Monster Art Progress

It’s the final week of my Monster Art Challenge!  This week, everything I drew, I did without a tutorial. I’m super excited that I managed to get through the week on my own imagination and a few references.

What next?

Today is the last day of November, which means the Monster Art Challenge is coming to a close. Knowing that I was going to run out of drawing prompts, I decided to come up with my own list for December. So here it is! Amazing Mimi’s 31 Days of Drawcember. These prompts can either be used as the main focus of a drawing or can be included in the background or as a prop.

But before I can get started on the Drawcember challenge, here is my last week of the November drawings!

 

Monster Art Challenge Day 23: Yokai

Monster Art Challenge

I really didn’t know what to do when I saw Yokai on my list. I mean, I know that a yokai is a type of Japanese demon. But I couldn’t figure out if all Oni are Yokai or if all Yokai are Oni, and I didn’t want to draw an Oni and it not be a Yokai…yeah confusing, I know. So I ended up going with a character from Yo Kai Watch named Insomi. She was super cute! As I said above, I didn’t use any tutorials, but I did draw her using references of her character.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 24: Octomaid

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My octomaid was pretty fun to draw. I think she turned out pretty cute too! I’m still having some issues with drawing hands and hair, but it’s getting better with practice.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 25: Banshee

Monster Art Challenge

When I first drew this one, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it. Thinking about  just scrapping it, I decided to try giving it color and seeing how I liked it then. I felt a lot different about it once it was colored. I think it turned out being one of my favorites of the week, though its in a bit of a different style than the rest of the chibi style drawings.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 26: Robot

Monster Art Challenge

My robogirl turned out to be my favorite drawing of the week. I really enjoyed working on the segments and coloring. Plus, I think she’s adorable!

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 27: Mummy

Monster Art Challenge

This is another one that I really enjoyed, and I think its because of the detail that I was able to put into the wrappings. Unfortunately, due to that detail, I ended up not having the time to color this one. But I don’t think that it’s really a drawback.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 28: Zombie

Monster Art Challenge

Drawing this zombie girl gave the chance to work on drawing wounds. I’ve decided I’m not very good at it. But I wasn’t entirely disappointed with this one. I think her vacant eyes and tattered dress came out very nicely.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 29: Plant Girl

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I had a difficult time drawing my plant girl, though it wasn’t because of the subject matter. Due to a spill I took at work on Wednesday, this one was drawn under the influence of painkillers. That said, I love the vine work I completed on her. It is my favorite part of this drawing by far.

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

 

Next Week?

Next week, I will be finishing off the last day of the Monster Girl Challenge with a nymph and starting off the Drawcember challenge with Gingerbread men, a yule log, candles, candy canes, bells, and an ugly sweater. Please let me know if you are joining in and share your drawings on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #Drawcember.

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


Daily Dose of Music

Recipe Review

Last week, we tried out a new recipe! If you’ve read my blog before, you’re probably getting the picture that the mister and I are creatures of habit. When we find something we like, we tend to stick with it. Recipes are no different. Well, I have to say that we’ve found a winner in this delicious Crockpot Beef Roast from Life as the Coats.

Difficulty Level: Easy Mode

This recipe was incredibly simple. It takes five ingredients, and only one that has to be measured. I know, cooking a beef roast isn’t exactly rocket science. But I can’t tell you how many of my roasts have come out dry or flavorless. Well, I probably could tell you, but I’m not going to. It’s a lot. Say goodbye to flavorless hunks of meat that have to be drowned in gravy.

Beef Roast Prep:

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Yeah, that’s all of the ingredients right there. The actual meat, brown gravy packet, ranch seasoning mix, and a zesty Italian dressing mix with a half-cup of water. It took me more time to arrange the ingredients for pictures than it did to put this recipe together. If you are in a hurry to get out the door in the morning and you want a meal on the table in minutes when you get home, then this is the recipe you want. Two minutes of prep. Tops.

Put the beef roast in the crockpot.

Crockpot Beef Roast Review

Sprinkle on the ranch, Italian, and gravy.

Pour the water in around the beef roast.

Crockpot Beef Roast Review
Turn it on low.

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Now leave it alone for about 8-9 hours.

That’s It? Really?

Yes, really. I was skeptical too! I thought, no way, this is going to taste weird, look awful, be covered with a weird powdery paste, etc. None of these horrors came to pass. It was seriously the best roast I’ve ever made.

I love coming home to a house that smells like something delicious is waiting to get in my belly. This was one of those meals that had my stomach growling when I walked in the door.

Crockpot Beef Roast Review

You can’t tell me that doesn’t look delicious. Well, you could. But I wouldn’t believe you.

Let me get a little sidetracked.

So I’ve been promising a review of mashed cauliflower for a while now. We had it once, and it’s a testament to Green Giant’s abilities that I bought it a second time to go along with this roast.

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Now, If you didn’t know, I have a loathe-hate-meh relationship with cauliflower. It’s one of those veggies that if I never ate it again, I wouldn’t be crying. And I get SO angry at recipes that say they will make cauliflower taste like potatoes, rice, bread, heaven…you get the idea.

