the Taco Skillet Bake. You all don’t even know. It’s so good that when I sheepishly asked the mister, “Can I make it again this week?” He gave me an enthusiastic yes. I’m not sad to say that this dish has probably replaced our Old El Paso soft taco bake. I thought I would miss it not having tortillas in it…I didn’t. Not at all.

Anything new?

We are making one new recipe this week. We’re going to have some breakfast for dinner one night. And I’m going to try my hand at some low-carb pancakes. Because we are not sure how they will turn out, we’ve got back-up in the form of bacon and eggs, which everyone loves.

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What’s on the Monday Menu this week?

Monday Menu

So we’ve got some breakfast for dinner, some Tex-Mex taco skillet bake, some bar-be-que, some Cajun-inspired jambalaya, and instead of going out on Thursday, we’re adding in a fourth stay-at-home meal. What?! Four night at home? Have we lost our minds? Nah, we just saw some Italian meat rolls at Sam’s club that we really wanted to try out for a meal. We’re all over the place this week as far as the origins of our meals! At least we won’t be bored this week.

Mimi’s Monday Menu:

Monday: Taco Skillet Bake

Tuesday: Dickies (Where else?)

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner: Eggs, Bacon and Keto Pancakes

Thursday: Formaggio Artisan Wrap Variety Tray

Friday: Low-Carb Jambalaya

Saturday: Cheat Day!

Sunday: Fathead pigs in a blanket.

Planning Your Own Week?

If you’d like to put together a dinner menu for your week, I have a nice little printable here that might help you out. Not only can you plan out your meal for each weeknight, you can also make your grocery list on the same page!

Get it here: Menu of Amazing Meals


Daily Dose of Music

It’s Raining Men

It’s Week Three of Amazing Mimi’s 31 Days of Manuary! I have had a great time this week, trying new poses, new fantasy races, and I even drew my husband’s original character.

This week in art

Hands are still a major hurdle for me, but I’m not giving up on them. Every day I get a little bit better at them. I’m still striving to include them in every drawing until I finally figure out what works and what doesn’t. Right now, that’s mostly what doesn’t. A lot of times, I manage to get the shape right, but then the size is either itty bitty or way huge.

Oh well, I still had a good time with my prompts this week. The knight, in particular, was more difficult than I anticipated, but I think I did a pretty good job of following the tutorial I found for it.

Raining Men

At least it wasn’t like this tutorial.

So let’s take a look back at the drawing from this week!

Manuary Day 11: Cowboy

This one is based on my husband’s original character, Beetle Habuki, from a D&Desque game that we play.

I’ve attempted him before, but I think this is the best I’ve done yet. I had some fun playing with different kinds of markers, but I found that my Copics really are the best. I really need to get more colors, they are just super expensive. Worth it in the end though.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, Copic markers, and Crayola markers.

Manuary Day 12: Superhero

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It’s a bird…it’s a plane….it’s Captain Awesome! He looks totally stoked to be him, doesn’t he? I think the best part about this picture is the cape. The cape came out SO good. And just look at those pearly whites. He’s going to give Superman a run for his money.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, and Copic markers.

Manuary Day 13: King

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Poor young man, thrust into the position of being king. His crown doesn’t even fit. I really liked this one. There is just something about him that stands out to me. This is one of my top four for the week, along with my cowboy, elf, and orc.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 14: Zombie

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I was sick in bed most of Sunday, and that is the only excuse I have for this poor attempt at a zombie. Since I did not feel like getting up to draw at the desk, I worked on my tablet in bed. I did try out a different program and found that I like it features quite a bit more for drawing than I like Photoshop, so that’s a plus!

Drawn on Surface Pro 4 using Clip Paint Studio.

Manuary Day 15: Elf

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Here we have an elf. Not a Christmas elf, a fantasy elf. A warrior elf. A badass sword-swinging elf. This elf takes no shit and gives no fucks. Clearly, this is one of my favorites this week.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 16: Orc

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This little chibi orc is my absolute favorite for the week. I love this little guy so much! He turned out super cute. But he still looks like he will cut you open with that ax, given half a chance. Just like an orc should.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, and Prisma colored pencils.

