End of the No Sugar Challenge

Happy Hump Day!

Today marks three days that Cody and I have been done with our no sugar challenge. Before I get to the results, I wanted to recap some more yummy recipes we had that were added-sugar free!

We have been continuing with lots of smoothies and eggs for breakfast. Leftovers have been in abundance during week 2 so lunches were never without. And we tried a lot of new recipes for dinner.

In terms of snacks, I still kept with fruit and almonds and also got some Triscuits to snack on since they have no added sugar.

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Spaghetti squash spaghetti with turkey

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Grilled chicken and asparagus

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First attempt at overnight oats (recipe called for brown sugar but I left that out and put a little vanilla extract in) topped with apple and cinnamon

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Kale, apple, chicken salad – SO refreshing!

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Chicken enchilada

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Italian Hillside Garden Soup (from Crockpot cookbook) – ALL vegetarian!!

Things that we have transitioned back into our diet:
*Quest Bars (YES PLEASE!)
*Homemade treats (I’ve made protein balls, peanut butter finger bars, and sugar free brownies all this week… can you tell I’ve missed baking?)
*Whole wheat pasta
*Cereal (on occasion)
*Flavored Greek yogurt (not in excess since it is higher in sugar)
*Protein powders (flavored) oh how we’ve missed you!

Things we will keep sugar-free:
*Peanut butter – I baked with our old naturals PB to get rid of the rest but the Jif original is WAY too sweet now. Plus, the sugar-free PB we’ve been using is pretty comparable in price.
*Bread – We actually didn’t mind the Ezekiel bread, so why change it?
*Bars – Besides Quest bars, we are trying to keep our bars we eat more naturally sweetened like some Kind bars and Larabars
*Broth – I was surprised that every broth I looked at except at Whole Foods had some sort of sugar in it. This is something I use a lot so this is a small change to make a difference.
*Baking – I’m going to try to use more natural sweeteners for most of my baking/making but there are some true desserts that just don’t taste right without classic sugars.

All in all, our diet didn’t have to see much of a change and besides a little chocolate, I didn’t feel deprived of anything. I love how my smell and taste have learned to appreciate more natural flavors!

Now, for the results! In the two weeks of the sugar challenge I lost 6.3 pounds and 1% body fat. I was excited to see the weight loss because I wasn’t expecting that. But, I was more impressed with how my body looked and felt at the end of the challenge (Below: Left = Before, Right = After). Even now, three days into our new regular diet and I weigh another 2 pounds lighter and lost another .6% body fat… say what?!

I’m still putting my food into MyFitnessPal so I can see my macros and make sure I still stay under on my sugar and am getting enough food.

As for fitness, I am now planning to up my workouts a little bit. Still doing lifting three days a week and I am starting to incorporate running again in my regimen. Thanks to a co-worker (hey Hannah!) I have an accountability partner and someone who shares my mixed feelings about running to start up again. We are doing the C25K app and it’s great because it tells you exactly when you need to run and when you can walk, no counting minutes! I’m excited for these nights to have more light for our runs! We are also going to start bringing in a little yoga biweekly too.

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So, what do you think? Could you do a no sugar challenge? What would be your downfall?

 

Coffee Chat

So long time no blog, huh? We had a very busy September and every time I would think about blogging, I would either not have the motivation or something else would take priority over it.

Whenever it’s been a while since I’ve chatted with a friend, I love to meet up for coffee! So grab a cup of coffee or your drink choice and let’s chat!

If we were meeting for coffee, I would tell you…

  • This was the first weekend that we didn’t have something planned. Labor Day Weekend we went to Asheville with a group of friends. We stayed in an AirBnB, visited the Biltmore, and explored downtown with all of their breweries and culture.

The following weekend we had Cody’s parents in town visiting. We celebrated their anniversary with a nice dinner, hit up the beach, and enjoyed some quality time in Savannah.

Then we had six of our friends come into town and stay with us in our little apartment. We all had a great day at the beach and grilled out by the pool. And two of them got engaged while we were here, so that was super amazing to be a part of!

Finally, last Sunday we went to Charlotte for the Panthers vs. Vikings game. Although we lost and it was pretty hot in the sun, we still had a good time!