I wasn’t keen on trying mashed cauliflower that has the audacity to pretend to be like potatoes. How dare it! Well, it wasn’t awful. In fact, it was surprisingly good. Did it taste like potatoes? Uh…no. But from someone who doesn’t like cauliflower, this is a palatable way to eat it.

Crockpot Beef Roast Review

Looks gross though.

Presentation is key.

At least it is for me. I like things to be pretty as well as delicious. The mister doesn’t really care, but I like meals that look appetizing. The easiest way to make goopy cauliflower look appetizing?

Crockpot Beef Roast Review

Put meat and gravy on it, of course!

Crockpot Beef Roast Review

That’s a little hunk of heaven right there.

Oh yeah. That’s the stuff. Mixed with seasoned and cooked to fall-apart tender perfection, the cauliflower was actually complimentary.

Did everyone enjoy?

You bet they did. This recipe received three enthusiastic Yums. This is one of those meals that is going to become a staple of our menu. And yeah, the mashed cauliflower will be making a return as well. While it doesn’t replace mashed potatoes, the more I eat it, the more I’m starting to not hate it. Progress!


Daily Dose of Music

Mimi’s Monday Menu

I survived Thanksgiving! Last week was a great week, all-in-all, and we had a very nice holiday. We also managed to mostly stick to our menu! I didn’t have a progress post over the weekend, because we skip weigh-ins on the weekend after a holiday that involves food, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Last Week’s Results

We ate way too much over the past few days, but not to the point that we felt like we’d massively overdone it. I probably ate more chocolate last week than I have in a year. That’s mostly due to the number of Hershey’s kisses we had left over from the Starlighting on the 18th. That was the only thing we had left, so I count that event as a success. Otherwise, we stuck pretty close to our menu the whole week. The only exception to this came on Friday night. We just couldn’t do leftovers. And we had a coupon for a free appetizer, so we went to Chili’s. Still, I only ate half of my chicken quesadilla, so I’m not going to sweat it.

Anything new?

Who is ready for recipe reviews? They are coming! I have one planned for tomorrow regarding the slow-cooker beef roast and mashed cauliflower we had last week. And we are trying out a new recipe this week as well, so keep an eye out for a recipe review on that one too.

We have our new challenge on our exercise menu this week, and I think I’ll be posting that up on Wednesday. As well as a new drawing challenge for the month of December that will be coming on Thursday after I finish up the last of my November monster girls.

What’s on the menu this week?

Since Sunday was a cheat day for us, we decided to move our chili dog night to tonight, so we are undecided at the moment what we will be doing next Sunday. It will likely involve going out somewhere. I am looking forward to going to Dickies on Tuesday. I really missed it last week! But we certainly did enjoy the turkey and trimmings we got from them for Thanksgiving.

On Wednesday, I’m trying out a new beef and cauliflower meal. I hate to admit it, but the more we try these cauliflower recipes, the more I am starting to appreciate cauliflower. I’m not saying that I love it, and I probably never will, but I no longer find it quite as off-putting as I did initially.

We’re finally going to use up some of the gift cards we have sitting in the glovebox on Thursday, and then on Friday, I thought we could do something that we know and love. I look forward to soft taco bake nights. It’s simple to make, and SO delicious. I add an extra 1/2 lb of beef and a sprinkling of cheese between the layers for a little extra fat and protein. Topped with salsa and sour cream? Yeah, I’m starting to make myself hungry. Ahem.

 

Without further ado, here is the menu for this week.

Mimi’s Monday Menu:

Monday: Nathan’s Hot Dogs with Chili and Cheese

Tuesday: Dickies (we have to tell them how awesome their Thanksgiving dinner was)

Wednesday: Bacon Cheeseburger Cauliflower Casserole

Thursday: Wendy’s

Friday: Soft Taco Bake

Saturday: Cheat Day!

Sunday: Undecided

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

It’s Black Friday, which for most people means they are out storming the stores. Luckily, I have most of my Christmas shopping already completed. So that means I get to stay home, relax, go get my nails done around noon, and then come home and play games for the rest of the day. Maybe we’ll even pop in one of my all-time favorite movies!

Since I talked about books last week I decided to make a return to movies this week. But instead of discussing series, I thought I would take a look at stand-alone movies. A few might be part of series or franchise, but you could watch any one of them and not be confused by their plot on its own.

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Special Mentions: Little Shop of Horrors and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

These two movies are both fantastic, but they do not make my list of favorites. Instead, they are the mister’s all-time favorite movies. He couldn’t decide between them. I love that my husband enjoys musicals as much as I do!

A great many songs on our playlists come from movies that we both enjoy. And yes, we have songs from both of these soundtracks. Favorite songs from these include Time Warp and Dentist!

5. Moana

Favorite Movies

This movie also made my list of movies we saw in 2016. It is a fantastically made tale of a Polynesian princess who must return the stolen heart of a goddess in order to save her people. I’ve noticed that there is a shift lately. A lot of movies coming out are relying more on their story than a forced love story. This is SO encouraging. So many of the love stories out there feel contrived. Not having a romance in this movie made it that much more enjoyable. Other movies that have done this lately are Thor: Ragnarok and Sing. If you really think about it, it is very difficult to find a movie out there that doesn’t have some kind of romance angle.