Manuary Day 17: Knight

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The last drawing of the week proved to be the most difficult. I had no idea where to start drawing a knight. So I looked them up and I found a tutorial for this guy. The tutorial can be found over on DrawingForAll.net or by clicking here.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Next Week?

Next week, I have some more men in store. It’s raining men up in here! Tonight I’m working on a fantasy dwarf, and tomorrow I have a ranger. Over the weekend, I’ll be doing a robot and a gargoyle, then returning to high fantasy next week with a dragon/lizard, a bard, and a giant.  Be sure to let me know if you are joining in and share your drawings on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #Manuary2018.

Also, let me know which one was your favorite in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music

Recipe Review

As promised, here is my review of the Low-Carb Pizza Burgers that I made two weeks ago. The idea for this delicious low-carb recipe comes from HowToThisAndThat.com. I haven’t tried any of the other recipes from this site, but I’m glad I tried this one out. The rest of the family was glad too!

Difficulty Level: Normal Mode

While this recipe wasn’t too difficult to prepare, there were things that I had to tweak, and it took a little more prep work than something you can just throw together in a single pan. That said, it’s not so daunting that someone with a little less experience and a little extra time couldn’t figure out how to do it.

Prep Work:

When the recipe says that it needs time to chill before you roll out the dough, take it at face value. Make the fathead dough in the morning and make the burgers in the evening. I did not follow this advice, and I paid for it in time and wasted cheese.

So make the Fathead ahead of time, and the rest of the prep is a total cinch. It’s basically browning your burgers, and then putting everything together. I made my burgers in the oven since I used frozen patties from Sam’s.

Low-Carb Pizza Burger

I’m all about easy.

Getting Started on the Low-Carb Pizza Burgers

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While my burgers were getting toasty in the oven, I started on the Fathead dough. If you have never tried Fathead dough, what are you waiting for? It’s incredibly delicious and can be used for a wide variety of meals. The Fathead dough consists of mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, egg, almond flour, and the Italian seasoning and garlic powder shown in the picture. The sauce and pepperoni were used to top the burgers.

Making the dough is not difficult, and surprisingly, it takes hardly any time at all. The problem I ran into was just how sticky it was.

Uh-Oh Moment

Since I didn’t refrigerate the dough and I already had my burgers just about done, I decided to try to roll out it regardless. It didn’t work. I was severely disappointed that the dough recipe wasn’t working out, but I knew that it was through no fault of the recipe itself. It was just far too sticky to work with at all. What to do?

Make a version of the dough that I had worked with before, of course! I quickly pulled up the Fathead recipe I used when we made these:

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Low Carb “Fathead Pigs in a Blanket courtesy of https://hip2save.com/2017/07/20/low-carb-fathead-pigs-in-a-blanket/

Same ingredients, different ratios. So I made the adjustments and got some new dough made up. It took two batches of the other dough to make enough for all four burgers, but the results were oh so worth it.

Putting it together

Once I got the dough made and rolled out, it was time to put together the burgers. This part was a bit of fun since I could have added other toppings if I wanted to, but the pepperoni just seemed right to use. Each burger got a spoon of pizza sauce, three pepperoni slices and a sprinkle of mozzarella before being enveloped in the dough. Then on went three more pepperoni slices and a little more cheese. Oh yes, this is my kind of recipe.

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Just the sauce, before the rest of the toppings.

Into the Oven

I was still a little skeptical about Fathead dough when I made these. When I made the pigs in a blanket I wasn’t very hungry, so I wasn’t sure if it was the dough, or just not wanting to eat that put me off. After these came out of the oven, the smell alone was enough to make my stomach growl.

Low-Carb Pizza Burgers

Beautiful. And delicious.

The dough turned out firm enough that we could pick these up to eat them rather than use a knife and fork like I thought we would need. It was kind of like a cross between the most delicious hot pocket ever and a crazy good calzone. Either way, it was definitely a keeper of a recipe. Next time, I’ll make the dough in the morning and see how it turns out. But if you’re in more of a hurry, or don’t want to make anything ahead, the other Fathead recipe works just fine.

Rating of Low-Carb Pizza Burgers:

Three yums and a definitely will make again. Success!


