2013 Principles [How To Be The Best Me]

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into if I wanted to set any goals in the new year, and took nearly a month to actually post something! Since I set specific goals around my birthday [30 in 30], I decided that I wasn’t doing any New Year’s Resolutions this year. No need to overwhelm myself with more goals when I have plenty to work on before my birthday in May. So instead of New Year’s Goals or Resolutions, I decided to focus on 10 principles to live by.


Once I wrote out the list, I realized that this isn’t how I want to live in just 2013…it’s how I want to live my whole life. I think most are self explanatory and you can certainly adjust them if you’d like to use a similar list for yourself. I think the one that probably needs clarification is, ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally’. I took this principal from the book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book). It means exactly what it sounds like, but the author can explain much better than I as to why it’s so important. I praised this book when I originally read it in March 2012, and you can read more about my impression in this post. That book changed the way I live my life now, and I would recommend it to anyone that’s ready to listen to the message.


So there you go, that’s what I’ll be focusing on in 2013 (and beyond).


What would you add if you were making a [how to live your best life] list?

My Favorite Moment of the Week & Grocery Challenge

Moment of the Week_3

It has been very rainy for the past few days…and I’ve been loving every second of it! I love the rain and gloomy weather, and after a 110 degree summer, I adore these kinds of days. That photo was taken yesterday when I came home from breakfast, but it’s a tie for my favorite moment of the week. This past week was really good, and I’ve had a lot of favorite moments. I spent a girls day with my mom early last week where we went shopping and had lunch, and I cancelled my cable this week so I’ve been reading a lot more…not to mention the $130 back in my pocket each month. I achieved a 25 lb weight loss so I was able to get my 25lb reward, a new heart rate monitor. I picked up the white Polar Ft40F Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch(White) and am loving it! I meant to get this part of the post up on Sunday, but as I type this on Monday I’ve actually reached 30lb weight loss. I assign rewards to every 5 pounds so I also picked up the 30lb reward which was a new yoga mat, I chose the Manduka Black Mat PRO 71-Inch Yoga and Pilates Mat . These are things that I was saving money for anyway, but instead of just buying them a few weeks ago I decided to achieve a weight loss goal before cashing in.  I’ll do a separate post on the workout program I’m doing right now, but I can say that I’ve never felt better and am seeing MAJOR changes in a short amount of time.

Since I forgot to put the Favorite moment post up yesterday, I’m going to combine it with today’s Grocery Challenge post. I took a picture of the grocery haul this week, but apparently I deleted it. Bummer. Instead I’ll share a few pictures of recent eats. I don’t consider myself a food blogger so I don’t ever plan to post daily eats on a regular basis; however, I do tend to put health/food pictures up on my instagram account. You can follow me at @addisonshaw

Greek yogurt, blueberries, raw honey, and Quinoa Crunch [kind of like a quinoa granola]

Homemade Tomato Pasta Soup and Grilled Cheese

Wasa Toast topped with Avocado and Eggs along with a sprinkle of parmesan. So good!

Apples and Peanut Butter. I have to hide in the office when I eat this or my dog tries to steal it from me. Seriously, that pup has a peanut butter addiction.

Homemade Turkey Meatball Pizza.

Garlic Snow peas with a salad made of Shrimp, Avocado, tomatoes and Cilantro Dressing. Side of Wasa Toasts. I was going for a bruschetta type thing. It was AMAZING.

Spaghetti Squash Meatball Bake, cooked in pan instead of the squash shell.


This week…

The Budget: $40

I Spent: $36.64 (Henry’s, Trader Joe’s, Target)

Leftover for the Piggy Bank: $3.36


The Goods:

Ricotta Cheese

Cage Free Organic Eggs [1 Dozen]

Chocolate Croissants

Cilantro Salad Dressing

Whole Wheat Pita Bread Pockets


Organic Spinach

Organic Romaine

Broccoli Florets

Chobani Greek Yogurt [16oz]

Vanilla Coconut Milk [Half Gallon]

Colby Jack Cheese [about 1/2 lb from the deli section]

Sirloin Tip Steak [4oz]

Carrots [5lbs] – Dog Treats


I’m still using the Out of Milk app and loving it. It makes it so easy to keep track of items to buy throughout the week.


Tentative Meal Plan:

Monday: Spaghetti Squash Bake [pictured above]

Tuesday: Steak Fajita Pita Pockets

Wednesday: BBQ Chicken & Veggies

Thursday: Basil Tilapia & Veggies

Friday: Chicken Parmesan & Veggies [instead of pasta]

Saturday: Eggs & Yam Hashbrowns

Sunday: Homemade Chili [leftover from my freezer stash]



*Some links contained within this post are affiliates.