Moana doesn’t just make me happy with its lack of a romance. Its visuals are stunning, and the music. Oh, the music! Some of the best songs from a Disney movie I’ve ever heard.

4. The Princess Bride

Favorite Movies

Who doesn’t love The Princess Bride? Seriously, tell me, because I’ve never met anyone who didn’t. We recently went to see this movie in the theater for its 30th Anniversary. Damn does that make me feel old. I remember when it came out in theaters the first time!

It was so neat to watch it on the big screen with a bunch of other people who could recite it line for line. You know we were all chanting along to “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya..”

True love, sword fights, giants, betrayal, miracles, and RoUS’s. What more could you want in a movie?

3.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Favorite Movies

Another movie from the 2016 list. What can I say? 2016 was a great year for movies! You all know by now that I have an obsession with the Harry Potter universe. So it goes without saying that I would want to see Fantastic Beasts. What I didn’t expect was to have it become one of my favorite movies ever. I know that it will eventually be a part of a series, but for the moment, it remains a stand-alone movie, so I don’t mind including it here.

The scenes in the suitcase where you get to see all the animals are just amazing, and  Jacob is such a sweet, and tragic figure. I always cry my eyes out during the umbrella scene!

2. Wonder Woman

Favorite Movies

OMG. Wonder Woman. This movie took my breath away! It very nearly displaced my all-time favorite movie. The only thing keeping my number one in its spot is nostalgia, I think. Because this movie just crushed it. And to see Robin Wright (from Princess Bride above) again was really cool. I loved that they put in an easter egg regarding Chief. Look it up! This movie renewed my love of comic book movies and made me excited for Justice League. I really hope she gets a sequel.

1. The Fifth Element

Favorite Movies

I can’t believe this movie turned 20 this year. I watch it a lot, and it has held up really well over the years. A space epic set in a future where we finally have flying cars, but also immense amounts of pollution and incredibly tall buildings, the story follows a retired military man who is pulled back into service to save the world by rescuing a set of stones. The cast is phenomenal, and it is both action-packed and hilarious.

This is one of Bruce Willis’ finest films. As for the writer and director, Luc Besson, this was definitely his best work in my opinion. I had such high hopes for Valerian after finding out he was the writer and director, only to be severely disappointed (I actually fell asleep at one point during that movie. In the theater.) Still, The Fifth Element stands head and shoulders above any other movie for me, excepting the other four on this list.

What are your all-time favorite movies? Comment below!


Daily Dose of Music

Monster Art Progress

It’s week three of my Monster Art Challenge!  This week I discovered just how far I have come in my drawing.

Practice Makes Perfect?

These past several weeks of drawing every day, getting out of my comfort zone and drawing things that I never would have has had an amazing effect. I’ve gotten better! Only two pieces this week were done with a tutorial. The rest are drawn from a variety of references for poses and my own imagination. I’m very proud of my work this week!

I know that I still have a long way to go, and not everything I draw is going to speak to me or be exactly what I want it to. And that’s okay! In art, as in fitness, it is progress, not perfection that is important.

 

Monster Art Challenge Day 16: Ghost

Monster Art Challenge

I love Fun2 Draw’s tutorials so much. This little ghost is just adorable, and she was so easy to draw. The tutorial for her is on Youtube here: Ghost Tutorial

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 17: Goblin

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This little goblin girl is the reason I started drawing with just reference this week. I love her so much! I searched for tutorials on drawing WoW style goblins for nearly an hour before just saying screw it. Finally, I found a pose I liked and put pencil to paper. I’m still working on shading and such, but getting better!

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 18: Alien

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Okay, Alien was on the list, and I knew immediately what I wanted to draw, I just needed to figure out how to do it. I found a pose that would work, and then I found some references for Leia’s slave outfit, and some references for Twi’leks. Then I put them all together for this lovely. Super pleased with how it turned out.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 19: Cyclops

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If you’re wondering why I didn’t draw Leela for my alien day, then you haven’t watched enough Futurama! She was the first thing I thought of when I saw cyclops on the list, but I didn’t want to screw up the drawing style, so I went searching for a tutorial. The internet did not disappoint. So if you would like to try drawing her yourself, here is the tutorial on DrawingHowToDraw.com

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 20: Faun

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There are so many different interpretations of fauns. I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to draw. Eventually, I settled on this dear little deer. “But she doesn’t have any hair.” That was the mister’s first response. But she has a cute little flower crown! Oh well. I wasn’t entirely pleased with this one, but I don’t think I did too badly for not having a tutorial, and winging the pose without references.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 21: Canine Girl

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I’m having a hard time deciding which one is my favorite this week. This one and my Twi’lek are both contenders. I found a reference for the pose, but the rest is all me, including putting in the stairs for her to sit on. The mister said she looks more like a bear than a dog (not criticising, just commenting on his impressions), and I said, that’s okay. Bears are caniforms, dog-like mammals. Close enough. But I really like this one.