Daily Dose of Music

Mimi’s Monday Menu

As much as I love our cheat-day and quiet Sunday, I always look forward to a new week and a new Monday Menu. It’s a chance to try new things and start fresh again.

Monday Menu

This past weekend, our weigh-in went surprisingly well. I say surprisingly because we had a lot of Fathead, cheese, and high-fat content meals last week. To say that we like the fathead dough would be an understatement. But I ended up losing around 2.5 lbs, and the mister lost almost 3. I’m finally under my pre-holiday weight! I also realized that I have 23 pounds to go until I hit my next goal of 250. We have about 14 weeks until we fly to Vegas for our anniversary, so I’m hoping to keep up a loss of around 2lbs a week until then.

Last Week’s Results

We mostly stayed on track last week, though it’s hard to remember since I didn’t write down my menu last week! Ugh! Anyway, we did cook 3 weeknights, so that was pretty good. We had fathead wrapped burgers with condiments instead of the pizza burgers we had last week (review on that tomorrow!), plus we did breaded chicken patties wrapped in fathead with pizza sauce. It was kind of like having parmesan chicken. Anyway, it was delicious, and that’s what counts right? It’s so much easier to eat right when eating right is not only delicious but also easy!

I keep throwing the guys at Dickie’s off since I’ve been ordering something different the past few weeks, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting any, even though it has about twice the amount of baked potato casserole in it.

Monday Men

I actually feel guilty eating “The Ted”. But it’s delicious. Since it didn’t seem to have a negative effect this week, I think I’ll get it again, but I might change it up again next week.

Anything new?

This week, we’re trying two new recipes! The Pizza Skillet is an item that a friend of ours swears by (he’s eating keto, while we’re just low-carb), so we’re going to give it a shot. Along with the pizza, we found a video from the same woman on a taco bake that looked ridiculous. So we’re going to have a go at that too.

What’s on the Monday Menu this week?

Monday Menu

Along with the new items, we’re also throwing in our favorite places and our favorite crockpot goody. Jambalaya is exceptionally easy to throw together in the morning, and it’s so nice to come home on a Friday evening and not have to do anything but serve it up.

Dickies is on the menu of course, and so is Grillin’ Wings and Things. They have “pig wings” that are just to die for. And their dessert menu is filled with things that come in little bites so we can split a dessert so we can get a few carbs in, without completely overdoing it.

Sunday, I am making a second attempt at creating low-carb noodles using mozzarella and egg yolk. I gave these a try last week, and while they had a good taste and texture, the shape didn’t hold up and they ended up more like dumplings than noodles. So I’m going to give it another shot. I’ll make some changes to my technique to see if I can get them just right.

Mimi’s Monday Menu:

Monday: Skillet Pizza

Tuesday: Dickies (Where else?)

Wednesday: Taco Bake

Thursday: Grillin’ Wings and Things

Friday: Low-Carb Jambalaya

Saturday: Cheat Day!

Sunday: “Spaghetti” & Meatballs

Planning Your Own Week?

If you’d like to put together a dinner menu for your week, I have a nice little printable here that might help you out. Not only can you plan out your meal for each weeknight, you can also make your grocery list on the same page!

Get it here: Menu of Amazing Meals


Daily Dose of Music

Friday Favorites

Whoohoo! It’s Friday! I never used to understand why people loved Friday so much. But now that I’ve been working a Monday-Friday office job for nearly a year, I really get it. Friday is the best. Which is why I reserve Fridays for talking about my favorite things!

This week, I’m going to be taking a little look back on 2017 to talk about the year in music. More specifically, my favorite songs of 2017.

I decided it is impossible for me to actually rank them because I like them all so much. So, this list of my top 17 songs of 2017 is just in numerical order, rather than the order I like the songs in.

Shape of You – Ed Sheeran

I’m not the biggest Ed Sheeran fan out there. There are even a few songs that I will change the station on if I’m listening to the radio.  In fact, there are only two songs of his that I actually go out of my way to listen to (by putting them on a playlist). Shape of You and Galway Girl are those two songs. This song is just so damn catchy. I wasn’t sold on it at first, but after a few listens, I was hooked.

