Friday, May 17, 2013

Hi Everyone!

I am trying the new Bed Head products, and they are so awesome! The hair care line I received was made specifically for curly hair, which did serious wonders. I got it free from Bzz Agent, which actually mails you a good amount of samples to try and blog about. Seriously, no spamming and advertising aside, it is a great program! I am quite excited to continue using Bzz Agent for samples!

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day number 2: calorie counting madness!

Well, my first day documenting my calorie intake while working did not go as seamlessly as I had planned!

Word to the wise: when you work around food, BYOB - Bring Your Own Breakfast. Not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, but it is also the most most most important when you work around bacon and eggs and swedish pancakes and potato bake and well... need I say more? Skipping breakfast is never a great idea, but is even worse when you simply forget to bring the meal you had packed while simultaneously being tempted by the most delicious breakfast food in Rockford. Boo. I guess I can blame it on my 7:45am trip to my parents house with Benny ;) So today I did manage to stay within my 1200 calories, but definitely did not work with the general layout I had planned. Today you get my regular meal plan plus what I actually ate today... :)

Ideal meal plan: what I would have eaten if I had not forgotten my breakfast and morning snack, and gone out to eat at Outback later in the day

Breakfast: 265 calories

1/2 cup dry oatmeal [150 calories]
1 cup skim milk [85 calories]
2 teaspoons honey [30 calories]

Adding fruit will be extra calories, but a serving of blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries won't be more than 40-80 calories. Go ahead, right?

Just heat it up in the microwave OR what I like to do, is combine all the ingredients the night before and leave it in the fridge. I just heat it up at work or in the morning when I get it up. Easy!

Morning snack: 80-110 calories
A various fruit like a banana, a handful of grapes, or an apple will only be about [80-110] calories.

Lunch: approx 400 calories
Lets do Subway! Best 6 inch options:
Turkey breast
Veggie Delite
Chicken variety sandwiches
*one of the 9 grain breads would give the most nutrients

Although we all know lunch meat type meat is not the most healthy of meats to choose from, in all reality, we are on the go without food more often than we realize. Subway provides a great reasonable calorie lunch with little guilt.

Afternoon snack: 150 calories

3 Tablespoons of original flavored hummus [100 calories]
1 cup mixed peppers [50 calories]

My absolute favorite guilt free snack. I seriously eat almost as much as I want of this one. You'll find that 3 tablespoons of hummus is alot too :)

Dinner: 360 calories

1 cup mixed green spinach salad [25 calories]
2 tsp low cal dressing (ranch, french, italian) [30 calories]
4 oz grilled chicken [130 calories]
1/2 cup fried zucchini [75 calories]1 small sweet potato [100 calories]

That puts you in at 1,285 calories! Not bad :) Sorry, no sweet snack at the end of today!

SO this is what I actually ate, the abridged and unorganized version. First off, I should say my work day is full of snacks, so I'm going to try and keep a tab on that too.

Breakfast: 250 calories

 [250 calories] My snacks added up to about 250 ish calories in the morning. I won't go into all the calories because it's about 5 different things :)

Lunch: 255 calories

Salad [25 calories]
1 tablespoon Bleu cheese dressing [80 calories]
2 low cal banana muffins [150 calories]

 Outback! Served by the wonderful Paula :)
1/2 tablespoon bleu cheese dressing (yes again, I know, haha. Do as I say, not as I do, right?) [40 calories]
1/2 loaf outback bread [140 calories]
1 Tablespoon butter [100 calories]
4 oz chicken [110 calories]
1/2 order sweet potato fries [220 calories]
BBQ sauce [30 calories]

This is my actual, terribly spaced, 1,145 calories.

Now- goodnight!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day number 1: A week of low calorie ideas!