Grocery Challenge – Week of January 21

This week…

The Budget: $40

I Spent: $35.81 (Henry’s, Trader Joe’s, Walgreens)

Cash for the Piggy Bank: $4.19

Groceries 1_21_2013

I learned something this week…don’t go shopping at Trader Joe’s on Saturday night. Not because it’s a somewhat pathetic thing for a single girl on Saturday night…but because they were sold out of EVERYTHING! So many things I wasn’t able to get this week and had to swap out for something else. They were completely out of Broccoli and Kale so I swapped them for Snow peas and Spinach, a few other things I had to skip altogether. I was also a little disappointed in some of the produce at Henry’s. They had a bag of sweet potatoes on sale, but the potatoes in the bags were mushy and molding. So sad.

  • Carrots (5lb) – Dog Treats
  • Banana (4)
  • Organic Apples (3lb)
  • Grape Nuts (2 boxes)
  • Organic Spinach
  • Organic Romaine
  • Snow Peas
  • 1/2 dozen Cage Free organic eggs
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Organic Blueberries
  • Sweet Potatoes (3)
  • Sliced Chicken Deli Meat
  • Frozen Mac & Cheese


Menu Plan (not necessarily made from the items purchased this week):

Monday: Homemade Chili & Veggie

Tuesday: Mustard Salmon & Veggie

Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash Meatball Bake

Thursday: Basil Tilapia & Veggie

Friday: Homemade Tomato Soup

Saturday: Homemade Chicken Pesto Pizza

Sunday: Spaghetti Squash Meatball Bake

My Favorite Moment of the Week

Moment of the Week 2

Lately I’ve been doing a DVD workout series that takes about 30 minutes a few times a week. On Thursday, my pup decided that he was feeling left out. So in the middle of the ab work section, he decided to use me as a chair and proceeded to lick my entire face. Trying to push him away, in dog speak, meant it was play time. I ended up pausing the video and just playing with him for about 20 minutes. Laughing that hard works the abs anyway, right? [That was my favorite moment]. He was so happy to play that he grabbed my shoe, and ran around me in circles. Apparently his own toys just weren’t cutting it. The sweet moment took a bad turn when he then tried to kill the shoe.


In case your wondering…the shoe survived…


…as did the dog.

Grocery Challenge – Week of January 14th

It’s the first grocery challenge post of the new year!


With the holidays and travelling, I’ve been doing a lot of random grocery shopping lately. Random shopping means I spend way more than I mean need to on things I don’t need. So in the new year I’ll be keeping up with the grocery challenge to get myself back on track. I’m making only one change…the budget is back to $40 each week, instead of $50. Any money not spent each week will continue to go into the ‘piggy bank’.

This week…

The Budget: $40

I Spent: $31.45 (Henry’s, Trader Joe’s)

Cash for the Piggy Bank: $8.55

Groceries 1_13_2013

  • Carrots (5lb) – Dog Treats
  • Chobani 0% Plain Greek Yogurt – for homemade Dog Treats
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Avocado
  • Feta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Spinach
  • Sliced Chicken Deli Meat
  • Pita Bite Crackers
  • Frozen Mac & Cheese
  • Bouquet of Flowers


I suppose you’re wondering how I’m going to live on one box of frozen Mac & Cheese, spinach, and lunch meat for the week. The truth is, I’m not. In an effort to better organize my life, I recently cleaned out my fridge, freezer, and pantry. Everything was straightened, shelves were wiped down, and anything with a past expiration date was dumped. Apparently I am a food hoarder, because this exercise showed me just how much food I have in my house, and I still go out every week and buy more. So for the next few weeks, groceries will probably be lighter than usual and I eat through my stash. 




I also recently started using the Out of Milk app on my phone, and their coordinating website. This is where my inner organizational Type A nerd comes in. I used the app’s barcode scanner while I was cleaning the kitchen to scan every item I have in the pantry, freezer, and fridge. It didn’t take as long as it’s sounds, and was fun because I like scanning things. I can now tell you exactly how much flour I have in the house from a quick glance at my phone, and that I have enough chicken in my freezer to serve my entire extended family at a moments notice. Turns out that every time I went shopping over the past few months, I was buying duplicate items simply because I didn’t know that I already had more than enough at home. That’s why I have so much chicken in my freezer, and several weeks worth of soup in my pantry. The app makes it easy to create my weekly shopping list since I can drag the empty items from my pantry list over to the shopping list. With the paid upgrade to the app, I can even track coupons for my lists. My nerdy, coupon loving, shopping desires are now completely fulfilled.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some chicken and soup to eat…


*This post was not in any way sponsored by Out of Milk. They have no idea who I am and did not ask me to mention them. I simply like the product and wanted to share.