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

Monster Art Challenge Day 22: Feline Girl

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This feline girl didn’t work out quite as well as my canine girl did, but I’m still pretty happy with her. I attempted a Siamese cat type coloring and think I fell a little flat on the face. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with her overall shape and look.

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

Next Week?

Next week, I have a yokai, octomaid, banshee, robot, mummy, plant girl, zombie, and nymph to draw. Stay tuned for more progress or join in by downloading my 30-Day Monster Girl Challenge and giving it a try.

A new challenge for December will be available next week in my art post, so keep an eye out.

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


Daily Dose of Music

Birthday

Birthday Parties for Pets

I was planning on doing a recipe review today, but since the recipe I want to review is on the menu for tomorrow, that’s going to have to wait. So instead, I’m going to talk about something else fun. Celebrating the birthday of a pet! A few weeks ago, I introduced you all to our little boys, and one of them just got a year older.

Happy Birthday Doodle

Our baby, Snickerdoodle (Doodle), recently had a birthday. We don’t know his actual birthday, or exactly how old he is because we got him from a co-worker of mine. So we celebrate when we brought him home as his birth/adoption day.

 

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Here’s the Birthday Boy!

We know he was at least a year old when we got him, so we are assuming he’s about 4 years old now. Before this year, we celebrated Cinnamon and Doodle on the same day, because we actually got them both on the same day, two years apart!

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Doodle, Cinnamon, and Truffles enjoying a birthday treat last November.

How? Why?

We celebrate our piggies because they are such a big part of our lives, and we like to commemorate the day that they each became a part of our family. Of course, they don’t understand it, but it is important for us. When their birthday comes around, we always have a little party for our piggies complete with a veggie and fruit “cake”. We sing Happy Birthday, and we get all the boys together to share the veggies and take lots of pictures.

Birthday Cake for Guinea Pigs?

Okay, so it’s not an actual cake, it’s more like a many-layered veggie and fruit parfait. We cut the top off of a bell pepper, and stuff it with different types of lettuce, parsley, cilantro, spinach, and carrots, topped with slices of banana or radish, and either a strawberry, raspberry, or cherry tomato. It looks adorable, and the piggies LOVE them. They go crazy when they see one of their “cakes”.

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What about birthday presents?

We don’t usually do presents on birthdays. That’s not to say our boys never get presents. We have very spoiled piggies, and they get presents all the time. We do get them presents for Christmas, generally things that are larger or more expensive than the treats we normally get them. For instance, last year, we got our boys a giant Mickey Mouse hide for when they are out of the piggy palace.

Christmas 2016

A perfect place to hide out together.

Are we bizarre?

I know we aren’t the only ones out there that throw parties for their animals! It might be more common for people to have birthday parties for dogs, but I don’t think we’re (too) weird for having piggy parties. I think there is a common misconception that guinea pigs are just dumb rodents. Aside from the fact that most rodents are intelligent, we’ve learned that each of our pigs has a distinct personality. They are capable of love, affection, and bonding. They form strong relationships with each other, and with their humans. These are just a few of the reasons that we celebrate our piggies.

Birthday

Om nom nom

Do you celebrate the birthday of your pet? Tell me how you celebrate down in the comments below!


Daily Dose of Music

 

Monday Menu

Mimi’s Monday Menu

Another Monday has arrived, and I’m already missing the weekend. But that’s alright, this is a short week with a holiday in the middle, so it shouldn’t be too stressful, right?  Well, unless you’re the one cooking/hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Luckily, I have that whole thing on lock. Are you ready to talk menus?

Monday Menu

Last Week’s Results

I really love our sandwich weeks. It makes everything so easy when I have a bunch of Ultimate Keto Buns ready to go and I can just come home and throw everything on a plate. Especially when we have a busy week like last week! I felt like I was running around all week long. We were planning for the annual Castle Rock Starlighting because our company had a sponsor booth. Do to the event on Saturday, we opted to turn that day into a mini cheat day and knocked the hotdogs off our menu in favor of take-out from Firehouse Subs. Otherwise, we remained right on track, and I saw a lovely 2.2lb loss as a result.

Anything new?

So the Fit In 10 challenge I mentioned last week…yeah, that’s not happening. Neither of us enjoyed the workouts. It wasn’t because they were too difficult, we just find it annoying to be constantly be moving from a standing position to a floor position, and then back again. We prefer all of our floor work to be done at the same time. So, we changed up our exercise routine, and I’ll be posting a new Amazing Mimi Challenge in a day or two, just in time to start after Thanksgiving!

What’s for dinner this week?

Monday Menu

That’s right, Thanksgiving is on the menu! We are picking up our pie on Tuesday and then we’re picking up the rest of the meal on Wednesday evening. Because I’ve decided that I would rather enjoy my holidays instead of being stuck inside the kitchen cooking way too much food that will probably get thrown out in a week, only to have a mountain of dishes to do afterward. Nope. Not doing it.

Last year we decided to start ordering our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, and I will never do it another way again. This year, we are getting our banana cream pie from Village Inn. Our turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls, and baked potato casserole is coming from Dickies. But that’s just one meal, so we have another six days to plan for.

I even included a new recipe this week for a delicious looking beef roast. I’ll be doing a review on it later this week, along with the mashed cauliflower we’ll be serving with it.