After not posting for a few weeks, you get a nice long post packed with lots of informative goodies! :)

I have been asked alot of times what EXACTLY I eat to stay under 1200 calories in a day. I'm sure my last post about my diet was helpful, and although I wasn't planning on bothering you with another large overwhelming post about my diet, I'm getting some people who are interested to know :)

A 1200 a day calorie counting diet, while not the right caloric amount for everyone, is NOT easy that's for sure, and requires some serious planning. Starting today, I'm going to try and document what I eat eeeeevery day for a whole week! Not only will this help keep me from straying, but it will hopefully help someone out there who needs a little guidance on where to start!

The best place to start is today :)

For breakfast: 260 calories

1/2 cup milk [60 calories]
     I drink my morning coffee with milk, I estimate about 1/2 cup for my approx 2 cups of coffee
2 cooked egg whites [50 calories]
     (add veggies for extra nutrition and not many extra calories, I didn't today because of time constraints)
2 low calorie banana muffins [150 calories]
      I made low calorie banana muffins with my unused bananas the other day! Not only are they delicious but they are only 75 calories each! Really?? You can't beat that! And banana muffins are so so easy to make. Why not make a bunch and freeze the extras so they don't get weird while sitting on the counter!
find the link here!

Mid morning snack: 120 or 180 calories

1 kiwi fruit - [80 calories]
1/2 cup blueberries [40 calories]
1 cup spinach - [7 calories]
1/2 cup unsweetened greek yogurt  [60 calories]

Directions: blend together for a nice size smoothie. Don't worry, you won't taste the spinach! The natural flavors of the fruit will overpower the spinach. The greek yogurt isn't necessary for a good taste, it just adds a little protein and creaminess.

Lunch: 350 calories

2 cups of home made chicken rice vegetable soup [350 calories]

I just tossed all my ingredients in a crockpot!
Here is the recipe!

Afternoon snack: 90 or 160 calories

1/2 cup of fat free cottage cheese [90 calories]
1 tablespoon chopped pecans [70 calories]

Dinner:  300 calories

4 oz salmon, pan seared or grilled using a low fat low cal sauce like teriyaki or carribean jerk [130 calories]
Small baked potato [150 calories]
Veggies like mushrooms, green peppers, onions [approx 20 calories]

After dinner snack: 60 or 130 calories

1/2 cup unsweetened greek yogurt [60 calories]
1 tablespoon chocolate chips [70 calories]

The count ends up being 1,380 calories for the entire day! 3 meals and 3 snacks with the options of altering and tweaking for less calories than that? Awesome! For me, I end up under the 1200 because for the snacks I chose were the lower calorie versions :)

Remember, 80% of your success will be what you eat! Look for the coming posts in the next few days! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Giveaway preview!!

Alright, everyone! I am extra excited to a collaboration giveaway with a fellow etsy seller!!

Bashful Owl, Designs by Shannon and I are doing a giveaway together! Visit her shop, she sells quite amazing, reasonably priced, unique and fashionable pieces!

Giveaway starts February 18-22nd!

Let's take a look at what I'll be contributing for this giveaway  

Here are the rules:

-You must like the Hallie Johanna facebook page and like Bashful Owl's as well to qualify for the giveaway. Then share and comment on the post about the giveaway to get an entry.

-On Wednesday you will have the opportunity to get extra entries into the giveaway by going to our shops and comment on the post saying which item you like most from each shop!

-In the end, there will be TWO winners! Unfortunately, due to rising post costs, this giveaway is only for our fans living in the U.S.

I hope everyone is as excited by this as I am! :) :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

For the Rockfordians!

Today, I got to the gym and felt like a noodle, so I listened to my tired body and sat in the sauna. Don't judge. I'm a big fan of listening to your body (after all, you're the only one who can). Now, if only I had some cake around to really complete the "do as I say, not as I do" mantra :)

I am really excited about a deal I got on formula today! I saved over so much by buying some that was purchased but not being used because a mom's baby only liked to nurse. I'm always a little jealous when someone says that, buuut it's something that I've accepted as a part of life. Hopefully the next baby (maybe one more...maybe) will want to be a nursing baby! Anyhow, I'm not going to complain about this deal!! A big thank you, to an awesome Facebook group called Save and Rave and the sellers/buyers who have made the site such an awesome resource for the Rockford area.