Swalla – Jason Derulo (feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign)

Unlike Ed Sheeran, I am a pretty big fan of Jason Derulo. His songs are provocative and a bit racy. They are awesome for dancing, or as a workout playlist. Swalla is no different. Plus the inclusion of the Generous Queen, Nicki Minaj? Oh yeah.

Tip Toe – Jason Derulo (feat. French Montana)

I know, I know, another Jason Derulo? Hell yeah! Listen to this song and tell me it doesn’t make you want to dance. The mister sent me this song one day in either October or November and I’ve probably listened to it once a day or so since. Love it.

Thunder – Imagine Dragons

I only discovered Imagine Dragons with their song Sucker for Pain on the Suicide Squad album. I mean, I’d heard their songs before that, but that was the first one that made me actually learn their name. Now I can add a few more songs to the list of Imagine Dragon songs that speak to me. Thunder resonates with me. I guess it’s because as a teen my biggest dream was to be a musician. I was actually well on my way too. But life happens. It’s nice to live vicariously every now and then through a band that gets that incredible feeling.

Believer – Imagine Dragons

My favorite 1 of ’17 would not be complete without this one from Imagine Dragons. Believer crushes it. It is raw and real in a way few songs manage these days. I can put this on repeat while I’m drawing and just lose myself in it.

Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay

When I first heard this song in its entirety, I almost cried. Like many, music touches me emotionally. Songs that I love hit me on a level that makes me feel. This song…it’s the way I see the relationship between me and the mister. I know that a lot of times he doesn’t feel like anything special. He’s not a superhero. But he is to me. All my life, all I wanted was something just like what we have. Something just like this.

Chained to the Rhythm – Katy Perry

I love Katy Perry. Serious girl crush going on over here. But her newest album, Witness? Meh. I just can’t get into it. I mean, the songs aren’t exactly bad, but they just didn’t resonate with me the way some of her songs have in the past. All except for Chained to the Rhythm. The irony of putting a song on repeat that talks about putting a song on repeat….

How Long – Charlie Puth

Charlie Puth is another one of those artists that have very, very few songs that I truly like. At least he’s outranked Ed Sheehan with three songs that have made my playlists. I mean, who does not love Marvin Gaye with him and Meghan Trainor? Don’t answer that, because I don’t want to know. Attention is another good one, but my favorite from him this year is How Long. The idea behind the song is just awful, but it has a great beat, and watching him dance in the video is awesome. He looks far too happy to be in so much trouble.

No Frauds – Nicki Minaj (feat. Drake & Lil Wayne)

YAS QUEEN! I can’t believe there was a time (a long time ago, granted) that I didn’t like Nicki Minaj. Then again, I’d never actually listened to her music. I just brushed her off as another rap artist, and since “I don’t like rap”, I didn’t like her. Okay, so I’ve grown out of the whole “I don’t like rap” thing. I don’t like all rap, but then, I don’t like all pop. I don’t like all country. I don’t like all jazz. But there are certain artists in every genre that just slay every time they are in front of a mic. I’m sure you’ve noticed she’s been featured in a few of the other songs on this list, and she probably lends a good bit to why I like those songs so much. No Frauds though…fucking savage. Love it.

Friday

…Are You Ready For It? – Taylor Swift

So we go from that baddest of bitches, Nicki Minah, to Tay-tay. I’m not even going to say that her music is a guilty pleasure. No guilt here. I’ve loved Taylor Swift since she was exclusively on country stations. Her new album? Unlike Katy Perry’s, Taylor’s new album Reputation is killer. It feels like she’s finally grown up and feeling her power and that really comes across in a lot of the new songs on that album. …Are You Ready For It has an awesome beat and seriously kicks ass.

Side to Side – Ariana Grande (feat. Nicki Minaj)

Damn this song is hot. Who doesn’t want a lover that makes you walk like that? Hahaha. This is definitely a not safe for work type of song. And not because of the picture Ariana Grande paints with her lyrics. When you find yourself wondering if Nicki seriously just said something about a dick bicycle? Yes. Yes, she did.