  • Married life is going great and Cooper is doing well. We had a sick puppy for a new days there mid-September but he is much better. This is a picture of both my boys I took today while we were watching football. Love them both so much!
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  • In small group this fall we are doing the study, Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and it is going great! I will definitely do a review once it is finished. We even got to see him speak at church today.
  • I’ve really been missing real fall weather lately. Now that it is October I’m really wanting some cooler weather where I can wear sweaters and boots and truly enjoy my pumpkin spice latte. But here in Charleston, it doesn’t feel like that until late November-early December. Hoping I can make the most of it until then with adding lighter layers and doing some baking. What is your favorite part of fall?
  • The fall TV line up is on point this year. I am completely in love with NBC’s This Is Us and The Good Place! I’ve also been watching the new season of Law & Order: SVU and am excited to check out Designated Survivor and Timeless. Are there any shows that you are loving this fall?
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  • Cody has been amazing and getting up with me early before work to go to the gym. He’s been leading our workouts and I’m very thankful for his help because my motivation was super lacking.
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  • I’ve been pinning more lately, fulfilling my void of fall and finding some great recipes to try! Check out these new pins here.

What have you been up to lately? Do you ever have months where you almost don’t even have a chance to relax?

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #44

It’s crazy to think it is already 8 pm on Sunday. Where did the weekend go?!

The fun this weekend sort of started Thursday night when I had a girls painting night with a few girls from small group. We all met up at Fear No Easel and did one of those painting classes. I was a little nervous my painting wasn’t going to turn out because I’ve never felt very artistic. BUT, I love how they all turned out!

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Friday I started coming down with a cold. Nothing like getting sick week 2 of the school year. But that didn’t stop our plans for the night. I first went out and celebrating surviving the first 2 weeks of school with some of my coworkers. Then Cody and I took Cooper on his first social outing! We all went to Waterfront Park for another movie night, this time it was Star Wars (the new one).

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And Uncle James came out to hang with Cooper!

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Saturday I woke up really stuffed up and just kind of lousy. So I spent a lot of the day lounging around and I think Cooper knew I didn’t feel good because he was so good and cuddled more than he usually does these days. It was really nice! But we had to get up eventually and clean the apartment before our evening plans.

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Our friends Alexa and Mitch just moved to Augusta and came into town for the night. We went out to dinner with them at Home Team then took them on a tour of King Street, ending up on East Bay by the harbor. On our way back to the car we stopped for some dessert! It was nice to spend some time with them since our wedding was the last time we saw them.

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Today we got up and went to church. Today’s message was about parenting, shaping the arrow. And honestly, it applied so much to my life. No, we don’t have any kids yet (well, aside from Cooper); however, I have over 80 kids in my life right now that I teach this year or are still around from last year. As their teacher, it is my job to shape those arrows, especially when some of those kiddos don’t have that model at home. Check out the message from today (it’s Part 3) because it can apply to anyone’s life! (The whole series has been great!)

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Before we left church we also got signed up as the leaders of Financial Peace University for our small group, which starts in a couple of weeks. I’m really excited to learn a lot from this study and to grow even more as a small group!

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After church we stopped at Target to pick up some pieces for our gallery wall we are doing in our living room. When we got home we did some lunch and I worked on planning and school work. Tonight we took Cooper on a walk, getting rained on the last part of it.

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Speaking of Cooper, this is my weekly funny from him. He was just sitting on Cody’s leg like that for a good 5 minutes. We love him so much!

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Questions for You:
What do you like to do when you have friends come to visit?
How do you get rid of a cold quickly?

P.S. Be on the lookout Tuesday for a reader survey! I would love some feedback from my readers now that I’ve been talking to y’all for over a year!


So this week’s meal plan is going to be a little sparse. Cody is gone 2 nights this week and we are going out of town Friday for Labor Day weekend. For a full meal plan, check out some of my past ones on my Food & Fitness page!

Sunday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Monday – Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper

Tuesday – Leftovers (on my own)

Wednesday – Quesadillas or Sloppy Joes (on my own)

Thursday – Spaghetti Squash Skillet or a Soup

Friday – Asheville!

Saturday – Asheville!

Last weekend we joined Planet Fitness and it’s been nice to have a lot more machines available for our use! 5:00 am comes really early but it’s great to already have my workout done before my day begins.

This week I still want to do some lifting but I’ll be listening to my body during my workouts. I’ll for sure be doing some cardio to at least be moving every day.

Monday – Cardio + Abs

Tuesday – Cardio + Legs

Wednesday – Off Day

Thursday – Cardio + Arms

Friday – Cardio + Full Body

What kinds of workouts do you do when you are sick with a cold??

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #43

My first weekend of the school year is officially coming to an end. I hope y’all had a great weekend! We had a nice mix of plans and down time.

Friday after work I met Cody at his work before we headed to the Riverdogs game with his company. We had some good picnic food and enjoyed hanging out!

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After we left the game, we headed over to our friends Chris and Katie’s place for a night swim and to hang out. The guys did a bourbon tasting while us ladies chilled on the couch.

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Saturday after feeding Cooper at his usual time, I was able to sleep in since we had a really late night Friday. We made omelettes for breakfast and laid around the house until we went to check out Planet Fitness. After the tour, we decided to officially become members.