Oh - and I did some overhauling of my etsy site, I'm trying to do some light housekeeping! So there is a brand new sale section, along with some other new sections to keep things better organized. If you're looking for a great deal, go take a peek! If you are in the Rockford area, and don't want to pay shipping, just contact me on etsy, on facebook, here on blogspot, anywhere! No need to pay for shipping when you're close by :) Anyway, check it out!

Have a great night and drive safely!
(p.s. once the roads are clear, please do not feel the need to drive 30 on a street labeled 45. Just a tip for the Rockfordians, avoid the intersections of Alpine/E State and Alpine/Spring Creek for the rest of your lives! Also watch out for the potholes which double as black holes/vortexes!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hawaiian dreams and cabin fever!

Missing Hawaii tonight. Longing for a beach and a lawn chair, or at least an escape from the cold! I was pregnant in the heat of July, too! Even then, I wasn't complaining that much! I did complain a little, but when you're 9 months pregnant and outside is over 100... You have a little justification. Regardless, I know that I'd still much rather have it hot than cold. I don't have to start the car... :)

Soooo while I have been hibernating I made these (among other fabulous items)!

Find these - here - at my etsy shop!

 *Don't forget the special coupon code for my blogspot readers, 20% off at checkout using BLOGSPOTME
Flirty pink maze magnetic board, with a perfectly distressed thick antique frame. Truly my favorite new item.
Orange houndstooth infinity scarf. I can't stop making the infinity scarves! This fabric is so comfortable and fashionable.

Making these, a couple of my favorite items from the approximately 14 new products I have added, has almost detracted me from the fact that Benny has been sick for about 4 weeks. I feel so bad for him! My amazing mother came over to help me on Monday so that I could clean, do laundry,  and knock out about 8 errands in 4ish hours, instead of 4 errands in 8ish hours! What an awesome Granny. Make sure to wish her a happy birthday this Saturday!

Another bit of exciting news- a blogger from the London College of Fashion found me and one of my most requested items - the Tiffany Blue Chevron Metallic Magnetic Board - found right here

 We are in the process of working out the details, but she may be doing a product review on her blog! Great news for me!

Go check out her blog too, she has really reviewed some cool items! I'm hoping everything works out, and that I'll be posting a link to my product review in February!
Her blog -

I am also still in the process of trying to figure out where my items are getting pinned on Pinterest?

If you see this pink polka dot board on Pinterest somewhere, let me know!

The Semper Fidelis animal rescue silent auction is coming up in just a few short days! Very excited to be participating! I just remade the item I donated, check it out! 

You are all so awesome! Have a great night, and dream about Hawaiian beaches!
 Aloha `oe, aloha `oe 
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
A ho`i a`e au

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home made detergent? Win.

Quick post!
I can't stop praising this home made laundry detergent I made today! I've done a few loads with it now, and, to my surprise, it smells a little like paradise (thanks to the Fels Naptha). I didn't calculate out how much I am saving or anything like that, but the run down that the author of the site below gives on the cost difference is this: Tide- $.23 a load, Homemade- $.07.

On top of that, I learned that powdered detergent is better on a washing machine anyway! I don't think you can lose making this. It only took me around a half hour! And for those without a sick infant, it may even take you less than 10... :)

So I think I spent about $5 on what I made this time. I mean really? So awesome. Want to make it? Go here!