And you’ll see the reason we don’t weigh on holiday weeks. We have Thanksgiving on Thursday, and leftovers on Friday. And then we’re having a cheat weekend. There is a reason for this. Saturday, not only do I have a waxing appt, in the morning but in the afternoon, the mister and I are going in for tattoos.

Given that we are going to be out most of the day, we’re not going to sweat what we eat. Now, it’s not going to be an all-out eat whatever we want kind of day, and neither is Friday, but we’re not going to sweat it if we have one or two things that normally wouldn’t make it on our menu. Sunday, we’re doing our normal go to the movies and hit the mall type day. Again, not great for strictly low carb eating, so we give ourselves some leeway. Next week, we hit it hard on the exercise front.

Without further ado, here is the menu for this week.

Mimi’s Monday Menu:

Monday: Nathan’s Hot Dogs with Chili and Cheese

Tuesday: Burger King (what no Dickies? Nah, that’s Thanksgiving!)

Wednesday: Crockpot Beef Roast with Mashed Cauliflower

Thursday: Thanksgiving!

Friday: Thanksgiving Left-overs

Saturday: Cheat Day!

Sunday: Cheat Day!


Daily Dose of Music

Weigh-in

Weekend Weigh-In

This week was a bit of a rollercoaster for me! We had a major event coming up at work that I was preparing for, and we were derailed from our plan to exercise with Daily Burn. But for the most part, I only have good things to report. Especially when it comes to my weigh-in.

The Good

Some weeks I am at a loss for where to begin with the good in my week, but I have no such trouble today! I had a major non-scale victory this week in the form of a ring I thought I had lost. Now, I wasn’t too terribly upset about its loss. It’s just a pretty little thing that I got from FragrantJewels.com. But I really liked this ring, because it had a pink center stone and was set in silver. Very me.

It reappeared this week while we were at GameStop this week. The mister threw on one of the hoodies we keep in the car because he left his jacket at home. It hadn’t been worn since last winter. While we were waiting in line, he was rummaging through the pockets and found….tada, my ring. And a pair of Dobby earrings. See my Harry Potter obsession here. No money, unfortunately, but I was so stoked that he’d found my ring and earrings!

It Gets Better!

The last time I wore this ring, I could have squeezed it onto a ring finger, but I probably would have ended up having to have it cut off. So I settled for it fitting a tiny bit loose on a pinkie.

Weigh-in

That’s right, that’s my pretty pink ring, sitting on my right ring finger. Despite my sausage fingers making it look like it is a bit snug, I assure you, it’s as loose as it can get without falling off when I let me hand hang down.

While this may seem like it was enough to totally make my week, there is even better news to be had.

On Tuesday, the mister went in to get his A1C tested along with a protein test. Everything came back….NORMAL. That’s right. In May, his A1C was in the 10s, and now he is in the normal range. We are both out of the prediabetic range!

Revelations

There really is nothing bad to report this week, though the mister might beg to differ. He did gain a little this week, but I’m pretty sure we’ve pinpointed why.  However, he also had a non-scale victory that he’s only going to find out about if he reads my blog (which I know he does).

When we have a drive-thru night, I come pick him up at home after I get off work and we head out to eat. Tuesday evening, I come around the corner and I’m pulling up to the bank of mailboxes and there’s this guy standing there getting his mail with his back to me. He’s wearing a snug-fitting t-shirt and a cap. I’m thinking, “Oh my, did someone new move into the complex?”

Weigh-in

Then he turned around and IT WAS MY HUSBAND. I was ogling my man! It was one of those holy-shit look at how hot my man is moments. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought my husband is sexy. I’ve always thought he was handsome. But I didn’t realize how much weight he had lost until I couldn’t recognize him from behind. So..you go, mister, you amazing sexy beast.

Measurements

Date: 11/18/17

Weight: 277.0 | -2.2

Body Fat %: 54.9 | -0.3

BMI: 47.5 | -0.4

 


Daily Dose of Music (NSFW)

Friday Favorites

Woohoo! It’s Friday! Last week I talked movies, but who is ready to celebrate the arrival of the weekend with a good book? That’s right, I’m going to be talking about books today. My list of favorites this week is not just about my favorite books, it’s about my favorite fiction book series.

Book Series

What do I mean by book series?

To clarify, I consider a series to be three or more books written by the same author and following the story of the same set of characters. There are a lot of great series out there, and some truly fantastic authors. Some of the books on my list might be familiar, as they are wildly popular. Others are not as well known and might give you the chance to read something interesting and new.

Special Mention: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book Series

Available here: http://amzn.to/2zN5t6R

I can’t talk about my favorite fiction series without including these wonderful books. They are incredibly rich in storytelling and world building. They barely miss getting onto my list of top five series. The reason for this is that they tend to be a bit dry in reading. That’s not to say they are not enjoyable! They are the epitome of high fantasy, and they will always have a place on my bookshelf.

Books in this series: The Hobbit (standalone), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. There are a few other works by J.R.R. Tolkien that pertain to the series as well, but they are companions of the world, rather than strictly part of the tale told in the series.