New Rules – Dua Lipa

We’ve all had that boyfriend that kept reeling us back in even when we swore it was over, right? I know I have. This song speaks to that feeling. There is nothing that hits harder in this song than the lyrics “and if you’re under him, you ain’t getting over him.” DAMN RIGHT.

Bad Liar – Selena Gomez

This is a new favorite. Just like New Rules hits that old feeling of when you’re trying to leave, this one reminds me of those initial feelings you get in a new relationship. Selena Gomez has an amazing voice, and this particular song showcases it beautifully.

Havana – Camila Cabello (feat. Young Thug)

Okay, aside from this song being incredible, you have to watch the video. It is hilarious! I loved the song, but when I saw the video, I laughed so hard. It’s difficult to listen to it in the car though. While the mister likes the song too, he always chimes in with “Banana-na-na-na.”

Feels – Calvin Harris (feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, & Big Sean)

This is such a summer song. The first time I heard it was in December. Something about it reminds me of cruising down the highway with the AC cranked, just going on a road trip with my mister. This is the kind of song that makes me dance in the driver’s seat while the mister and I sing to each other.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things – Taylor Swift

Savage AF. I loved just about every song on the Reputation album ( I actually bought the whole album on iTunes!) but this one is probably my favorite one out of all of them. We all know who she’s talking about.

Happy People – Little Big Town

I dare you to listen to this song and not agree. It’s incredibly simple, but so true. This song was my theme song of 2017. I wanted to be happier in 2017 and so I made my own happiness.

2017 was a great year for music. There were a ton of great songs, and not all of my favorites made this list. I only had room for 17 after all! I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for music.

 

It’s Raining Men

It’s Week Two of Amazing Mimi’s 31 Days of Manuary! I have been utterly surprised by my success in drawing this past week. I feel like I’ve got a whole new outlook on my drawing style and what my capabilities are.

This week in art

Everything I drew this past week has been oriented on the male form, obviously. For me, this was a major step out of my comfort zone. Every time I start looking for a pose reference, I think: “oh that would be so cute as a girl..” But once I get down to the actual drawing, I find that I am far better at this drawing thing than I think I am.

I did my best to include hands in every drawing. I’m still not great with them. I’m learning a few tricks as I go, but most of the time, there is a major disconnect between what I want to draw and what actually gets on the paper.

Manuary

The struggle is real, yo.

Still, I have a lot to be proud of this week, and I did some really fun, cute drawings.

So let’s take a look back at the drawing from this week!

Manuary Day 4: Loner

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I really liked this guy. He’s like…so edgy.

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One other thing I was working on this week (besides hands) is putting more movement into the clothing I draw. I attempted to put in some wrinkles and drapes in all of the clothing. This was really my first serious try at including it on a drawing. I feel like I got a little better at it through the week.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 5: Nerd

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“Ugh, look at that edgy guy over there. Thinks he’s so cool…” The mister said this guy was an edgy nerd. I don’t know. I was pretty stoked about the hand on this one! A little more clothing work on this one too, but not as much as I was able to include on drawings later in the week.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 6: Rogue

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Dashing little rogue, ready to stab someone around the corner? Yep, that’s this guy. Sneaky, sneaky. No clothing work on him, but I was still pretty pleased with how he came out. But ugh..the hands! Bleh.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 7: Pirate

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This guy is seriously my favorite for the week. He’s so flippin’ cute! Such a dastardly pirate. He looks ready to use that cutlass to steal your booty. Haha, I keep going back to this one as definitely being one of my best.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker, and Prismacolor pencils.

Manuary Day 8: Villain

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This was another of my favs from this week. Nyah! Going to tie to you to the railroad tracks. Nyahahah! Sorry, but he’s so mischievous looking! Rubbing his chin, an evil mustache, slanty eyebrows, dapper suit, this guy has it all!