*I personally added regular baking soda, per another site that suggests blending the shaved Fels soap and baking soda in your food processor if you have one. It just helps it from getting clumpy when mixed with the other ingredients.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weight Loss Journey

Alright - ready or not, here it comes. So many people have asked me questions about how I've lost weight. The answer is never short, and it never will be. Every experience comes with a story. So here's mine: the blog post about how I lost over 30 pounds in a year and two months, while being pregnant for 9 of the months. Warning: I'm going to be very candid and share with everyone how much I weighed then, during, and now. Also, I'm going to mention quite a few times how being pregnant really motivated me to get in better shape. Finding motivation is key. For me, another motivator besides pregnancy was my prom dress. I was determined to fit back into it. Guess what? I do now! Goals truly can be met with hard work!

Right now I am currently at my year long goal weight of 135! Yay! What a great feeling to reevaluate my goal weight to a lower number. Fourteen-ish months ago, I was weighing in around 168 and 169. How discouraged I was to think this was heaviest I had ever been in my entire life, prior to what I weighed when I gave birth. Now, I have to preface this by saying this was BEFORE I was pregnant! Just so no one mistakenly thinks the reason I dropped weight was because I had a baby. You are destined to lose a little weight when you give birth (for me, it was 7 lbs, 15 oz) ;). Anyway, I was weighing in at 168. Just terrible for my height and frame. When I found out I was expecting on December 10, 2011, I realized one thing - I had to be healthy not just for me, but for my baby too. So it began.

I started to watch what I ate. That came a little easier with morning sickness, since I was watching what I was eating in a different way... Ugh :( I paid attention to what kind of things I was feeding my body. For me, I love veggies. So I incorporated more veggies into my diet. I made some ginger butternut squash soup that I basically lived off of for a week or so. (recipe here: - for me I eliminated the onion, and garlic and replaced with brown sugar since I liked it sweet). Watching what I ate was very important right then while feeling nauseous. I found that healthier foods settled better with me. So not by choice at first, I eliminated fried foods. Eventually I felt well enough to enjoy them once in a while, but after being so used to not eating them, I just really didn't crave them so much anymore.

I eliminated coffee and soda from my diet for the first 5 or so months. Now for those of you that know me, I was a coffee and diet coke addict. I mean that seriously. The morning sickness helped with that a little, but I think this was the hardest part. Eventually I let myself drink decaf coffee and soda at work once in a while. To lose weight: ELIMINATE SODA. There is no way around it. There is nothing good about drinking what is almost pure sugar or carcinogens and aspartame. Your body doesn't need it or like it. I know, I know, I still drink it once in a while. But this is one quick way to cut calories. How about replacing it with sparkling water? Or even just soda water with lime. Two great ideas that gave me the carbonation I wanted without the extra calories and junk.

I belonged to the YMCA before, but being pregnant gave me the motivation to really work out more. Just doing some light elliptical gave me an edge. Trust me, especially while pregnant, I never went too hard on the machine. Now on the other hand, for about 6 or so months of my pregnancy, I was doing Zumba. I know this is not necessarily typical of someone who is pregnant. But it was sooo much fun! Me and a couple friends went one or two times a week for an hour. Finding a good friend to go with you to classes like these will help immensely. Steve has always been one to like working out, couldn't convince him to Zumba though, I wonder why... :) He's been very concentrated on fitness for a few years now, and he is a wonderful motivator!

Counting calories was something that I didn't begin until about a month after having Ben. However, this is crucial! People who have lost weight the right way will most often tell you that it's about what you eat more than exercising. Evaluating your caloric needs to maintain your current weight is important too. Go to website like this one ( ) to kind of get an idea of how many calories to consume per day based on your goal weight, goal date, etc. For me, to lose two pounds a week, I need to consume only 1200 calories a day. To maintain the weight I'm at, it would be 2200 calories a day.

Calculate your macronutrients. I know, this seems like it's just for body builders, right? Wrong! Yeah its great if you only get 1500 calories in a day, but if you somehow get 25g of saturated fat, it didn't do you very much good! Saturated fat = bad. Moving on :) This site will help you get started ( ) To give you an idea, my macronutrient needs come out to be 127g carbs (I know, forget low carb diets!), 95g protein, and 42g fat with less than 4 being of the saturated variety. Now these goals are very tough to meet everyday using my limited 1200 calories, I must admit. I don't meet them nearly every day. However, trying is what's important and will eventually lead to results.