5. The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell

Book Series

These books follow the tale of Uthred, son of Uthred. He is a Saxon kidnapped and raised by the Danes and these books follow his life, his loves, and his battles as he tries to regain the land stolen from him by his uncle. In the telling of Uthred’s story, Bernard Cornwell also tells the story of Alfred the Great, who succeeded in uniting a previously fractured England. Classed as historical fiction, these books immerse you in a world from long ago, when pagans were clawing to retain their hold in an increasingly Christian world. Cornwell paints vivid pictures of the battles he describes and leaves his readers eager for the next story every time a book is completed.

Books in this series: The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, The Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, The Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm, and The Flame Bearer

4. The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

Book Series

The Sookie Stackhouse Series are the books that True Blood was (loosely) based off. Well, the first season or two stayed pretty close, but the show quickly veered off the books. Not that the show wasn’t great. I did love it! But I had to treat the books as separate because they just became so different.

These books are supernatural and detective stories. They aren’t difficult reading, but they are a lot of fun. They follow the life and adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic barmaid in Lousiana, and her entanglements with vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, fairies, and witches. What’s not to love?

Books in this series: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and Gone, Dead in the Family, Dead Reckoning, Deadlocked, and Dead Ever After. There is also an alphabetically ordered farewell to all of the characters in After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, and a guide to the universe with The Sookie Stackhouse Companion.

3.  The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

wheel-of-time-covers

I put off reading the Wheel of Time for a long time. This was mostly because I could never find all of them at any library. And I certainly wasn’t going to buy them, if I couldn’t tell if I would like them! Enter Audible.com. Instead of reading these books, I have listened to them and am still listening to them. They are just incredible. The story is difficult to describe, it is very intricate. The stories mostly follow a young farm boy and two other boys from his village, as well as several strong and stubborn women as they attempt to save the world. That was another reason I was hesitant to get into these books because no one I asked could really tell me a concrete idea of what they were about. “You just have to read them.” Well, now I understand why.

Books in this series: New Spring (Prequel), The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter’s Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light.

2. The Dragoncrown War Cycle by Michael A. Stackpole

Book Series

I still remember when my brother lent me these books. I just recently got my own copies of each of them to put on my bookshelf, though I’ve read them all several times. This series is beautifully written high fantasy that invests you in all of the characters in the very first book. Like most fantasy, there is an evil villain bent on ruling the world, but this nasty character uses the reanimated dead in whole new ways to work her plans. I also really enjoyed the different take on elves that Michael Stackpole introduces with these books.

Books in this series: The Dark Glory War, Fortress Draconis, When Dragons Rage, and The Grand Crusade.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Book Series

Oh, Harry Potter. You had to know this would be on the list. I am such a Potterhead. Always wishing that the Wizarding World was a real thing. I like to think if it was, then I would have been a witch.  Though most everyone knows the premise, in case you don’t, I’ll summarize.

This series follows young Harry Potter as he is thrust into a world of magic where he attends a school for witches and wizards, makes friends, and saves the world from He Who Must Not Be Named. I don’t care if these books are supposed to be for kids. Hate on me if you like, but I’ll never stop loving these books. Ever.

Books in this series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

What is your favorite book series? Comment below!


Daily Dose of Music

Monster Art Progress

It’s week two of my Monster Art Challenge! This week has been an interesting one, art wise. I’ve been doing more without following a tutorial. I still followed one for the majority, but it’s nice to see that I can branch out and be happy with my results.

The Art of Sketching

Monster Art

Also in art news, I finished my first sketchbook! I started it last year in September. I didn’t draw in it every single day, and I had a few other drawing pads that I was working in at the same time. Still, this is the first quality, bound sketchbook that I’ve drawn on every page.

It was exciting to know that I was reaching the end and purchasing a new one. Strangely, it made me feel like I’m a real artist!

It’s also made me realize that there really are a lot of different types of paper out there. There is a huge difference in the 65lb paper in my old sketchbook and the 75lb paper in the new one. The new paper is a lot smoother, which makes it easier to draw on. However, it also makes it more prone to smearing. This isn’t an issue when I’m working in pencil since I normally erase it after I ink. But it is an issue when I use certain types of ink.

I have several Pentel pens that I use for inking. Their fine tips give me nice thin lines and are easy to control. But the first time I tried to use them on the new paper I had major issues when I attempted to erase my pencil lines. Smear, smear, smear. I needed a pen that would absorb better, so now I’m using Sharpie ultra-fine tips and that seems to have done the trick.

I’ve also done a good bit more coloring this week, and I’m really starting to understand why people recommend Prismacolor pencils. Crayola just can’t compare. They are like a cross between pencils and soft crayons. The color is beautiful.

So without further ado, here is my week in art!

Monster Art Challenge Day 9: Demon

Monster Art Challenge

This adorable little devil was done on 65lb drawing paper with pencil, Pentel ink, and Prismacolor pencils. For this one, I followed this tutorial by Fun2Draw

Monster Art Challenge Day 10: Succubus

Monster Art Challenge

I’m not completely thrilled with this one. It came out…okay. It was after doing this one that I realized I need quite a bit of work on hands. She has itty bitty hands! I followed this tutorial on Dragoart.com for this one. I think my main issue with this one was that it came immediately after drawing a demon girl, and they are so similar.