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 9: Vampire

Manuary

While not my favorite drawing of the week, this one gave me a lot more confidence in drawing clothing drapes. I actually didn’t have a reference drawing for the pose, but a picture of a figurine. The cape translated pretty well, but the hand not so much. When I first drew him, the mister gave me some constructive criticism. “He looks like one of those guys from Beetleguise with a shrunken head.” Yeah, I definitely had to fix that. The bigger head gave me a little more room to work with and his expression came out better than it was initially, but I’m still not super happy with the hair. All in all, successful for what I set out to draw.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 10: Werewolf

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Between this one, the pirate, and the villain, I am pretty happy with my week in art. This guy was fun to draw, and I really think I made some progress in the clothing department. I can still see areas where I would make changes if I were to go back with a pencil, but overall, the clothing is great. I’m actually pretty happy with the hands too (except that wonky thumb…). The only thing that I’m not thrilled with is the shape of the muzzle, but that was completely alien for me to draw. Otherwise, pretty stoked with the results of this one.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 4H pencil, and Sharpie super fine marker.

Next Week?

Next week, I have some more men in store. It’s raining men up in here! Tonight I’m working on a cowboy, and tomorrow I have a superhero. The weekend and next week mark a return to fantasy with a king, zombie, elf, orc and knight.  Be sure to let me know if you are joining in and share your drawings on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #Manuary2018.

Also, let me know which one was your favorite in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music

Friday Favorites

Tonight, the mister and I are going to do something fun. We’re heading up to Denver for  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in concert with the Colorado Symphony!

Harry Potter

#PuffPride #Hufflepuff4life

Can you tell that I’m just a little bit excited? We’ve had tickets for this for months. We got great seats too! So in honor of going to watch one of my favorite movies with a live symphony, I’ve decided to devote this week’s Friday Favorites to my favorite Harry Potter characters.

Harry Potter

5. Fleur Delacour

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Fleur Delacour via Pottermore

“What do I care how ‘e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I have to admit, for a long time I had a severe dislike for Fleur. I thought she was vain and snobbish. The mister and I were talking about side characters one day and we got into a conversation about Fleur. He insisted that there was more to her than I was giving credit to, and after going back to reread the books, I realized that he was right.

If you’ve never read the books, you might not understand that Fleur wasn’t the only girl among the Triwizard Champions because she came from an all-girl school. Beaubatons and Durmstrang were both co-ed schools. So, just as Cedric was chosen over all of the boys and girls at Hogwarts, so Fleur and Viktor were chosen.

In the later books, she showed just how worthy she was of being chosen, through her skill and bravery. When Bill was disfigured, she proved her devotion and loyalty and when I read through that part, Molly wasn’t the only one who was moved! After taking a closer look at Fleur, she became one of my favorite characters.

4. Minerva McGonagall

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Minerva McGonagall via Pottermore

“… Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, ‘It unscrews the other way.’”  ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Let’s talk about the badass that is Professor Minerva McGonagall. In Order of the Phoenix, she not only stood up to Umbridge and made things difficult for her, she also took four stunning spells to the chest. And survived! This one is prickly, strict, kind, smart, strong, and well, she’s pretty damn amazing.

3. Neville Longbottom

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Neville Longbottom via Pottermore

“Well, my gran brought me up and she’s a witch… but the family thought I was all Muggle for ages.”  – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

“I’ll join you when Hell freezes over,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army!” he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort’s Silencing Charms seemed unable to hold.” ― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I loved Neville Longbottom from the moment he first lost his toad until he proved to be a total BAMF in Deathly Hallows. The fact that he could have been the chosen one, and that his story arcs in similar ways to Harry’s is an important part of the books that a lot of people overlook. This poor, shy boy whose parents suffered horribly at the hands of Voldemort’s followers is easily one of the most engaging and relatable characters for me.

2. Fred and George Weasley

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Fred and George Weasley via Pottermore

“You haven’t got a letter on yours,” George observed. “I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid-we know we’re called Gred and Forge.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Who doesn’t love Gred and Forge? I mean Fred and George. This two wise-cracking, joke playing twins are such a wonderful addition to the series. They are irreverent and even in the darkest moments of the series they were able to infuse tense situations with levity. As a device for humor, J.K. was at her best when she developed Fred and George.