Utilize your smart phone! I count calories using the MyFitnessPal app, available on android and iPhone. I'm able to quickly look up calories at restaurants and I'm even able to create my own recipes! So handy. And very shocking/surprising when I come across some things that I would've eaten without a second thought without knowing the calorie contents (aka anything from Culvers...*sigh* I'll get to that later). I do know its harder to count calories without a smart phone, but it is completely worth it.

Eat out smartly. Steve and I like to eat out, there's no way around it. With his schedule and mine, we would rather spend our time eating out than cooking. Lately though, there's been more cooking at home, which ultimately is the smarter choice if you're cooking the right things. What's nice is that most chain restaurants have to post calories for each item. And if you're at somewhere thats not a chain, you can ask! Don't be afraid, I've been asked many times about the calories in an item served at Stockholm (not a chain), and it mostly just makes me curious to know as well But if you've got your smart phone, you can just look the item up and choose the most average looking one.

Here is my list of things to eat out while still staying in my calorie limits-
-Chilis: Chicken Fajitas (no tortillas or sour cream), and their soup/salad lunch with no creamy soups and no chips (ok maybe just a few, but not too many!) :)

-Chipotle: I love their chicken burrito bowl and their veggie burrito bowl (brown rice, both beans, fajita mix, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, YUM). Don't get the burrito though - the tortilla has all kinds of hidden calories! And again, no sour cream. Sorry :( This will sky rocket the caloric value of your meal too. Just go to their site and you can calculate the calories of what you normally get. ( *Edit* One thing I forgot to include is how a Chipotle burrito bowl will usually last me a couple meals since they're pretty big.

-Subway: I know we all see the commercials, but Subway is seriously a great place to find healthy options. You can also find many unhealthy options too, so be careful! My favorite is the 6" Turkey on Honey Wheat with pepper jack and basically every veggie they have minus the lettuce(iceburg, bleh) and black olives. Just go to this website to check out what you would normally get. ( )

-Olive Garden: "How can you walk in there and see breadsticks floating past and not want them?!" Well you WILL want them. And you say that you will have one. Or a half of one. Look up how many calories those are and you won't want them for very long :) During lunch, I suggest the salad with dressing on the side, and the minestrone or pasta e fagiole. During dinner, I would say the mixed grill with chicken and steak, roasted potatoes, and grilled veggies is a good option.

-Panera: A great place to have lunch with an array of colorful and healthy options! They have calories listed on the board for you, so its pretty fool proof :)

Ok, so these are just some of the ones I would recommend. Looking up calories online can't be repeated enough. Knowing what you want to order at a restaurant helps too! When you go in with a a plan, it's hard to come out disappointed.

Having a cheat day once a week is a great way to let your body know that the calorie deprivation does not mean it's going to starve, and it keeps your metabolism up. My cheat day is Sunday (a little on Saturday, to be honest), because I just can't resist the potato bake, swedish pancakes, and bacon that await me on the Stockholm buffet on Sunday. Sometimes I can't eat it after seeing it all day long, but it isn't very often :) Having a cheat day is important for your mental state too. All that hard work isn't in vain! I usually don't go crazy, but I try to stay within 2200 calories on my cheat day. Which seems like I could eat everything off the Culvers menu compared to my measly 1200 on a normal day! This brings me to the next point...

Know what to splurge on. My weakness, as mentioned before, is Culvers. I love their buffalo tenders and cheese curds and obviously the frozen custard. This means if on a normal 1200 calorie day I decide to go to Culvers, I have to reconfigure my entire day around that trip. Totally worth it for me on some days.