This was drawn on 65lb drawing paper with pencil and Pentel ink.

Monster Art Challenge Day 11: Reptile Girl

Monster Art Challenge

I started out with a tutorial for a dragon girl on this one. It was the closest that I could find to what I was looking for. However, I did tweak the drawing to exclude the horns, and I changed the face significantly to give it a more reptilian look.

This drawing was created on 65lb drawing paper with pencil, Pentel ink, and Prismacolor pencils.

Monster Art Challenge Day 12: Fairy

Monster Art Challenge

I really love Fun2Draw on YouTube. Clearly! Three of my drawing this week come from her tutorials, including this one for a Fairy Princess. She is easy to follow, and the drawings are so cute! This is one of my favorites for this week.

This is the final drawing in my first sketchbook! Drawn on 65lb drawing paper with pencil, Pentel ink, and Prismacolor pencils.

Monster Art Challenge Day 13: Insect Girl

My insect girl has two pictures because I wanted to show just how much color can change a picture. Personally, I like the pre-colored version better on this one, but the mister prefers the colored version. Regardless, I’m pretty happy with this little lady bug, especially since she was done without a tutorial!

This is the first drawing in my new sketchbook! It was exciting to draw on that very first page and date it. I can’t wait to see what kind of progress I make from here to the last page.  Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with pencil, Pentel ink, and Prismacolor pencils.

Monster Art Challenge Day 14: Dullahan

Monster Art Challenge

This is another that I did without a tutorial. Straight from my head to the paper! I really liked this one, so I was very disappointed when the ink smeared so badly. Due to the smearing, I decided not to color it. I was afraid it would get even worse. Still, I like her quite a bit.

Drawn on 75lb drawing paper with pencil and Pentel ink.

Monster Art Challenge Day 15: Dragon

Monster Art Challenge

This is by far my favorite drawing from this week. It is just SO cute. This baby dragon is another tutorial from Fun2Draw. I didn’t feel like going with an anthro-style dragon, so instead, I made this adorable little baby super girly with pink skin and purple horns.

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

Next Week?

Next week, I have a ghost, goblin, alien, cyclops, faun, canine girl, and feline girl to draw. Stay tuned for more progress or join in by downloading my 30-Day Monster Girl Challenge and giving it a try.

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


Daily Dose of Music

Mimi’s Holiday Survival Guide

Winter is coming. No, this isn’t a post about Game of Thrones. But winter is definitely on the way, and with it comes the holidays. I don’t know about you, but the holidays are Enemy #1 for my waistline. Last year was the first time I didn’t gain any weight over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I’m going to share with you just how I managed that with a little survival guide.

UGH Not Another One

I know, I know. Like you need another holiday survival guide telling you to not eat bread and stay away from parties that might have pie. I promise you, that’s not what this is about. There is no eat this and not that in my survival guide! This is Amazing Mimi, not Jillian Michaels. This is just what worked for me and the mister. The only promise I make is that your holiday will be just a little less stressful over your scale.

Holiday Survival Guide

Repeat After Me:

“I am not a turkey. I will not stuff myself like one.” Start saying that now, and don’t stop until New Year’s Day. Say it to yourself every time you are presented with food. You are not a turkey. Don’t stuff yourself like one. Have a slice of pie. Have a cookie. Eat a piece of fudge. Just don’t have all three at once!

When you sit down to a Thanksgiving feast or Christmas dinner, repeat it. “I am not a turkey. I will not stuff myself like one.” Take a little of everything you like. Enjoy every single bite of all of the things you love. Yes, even the mashed potatoes and the stuffing. But if you have to loosen your belt or unbutton your pants…yeah, you’ve done stuffed yourself like a turkey.

Holiday Survival

Dessert, It’s what’s for dinner

Dessert plates, that is. Do you know how much food you can fit onto a normal size dinner plate? A lot. Do you know how much food you can fit on a dessert plate? A lot less. If you are in danger of stuffing yourself at a family gathering or office party, swap out your dinner plate for a dessert plate. If you limit yourself to filling that plate only twice, you are more likely to eat less of everything, or more of just the things you really love. Trust me, if you fill it twice, you will eat plenty.

Let’s say you aren’t really fond of cranberry sauce, but every year you always take a little to be polite. Well, if you don’t have room on your little plate, I guess you can’t take any. Sorry, Aunt Kathy.

Holiday Survival

No Nap for You!

It’s a Thanksgiving tradition. You eat until you want to burst and then you go into a food coma. Don’t do it! And stop blaming that poor turkey for you wanting to go hibernate until Christmas Eve. Turkey actually has less tryptophan than chicken.

The real culprit for sending you into log sawing mode is overeating, and all the carbs and sugar you ingest. A good way to stave off nap time is to get up and go for a walk, turn on some music and dance while you do the dishes, or go push your kids on the swing. Get your muscles moving, and burn off some of that food to help you get through the after-meal slump.