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Saturday night was date night! We had supper at Lewis BBQ downtown, a new addition to the BBQ scene in Charleston. Their brisket is amazing! The sausage was good but a little spicy for my taste. Overall it was a good experience!

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After we filled our bellies, we went and played some mini golf at Charleston Fun Park. And as always, Cody beat me, but only by 2 strokes.

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We wrapped up our date night with frozen yogurt for dessert. I got a mix of white chocolate mousse and mountain blackberry with some Kit Kats and Oreos. YUM!

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Later Saturday night we invited our friends Chris, Katie, and James for a night swim at our pool. It was fun to finally be able to do that in our pool!

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Today started out with an amazing message about marriage at Seacoast! Everyone should go to their site and listen to it!

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The rest of the day was pretty typical. We played with Cooper, did a workout (at PF), meal planned, did some school work to get ready for this week, and relaxed.

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It was a really nice weekend and I’m now rejuvenated for another great week at school.

Here is another adorable pic of Cooper from this weekend to end our recap!

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Questions for You:
What did you do this weekend?
What is your go-to date night?


Here is our meal plan for this week. We decided not to go get groceries for the week, so I had to work with what we already had in our kitchen.

Sunday – Homemade Pizza

Monday – Turkey Walking Tacos

Tuesday – Crockpot Cheesy Chicken & Rice with Peas

Wednesday – Egg Burritos

Thursday – Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

Friday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Saturday – Wine Bar Date

As for fitness this week, I am starting in full force at Planet Fitness. I’m planning on going with our friends Gracie and Trevor in the early mornings. Not sure what I’ll do for workouts, but I’m sure I’ll take ideas from my Being Fit Pinterest board. Check it out for ideas for yourself!

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #42

Sorry I was little MIA last week. It was a crazy week with getting ready for the school year to start back up tomorrow. As I sit down to write this post, I feel ready but still have those first day back jitters. Just leaving it up to God and planning on having a great day tomorrow 🙂

I wanted to make sure we had a great weekend before heading back to school!

Friday started off great with heading over to Home Team to celebrate a co-workers birthday. Then Cody and I went out to Waterfront Park under the Ravenel Bridge for a movie in the park. This week’s movie was Space Jam! Classic. We got there early to grab some grub and listen to some music. Our friends James and Allie also joined us for a nice night.

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Saturday started off early for me. I went into school to do all of my copies for the week and put my finishing touches on my classroom. Look out for a full classroom tour this week! Here’s a sneak peek for now.

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In the afternoon, Cody and I headed out to Isle of Palms for some jet ski fun. We hadn’t been out on jet skis in several years and we missed it. We were able to go crazy in the bay before riding 15 miles up the Intracoastal Waterway to Capers Island and hang out on the beach for a bit before heading back.

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Saturday night started out chill with some egg sausage casserole for supper (Cody’s favorite breakfast food!) and hanging with Cooper then we were invited out with some friends to watch some preseason football and Olympics at DIG in the Park, a great restaurant in North Charleston.

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Today we heard a great message at church about how each family is imperfect behind the picture perfection on social media, pulling examples from the Bible as reference.

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The remainder of the day was pretty typical with grocery shopping, lunch, and planning on my part.

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In the middle of all the usual business, I was able to get together with a few of my girls from small group for some pedicures. This pampering felt great right before a new school year begins! It’s easier to take care of your students when you take care of yourself first.

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I also want to give a shout-out to my amazing mom. It’s her birthday today!! I was able to chat with her earlier today and I hope she’s had a great day, she deserves it!

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And, here is your weekly dose of our cutie Cooper. He’s been in a biting phase lately. Any tips to help him learn to listen and to stop??

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Questions for You:
What did you for fun this weekend?
What is part of your typical routine on the weekends?


Here is our meal plan for the week. I’m planning on doing some Pinterest workouts this week, give myself a break from the bootcamp workouts.

Sunday – Hamburger and noodles

Monday – Vegetable beef and rice soup

Tuesday – Crockpot chicken, potatoes, and green beans

Wednesday – Turkey meatloaf and asparagus

Thursday – Turkey dogs and sweet potato fries

Friday – Riverdogs game

Saturday – Homemade pizza

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #41

Hope everyone has had an enjoyable weekend! We certainly have had some good times this weekend.

Friday my weekend started earlier in the day with some tax free weekend shopping with my friend Gracie. We headed to Old Navy for some good deals and some new Pixie Pants (my fave!).

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We also stopped into Target to pick up a couple of things, including some lounge chairs to add to my classroom.

Friday night Cody met up with some of the guys from small group to visit a couple of breweries in town while us ladies got together at our apartment for some wine, snacks, and girl chat while we watched the Olympic opening ceremony.