My Favorite Moment of the Week

It’s Sunday morning. ’m curled up on my couch with a big cozy blanket, a good book, and a warm chocolate croissant with a cup of tea. After a great night’s sleep, it’s the best way to spend a lazy morning at home. It’s the moment when all the stress from the week melts away. Where I can relax, breathe again, and enjoy a special moment of peace and pure happiness.

What makes it better…the 90 lb lab curled up on my feet, snoring.

Pretty much the perfect morning.

A Favorite Moment of the Week

What is the best moment from your week?

Washington DC – December 2012

In early December I took a week long trip out to Washington DC/Virginia to visit family. My last trip to DC was in 2008, but it had been a very short trip since I had been in town for work. This time it was all vacation, and I loved every minute of it. Well maybe not the flight home (it was loooooooonnngg), but the rest was awesome!

We toured some monuments and museums, ate delicious food, decorated for the holidays, saw a really cool holiday light show in Baltimore, and spent time chatting and catching up. I won’t go into a drawn out recap of the visit (mostly because I bored you recently with the 2012 recap) but I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures from the trip.




Georgetown Home_1

Georgetown Home_2

Georgetown University_1

Georgetown University_2

Georgetown University_3


Kitty Hawk_1

Air and Space_1

LIbrary of Congress_1

National Archives_1

National Archives_2

Winter Berries_1

A Look Back at 2012

Warning: long recap post ahead.

I never thought this recap post would be so hard to write this year. I’m not entirely sure how to put 2012 into words. On one hand, it was great since I feel like I made a lot of progress. Progress in the house, with turning a hobby into a side business, writing a successful eBook, and I also did a lot of emotional work…soul searching, if you will. However, as I’ve mentioned in the past, my day job has been tough. Tough isn’t really the right word, but miserable just sounds so…well…miserable. I picked up a new project at the beginning of 2012 which quickly became my living nightmare. I’ve been trying to build on my hobbies and happier moments outside of work to find a balance, but it’s not working. I’ve had 2 full blown anxiety attacks in the past 3 days alone over work issues and from what I’m hearing as we enter the new year, it’s going to get worse because I’ve now been assigned another new project that doesn’t end until Dec 2013. I feel like I’ve sunk into the seventh circle of hell. I wish I could say that I made significant progress with getting out of the job last year, but it’s still a work in progress.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Now onto some happier memories from this past year…

Baxter 03

…not from this year…but pictures of puppies make everything better. (That’s my little pup sporting his fancy red cast when he was a few weeks old).



The first part of the year was busy! Looking back through the posts reminded me just how many fun craft/DIY projects I used to have on the blog. I need to get back to that in 2013.

The year started off with a homemade birthday cake for my dad, an avid golfer. This also turned out to be one of the most popular posts on the blog, especially around Fathers Day!

Golf Birthday Cake 

To focus on being more positive, I created a Gratitude jar which I opened on Thanksgiving day. I slacked on sharing that in November, but it was a fun tradition to start. I’ve already started adding new gratitude slips to the jar this year.

Gratitude Jar

I set up a cleaning plan for the house, started saving money by using my local library, started organizing the garage, and planted a lovely succulent terrarium. I created a photography light box, organized my recipe box, made a soup can herb garden, read 5 books, and was able to congratulate an old friend on her engagement.

DIY Succulent Terrarium 

January was also when I finished the BIGGEST house project I’ve ever attempted…the living room fireplace remodel. I have loved this new space so much, especially this past Christmas when I was able to hang stocking from the finished mantle.

Fireplace Remodel

In February I made progress on the garage by installing some storage units, started my first grocery challenge, created a valentine basket of necessities for my local dog shelter, installed privacy films in the master bedroom, replaced a broken washing machine, and read 2 books.


I created some pretty ‘heart’ inspired crafts in February too.

Cork Heart Sign

DIY Heart Art

Although my favorite project was the daily letterpress calendar journal.

Daily Calendar

March was my attempt at a monthly challenge, being ECO Conscious! I was trying to share a green change/project everyday but this was also the month when my job changed so things didn’t go as planned. Instead I’ve continued sharing the Eco Challenges throughout the year.

A few of the projects from March…

Started a garden, created newspaper pots, and I joined a CSA.

Newspaper Seedlings


We attended the Lt Dan Band Tribute Concert which was AMAZING! If you get a chance to see them live, go!!

Tribute Concert - Lt Dan Band

I started going back to school, which has also stalled due to work lately. I’m hoping to get back to classes this year…hopefully.

I made some more progress in the garage, built a potting bench, and painted a cute chalkboard mug.