Holiday Survival

Treat it like a cheat

Treating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve like cheat days has two wonderful benefits. For one, you are less likely to feel guilty about your indulgences, which lowers the amount of stress you feel surrounding your diet. Two, you are far more likely to get right back on track the next day, just like you would after any other cheat day.

One of the big problems we face on our cheat days is leftovers. When we can’t finish a meal, we have to decline taking leftovers from restaurants. If we bring it home, we will eat it, and probably not when we should.

The same applies to holiday leftovers. If you are eating elsewhere, don’t take home any doggy bags. You’re not a dog. But what if the holidays are at your house this year? Ply your guests with all your carbs and sugars to take with them. If they don’t want them: Toss Them.

Oh my god, did I just tell you to throw out food?! Yes. Yes, I did. This was seriously one of the hardest things I ever had to get used to doing when we changed our diet. We are told to eat everything on our plate, to not let anything go to waste. There are starving children in Africa. If you think your leftover green bean casserole will stay good on the trip to Africa, by all means, send it. If not, then let it go.

Keep the foods that are nourishing and safe for your daily diet. Turkey, heck yeah! Stuffing? Probably not.

Scale back your weigh-ins

Let’s face it, you are likely to gain a pound or two over the holidays. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep them! One thing that the mister and I do to stay sane, is to put our scale away for a week. We weigh on Saturday morning. If we eat a little too much on Thanksgiving, and then step on the scale on Saturday, how would we feel?

Probably discouraged. But, if we treat Thanksgiving like a cheat day, leave the scale alone on Saturday, and then come back and weigh the next week on our regular schedule, the chances of us having lost all the water weight, and burned off all the Thanksgiving goodies is MUCH higher.

My suggestion is to stay off the scale until you’ve had at least a week of regular eating and exercise to help stabilize your weight.

Pretty painless, right?

That’s it. That’s all there is to Mimi’s Holiday Survival Guide. Just remember, if you gain a pound or two or even ten, it’s not the end of the world. We are amazing creatures and we have the ability to change our habits and lose any weight that we put on. The best way to survive is by living.


Daily Dose of Music

 

 

 

Mimi’s Monday Menu

Do Mondays get you down? For me, it’s one of the busiest days of the week, so it tends to fly by. Not like Wednesday. That long ass bastard day can suck it. Monday just happens to be the most tired day of the week for me. After a weekend of running around, getting up early and going to bed like, Monday morning has me like:

Monday

But I have a trick that keeps me from dragging all morning long. I set my alarm for 6:30 but I don’t roll out of bed until 7. Do I go back to sleep? Nope, I spend that half hour stretching, scrolling Facebook, checking email and allowing myself to wake up before I hop up to get my day started. Makes a world of difference in my morning attitude when I don’t have to immediately jump out of bed and get going.

Last Week’s Results

Anyway, I know you’re here today for your Monday menu ideas, and I’m here lazing about talking about lazing about. Last week was a total success! The best part was being able to make an adjustment when I needed to. The mister and I spent every evening last week decluttering a portion of our room, and Wednesday morning we were in a rush to get the trash down to the dumpster, get my niece to school, and then head to my dentist appointment. As I was leaving, hubby asks, “Weren’t we going to do jambalaya tonight?” Oh hell.

I completely forgot we were doing jambalaya on Wednesday, so I didn’t budget enough time in the morning to cut up the meat and get everything in the crockpot. So we switched our Wednesday meal with our Friday meal since the mister just had to toss the meatballs and sauce in the slow cooker in the afternoon. But we could have just as easily swapped our eat-out night on Thursday. Having that plan in place meant we already had the ingredients for Friday, and we could swap a day without any stress. That’s a big win for meal planning!

Anything new?

Last week I took some time to scope out some new recipes on Pinterest. I found all sorts of goodies that I want to try out in the coming weeks. Are any on this week’s menu? Nope. Sorry! I promise I will have them on our menu in the coming weeks.

The mister was really in the mood for another Ultimate Keto Bun week like we did two weeks ago. How could I deny him? So I made three batches of those delicious eggy buns last night, and we have a full week full of sandwich based dinners. This is a huge time saver for me, considering we still have a closet and several basement shelves to clear this week.

We ARE doing a new challenge starting this week. We have Fit In 10 on our fitness menu for the remainder of November, through Daily Burn. The program lasts for 8 weeks, but we will be doing it for at least four and we’ll evaluate our progress with it after that.

What’s for dinner this week?

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Burgers and tuna and chicken, oh my! Yes, we’re having a lot of sandwich nights this week. Because sandwiches are delicious and should be eaten regularly. We are also going to be switching our cheat day this week. I am participating in a local, annual event called the Star Lighting on Saturday, so we’ll be having cheat day on Sunday.

Mimi’s Monday Menu:

Monday: Cheeseburgers on Ultimate Keto Buns

Tuesday: Dickies. We have to go order our turkey for Thanksgiving!

Wednesday: Tuna and Egg Salad on Ultimate Keto Buns

Thursday: Chick-Fil-A

Friday: Breaded Chicken Patties on Ultimate Keto Buns

Saturday: Nathan’s Hot Dogs with Chili and Cheese

Sunday: Cheat Day!


Daily Dose of Music