1. Ron Weasley

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Ron Weasley via Pottermore

“Rubbish,” said Hermione. “You’ve read his books — look at all those amazing things he’s done —”  “He says he’s done,” Ron muttered. —J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Ron Weasley is the unsung hero of the entire series. From day one on the train until the very last page, he is Harry’s greatest support. He is a partner in crime, and while some might say he is just a sidekick, that’s the whole point to him! Everyone has worth, whether they are “the chosen one”, the “smartest witch of her age”, or the sixth son in a family of seven children. For me, Ron is the most well-rounded character in the series. He isn’t the smartest, he isn’t the bravest, he isn’t the most loyal, he isn’t the best Quidditch player, he isn’t the funniest guy in school (though he is pretty funny). But of all the characters in the series, he is the most real.

His struggles with feeling overlooked, unheard, unimportant…these are things that real people struggle with on a daily basis. That he is able to face them and come to terms with them makes him a real hero for me.

Here are just a few other things about Ron that put it into better words than I can!

Why Weasley is Our King

The chapter that made us fall in love with… Ron Weasley

What about Harry Potter?

Well, there wouldn’t be a series without a Harry Potter, right? But despite the series being about Harry in general, Harry isn’t really my favorite character. Don’t get me wrong, I love Harry. Especially when he’s being sassy Harry:

Harry Potter

But for me, the series is not just about Harry Potter. It’s an entire world, with a wide, diverse range of characters to relate to aside from the hero of the story.

Harry Potter

Who is your favorite Harry Potter character? Let me know in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music

Manuary

It’s Raining Men!

Welcome to January all of you amazing artists out there! It’s a brand new year, a brand new month, and a brand new challenge! Let’s jump in with both feet to “Manuary”. That’s right, this month is all about drawing men.  If you’d like to join in, you can download, print out or reference my drawing prompt list here: ManuaryDrawingChallenge. Of course, if you want to join in but you don’t like my prompts, feel free to follow your own!

Why Manuary?

In November, I took the entire month to draw females in monster form. Before that, I drew females a lot. Probably 90% of what I’ve drawn pertains to women. That is in large part because I’m not confident in drawing men. When thinking of a challenge for the first month of 2018, I decided to push outside of my comfort zone and devote an entire month to drawing the male form. I’ve got good men, bad men, fantasy men, monster men, and regular men on the list. I plan to spend January getting better at drawing the forms and shapes the differentiate men.

February is Coming…

Manuary

I already have my February challenge started. February will be a month of couples! Given that every drawing will have two people in it, the month of February will only have 14 prompts, allowing two days for completion of each drawing.

But What about Drawcember?

I know, I left you all hanging in December when my computer decided to die. But that doesn’t mean I stopped drawing! There were a few days where I ended up having to combine drawings. For instance, December 16th and 17th, I combined lights and reindeer, then over the last week, I combined the 29th-31st into one big New Year’s drawing.

Instead of posting each drawing individually, I decided to put them into a collage like the one I made for Inktober. I received an amazing set of Copic markers from the mister for my birthday, so a lot of my later drawings are colored with my new Copics. Yay!

Here is the compilation of Drawcember artwork:

Drawcember

New Artwork:

I’m three days into the new Manuary challenge, so without further ado, here are the drawings I’ve done since the new month began.

Manuary Day 1: Wizard

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I really liked this one. I was going for kind of an Avatar vibe, and apparently, I hit it just right. My brother commented that he just needed a blue arrow on his head. Made me feel pretty good that I hit on the right look.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil,  and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 2: Warrior

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This little guy was a lot of fun to draw. Finding a good stance for a warrior in chibi form is not easy! While I’m mostly working on just drawing men, I’m also trying to improve my hand drawing. I’m trying to draw them in different positions. It’s still difficult, but I think I’m starting to improve.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil,  and Sharpie super fine marker.

Manuary Day 3: Boxer

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I can’t tell you how happy I am with this one. He looks so fierce and cute at the same time! This one was a bit easier with the hands because I could draw big mitts on him lol.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with 6H pencil,  Sharpie super fine marker, and Copic Ciao markers.

Next Week?

Tonight I’m sketching out a loner, and tomorrow will be a nerd. Over the weekend I’ll be having some fun with some more fantasy types with a rogue and pirate. Next week I have some bad guys coming up with a villain, vampire, and werewolf! So stay tuned, and be sure to use #Manuary2018 if you’re joining in on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Also, let me know which one was your favorite in the comments!


Daily Dose of Music