Chalkboard Mug

Potting Bench


It’s probably weird that one of my favorite posts in April was about the showerhead that I installed. As part of the Eco Challenge, I swapped out my normal, cheap showerhead with a water saving, rainfall version. It’s seriously amazing and I still love it.

New Eco Showerhead 

I shared a few of my CSA boxes, some easy DIY chalkboard plant markers, my DIY vertical garden, and solar garden lighting.

DIY Chalkboard Plant Markers 

Solar Light Lanterns_5

In early April we made a day trip out to doggie beach where Baxter had the time of his life dancing in the waves. Doggie beach is the thing I miss most from my old place, it’s just too long a trip to visit these days.


In May I turned 30 and started my 30 in 30 list. I like doing the birthday based resolutions more than New Years because there is far less stress during the holidays. No sadness over failed resolutions as January 1st approaches, no rush to really jump into anything new. Instead I have a few more months to finish my list of goals for this year.

A few birthday treats…

I swapped out the front door sign and made a hand painted Welcome sign that I could leave up all year long.

DIY Welcome Sign_2

I also started using the Nike Fuelband which I still wear. The only downside for me is that it doesn’t track heart rate.


I shared how I extend the life of my CSA veggies, added a little storage to the yard and garage, and introduced both the foyer and the office which are in various stages of remodel right now. I also started Italian language classes online and spent some quality time with the beagles!

Brother and Sister Beagles

June was light and I can’t really remember why. I shared my CSA pickups along with the Spare Bedroom progress and the garden. I also celebrated my 2 year home anniversary with a look back at the house progress so far.


July brought Olympic inspiration a kick back into blogging.

Pinned Image


I built an easy spice rack, shared my Half Marathon training plan, started transforming the foyer into a library, and made a patriotic gradient cake!

Kitchen Spices_Final_4

Red White and Blue Cake_3

I also scored a great deal on Padres tickets.I’m not a huge sports fan when watching on TV, but I love going to baseball and hockey games.

Padres Game_Reds_2

…and i dropped a jean size!!!! While weight loss over the past few months has been a struggle, I’ve maintained that lower size and hope to trade down shortly.

Down a Size_2


In August, I made a laundry drying  rack, suspended my CSA, and made delicious dark chocolate coconut ice cream bites.

DIY Laundry Dryer Rack

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream Bites

The spare bedroom saw some progress when a headboard was installed out of some wall art. I also matted some art prints for an entry wall.

Spare Bedroom Headboard_1

Custom Art Wall

In September I continued working on the spare bedroom and created a DIY tiered light fixture, added some moulding to the foyer bookcases, and the beagles came back to visit for a few weeks.

Bedroom Light DIY_11

Baxter was a kind host for the extended visit…by constantly giving me the ‘when are they going home’ eyes. Just kidding, they all did great this time around.

October was a huge month for me since I opened my Etsy store.

EvoLovely Designs Etsy Shop

I shared the long awaited Crockpot Pumpkin Butter recipe. The rest of the month was spent finishing the CrockPot Fruit Butter eBook. I can’t thank you all enough for making that eBook so successful.

Fresh Crockpot Pumpkin Butter

In between making Pineapple butter and Mango Chile Butter, my mom and I finished the Nike Half Marathon and had a really amazing girls weekend in San Francisco.

San Francisco_NWM2012_17


The holiday flew by this past year. I had big plans for a bunch of holiday theme crafts and projects, but it just didn’t work out. Time ran out. I did have the opportunity to paint some pinecones though.

Paint Dipped Pinecone_5

…but more importantly I made fresh, homemade bread! It was delicious.I also started the grocery challenge again.

Easy Rustic Bread_2

I caught a mouse…

Humane Mouse Trap_1

…but I let him go too close to the house and he came back…so we’re playing a little game of tag right now. I think I’m winning…sorta. I’ve started using Peppermint oil around the house and it seems to be working, he hasn’t been around lately.

In December I travelled to DC to visit with family and had an AMAZING trip. I can’t wait to go back. I have more pictures to share that I’ll put in a future post.


Whew! I have to say that the blog has been an amazing yearly journal of things I typically forget. Before drafting this post I honestly thought back and was disappointed that I didn’t do more. After looked at each month on the blog, I really did make more progress than I had remembered.


If you stuck it out this far…THANK YOU…you’re a ROCKSTAR!

Happy New Year!

This year has been a crazy ride. I never intended to disappear for most of December; but between work, travel, and the holidays…life got away from me. I am working on a 2012 recap as well as a 2013 hope/goals post, but in the meantime I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

I can’t thank you enough for stopping by my little blog, and I can’t wait to share some really great things in 2013.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to pack up those hopes and dreams and hit the open road. It’s going be an amazing year.

Source: imgfave.com via Addison on Pinterest