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Saturday morning I started my day with a coffee date with a fellow blogger and Iowan turned Charlestonian, Rachel from The Latte Budget. After that I headed to Walmart to pick up school supplies I needed for this school year and also checked out some pillows and rugs to add to the lounge area of my classroom with the chairs from Target. I still have a few things to pick up but I’m pretty much set on supplies for the start of the school year.

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The rest of Saturday was pretty chill with a workout and some usual planning every weekend has.

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We ate some yummy crispy cheddar chicken and green beans for supper then took Cooper for a nice long walk. (Made a little too much sauce and needed to use it lol)

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After our family walk, Cooper was worn out and cuddled with us while we watched some HIMYM. Officially into Season 8!

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Today we decided to watch the early church service online so we could head to Sullivan’s Island for some beach time before it got really hot.

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We came home in time to make some lunch then this afternoon has been nice to hang out, watch some Olympics, and work on the blog. Remember to check out and like Passionately Southern’s Facebook page!

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Tonight we are going to video chat with both sets of parents, which is awesome! And I’m hoping to head to bed at a decent time since tomorrow I head back to school for our week of inservice before the kiddos come back to school.

To wrap up, here is your weekly dose of Cooper! I took this Friday night when he was hanging out with the ladies. How cute is he?!

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Questions for You:
How do you spend the last part of the summer?
What is your favorite thing to watch at the Olympics?
If you are a teacher, how do you prepare for the upcoming school year?


Here is our meal plan for the week:

Sunday – Spaghetti

Monday – Gnocchi and Chicken Sausage Vegetable Skillet

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday – Crunchy Taco Homemade Hamburger Helper

Thursday – On our own (I have freshmen orientation at night) … maybe pizza??

Friday – Egg Sausage Casserole (my mother-in-law’s recipe)

Saturday – Vegetable Beef and Rice Soup

I think I’m going to give my bootcamp workouts a break for a bit and for my workouts I will do a mix of cardio, TurboJam, Zumba, and weight lifting. Cody and I are going to do a trial at 9 Round Kickbox Fitness to see if we like it. We are also considering becoming members at Planet Fitness to have a place away from home to work out.

I’m also going to go back to tracking my food and macronutrients with MyFitnessPal (friend me if you use the program!) to get back into a healthy lifestyle as school starts back up.

Any meals on your plan you are excited about this week?

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #40

Another weekend in the books! Ours was a fun-filled weekend for sure!

Friday I had my friend Katie from work come hang by the pool in the 97 degree heat.

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I also wrote a Fashion Friday post about my experience with Poshmark and some summer outfits I’d been wearing. Update on Poshmark: I had my first sale Friday night!

Saturday we were able to sleep in until 9:30 after letting Cooper out and feeding him at his normal time then putting him back to bed.

We had a slow start to the morning, eating breakfast and watching a little Netflix. We decided we were finally going to go see Finding Dory, so we snagged some matinee tickets and a free small popcorn from my birthday! It was amazing, y’all! Baby Dory is adorable and I definitely had tears multiple times during the movie.

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After the movie we stopped at the post office to ship out my Poshmark sale! I also tried on the pieces I purchased from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (check out my favorites from the sale here – it’s still happening until August 8th!)

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Saturday night we got together with our friends from small group to celebrate some of our July birthdays (including mine!). Our hosts did a great job setting everything up! We did kabobs for supper and they had a cute set up stations for them. We had snacks to eat throughout the night as well.

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After supper, some of us played Cards Against Humanity while others did some Disney karaoke (so fun, by the way!).

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We ended the night with some delicious ice cream cake and a great game called Drawful.

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I love spending quality time with these amazing people!

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Sunday we woke up and headed to church with a couple from small group. We saw clips from the Adjustment Bureau and the message was really good about fate vs. free will. After church us girls met up with a couple others from small group and we had brunch to catch up since we haven’t all been together this summer. We went to Another Broken Egg Cafe and the food was really good, making up for the long wait we had. But the company was the best part (and of course, I remember to take a picture of my food but not my girls lol).

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Then this afternoon, Cody and I spent a little time at the pool before making supper, Turkey Taco Zucchini Boats.

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The rest of the night has consisted of getting my to-do list for the week organized and choosing wedding photos to upload and print.

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All in all, it was a great weekend and it’s crazy to think we only have two more left until school officially starts!

Questions for You:
What did you do this weekend?
How do you beat the summer heat?


Here is our meal plan for the week. I’m excited to try a couple new recipes, which can be found on my cooking Pinterest board!

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As for my workouts, I’m hoping with getting into a regular routine I can boost my motivation to workout again. I’m still using my Bootcamp workouts from earlier this summer, but I might switch it up next week.