Now. To tackle the issue of at-home eating. For me, if something delicious is around, I will eat it. If it's convenient, I will eat it. So the main point on this, don't buy junk food to keep around, and make convenience healthy!
Tools for healthy eating:
Even if you live by yourself, with your parents, significant other, significant other and kids, you only and kids, you and roommates, cooking in a crockpot is totally doable. I do it all the time. Since Steve and I tend to like different things (another reason eating out is sometimes easier), I will usually make up food for myself and freeze it in plastic, premeasured containers. Another method is to freeze all the ingredients in a plastic bag for a time when you don't have extra time to prepare before hand, and just want to throw it in very quickly. I would list all of my favorites, but there are really so many (15 bean soup, chicken tortilla soup, chicken teriyaki with peppers and onions, butternut and acorn squash soup, salmon with brown rice, etc, etc) All totally do-able. Just do a google search and you'll be bombarded with recipes. Almost anything can be cooked in the crockpot!

 Magic Bullet type machine.
I actually asked for one this Christmas with the intention of using it to make homemade baby food for Ben. I didn't realize how easy this would benefit my own healthy-eating lifestyle! I can whip up a smoothie for breakfast using kiwi fruit, blueberries, and spinach(you don't taste it!), and the next minute blend together some egg whites with a jalapeno, onion, and a little cheddar cooked with, you guessed it, some more spinach and some tomato and avocado to eat with it. If I'm feeling brave I'll even eat some kale with in. I don't like the texture, but sometimes I can choke it down! Look here for more superfoods to incorporate in your diet, I'm talking butt-kicking, antioxidant filled, cancer fighting, completely good for you foods! ( )

Now that you've got your tools, just get online to look up recipes. Even search for ones that have the calories already laid out for you.

I know that since sometimes kids are in the mix of things, tackling a weight loss journey can be hard, I know. The YMCA has a fabulous daycare that I feel more than comfortable handing Ben to and knowing he will be well cared for. Some good words from friends have helped convince me too :) If you aren't comfortable doing daycare, play with your kids. Kids love to play and love attention, so why not give them some? My five month old Benny weighs over 20 pounds! Talk about weight training! I can do a few squats holding him, laughing and giggling the whole time, and we both feel like a million bucks afterward. I use my baby harness to add some extra pounds to my daily activities too. Talk about a way to realize how much weight I've lost- I carry a 20+ pound kid around and marvel at the fact that I used to have that much extra poundage attached to my body!

SO. It's hard to capture an entire year's worth of activities in one post, especially when the year has been such a monumental one. There is so much to a journey. I will end this post with a little recap of goals met and dates.

End of 2012 - 168 lbs.
(My weight stayed the same until about my 8th month of pregnancy)

Pre-birth weight 8/6/12- 172 lbs

Post birth weight 8/8/12- 154

Goal met - fitting into prom dress - 12/14/12 - 140

Goal weight met - 135

If you have any questions, seriously, text me, email me, facebook me, anything! (for my etsy)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hi everyone! Very excited to start my blog! 

Today was an exceptionally difficult day to start, since little Benny was sick :( Felt very lucky to have Steve home with me, since he has some vacation time. Dad played guitar for Benny while he giggled and smiled! He even seemed to be singing along at one point, or maybe that was just him being the noisy little baby he is... hehe. Besides entertaining and caring for sicky and little sicky (sicky is me, for anyone wondering), I did manage to squeeze in a little frame spray painting for my etsy shop. Hey, I gotta have a small escape from my sicky-ness! I know, I know, spray painting doesn't really seem like a break from anything let alone being sick. Maybe its just the fumes. Hmmm... 

Anyway, I'm just hoping my sinus infection goes away soon! I have been trying home remedies such as oil pulling and clean eating since the other dozen medicines I've tried haven't seemed to help too much! I feel better day by day, thank goodness! I think the worst of it was when I traveled to Dallas (with a sick 5 month old Benny too). So since the worst of it seems to be over, I will not take feeling better for granted!

I'm also very excited to keep tabs on all the fun pinterest, home made, and new etsy stuff I tackle!

Til next time <3