Pro Tip: Fro-yo

I jokingly posted on a photo I took of my Shack Burger on Instagram a few weeks ago “Pro-Tip: ask for xtra pickles on the side” and I realized I was onto something. As I not only love food, I have personally been in the food industry AND many, many of my friends are in restaurant management or chefs. This all means that I not only know my way around a restaurant, but talk about food All. The. Time. As we have already established, on Wednesdays we talk about food. So now, on some Wednesdays, I will share Pro Tips with you.

This week it’s all about the Fro Yo! I am a big fan of the soft serve yogurt places as you get to add candy and as much of it as you want with no judgement. Its the only time I get to eat candy these days and I look forward to this treat every other week or so. A month or so ago, Adam and I were chatting with the young man who seems to always be working when we go to the place down the street and he changed my life forever with one word: layering. As in layer your toppings. So simple and obvious and yet not something I would have ever thought to do! I was so excited that I made a really quick video…and I immediately changed the lives of my IG and Vine followers. Mind blowing.

p.s. if you cannot view the view, you may watch it on Instagram.

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Stay-cation

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The past 10 days have been jam packed with activities. We had two waves of house guests as well as logging in a good amount of hours with friends. Due to the schedules that Adam and I both keep these days, it was a bit outside of our norm and made it feel as though we were the ones on vacation! This also explains my absence from blogging for the past week…when I did get into the studio it was pretty quick and focused on getting orders out the door. I spent more time doing laundry (so many sheets, blankets and towels!) than I did in the studio last week, ha! I oddly took very few photos though all of the fun, and the majority of the photos that I snapped were with my sister Gillian when she was here as I very rarely see her. Regardless, I decided to collect all of my favorite moments right here as one of the best parts about blogging is that you are keeping a record of your life, and I love looking back at past events. So here is our July, 2015 impromptu Stay-cation

Barton Springs
At Barton Springs Pool
At Barton Springs Pool
Sister antics at dinner
Sister antics at dinner
One of many, many wonderful meals out on the town
One of many, many wonderful meals out on the town
Aggressive sister love in 2011 (top) and 2015 (bottom)
Aggressive sister love in 2011 (top) and 2015 (bottom)

We ate all the things, saw all the places, listened to live music, went dancing, ate more of the things, went new phone shopping (4 of us have new phones now, yay!), played board games and ate some more things. In the wake of all of this merriment, I’m a bit exhausted, bloated from eating all the things, and some how haven’t had time to wash my hair in three days, but I had such a fun time!

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Current Inspiration

Submerged

I often find that in gathering images that inspire me, the obvious theme is not apparent right away. This happened with a collection of images that are hauntingly beautiful that I came to call “Submerged“. They are as you may imagine, photographs of bodies submerged underwater. All are of women, sometimes in gowns, sometimes with their heads not visible and above the water line and range from standing to floating to diving. I love everyone of them and would pet them on the head each night before I went to bed if it were possible.

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Deep Thoughts from The Past Week

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1. It’s weird how much you realize you love some one (pets included) when they are sick. With Mora this week, it was the moment when the emergency hospital vet asked if I wanted to sign a DNR for her. I surprised myself with the level of ferociousness that I responded with when telling them that of course I wanted them to do whatever they could to make sure that she lived.

2. Not all birds will cause dire harm, but SOME birds will absolutely cause bad things to happen to a dog when they eat them.

3. Having goals, a plan to accomplish them and an organized place to track them will make productivity higher.

4. Stacks of random to do lists may do nothing but cause anxiety.

5. Fireworks are more fun for the anticipation factor then the actual event is.

6. A tiny change to a room, like a new duvet cover, can make a huge impact. This can translate to many facets of life. If some part of your life feels in a rut, make a little change and you may be surprised how powerful it can be.

7. Optimism is contagious. “Surround yourself with only people who are going to take you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey.

8. Online sales are slow for everyone in July, stop panicking and work on something that you normally would not have time for, like SEO.

9. You are not alone. No matter what you are feeling, thinking or doing, there is someone else out there going through the same thing.

10. Manic Trout is having a fabulous Summer Sale and you can get really pretty jewelry at really great prices right now. Ok not so deep, but fun!

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DIY Planner Perfection

Planner
I cannot help myself, there are multiple calendars in there.
We all know I have an obsession with calendars, but for the most part my addiction to planners has been pretty minimal. Mostly because I just gave up on finding what I wanted, and I’d settle dfor what is available. Really I think this is the entire reason for being so into calendars…but maybe not. They may end up being two separate and intense loves. Last week I was chatting with Renee about the quest for the perfect planner and how I gave up. Renee on the other hand has been diligently searching and searching for years, and refuses to give up…I’m in awe of her perseverance. It made me have a burst of renewed desire to find perfection in planner form and I took to google. I came close with the planners by Emily Ley, but when I discovered that they sold out months in advance, I was over it. Then I started looking at printable pages on Etsy. Which led me back to google, which finally brought me to Scattered Squirrel. I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time this week downloading and printing pages. Testing them out for a day or two, seeing if they worked for me or not. I stapled different pages back to back to see what order I liked everything in…I may have wasted a bit of paper. But then I began to get really excited. You see I don’t need an agenda style planner…mapping out times is not really what I’m looking for. Its more of the goal tracking/list making that I need to do. But I want to do so on daily/monthly and weekly levels and this just does seem impossible in a preprinted version. Most likely as it will get very large.

Planner2
Two of the pages for days of the week.
As the week has progressed, I have been kept up at night about how I will keep all of this assembled. To test it out, I just stuck it all in a white ½” 3 ring binder. I use them all over the place in the studio, so I had one on hand. I however felt that I needed something bigger…and maybe with a bit more flair! I thought of having it bound, but decided against it as I think the best plan is to remove the daily pages at the end of each month, keeping only the week/month goals in there. This way, the size stays smaller, I can look back and see progress and if I don’t want to track a day (say a day off), I’m not wasting paper. I have also already eliminated pages that I had at first thought I’d use, but after a few days realized I would not. So I imagine that as time goes on, I will be removing or even adding things (there are so many different options to choose from!!!). But for now I am really excited about what I put together. But wait…it get’s better.

Planner3
It’s very hard to photograph a glitter binder, so this photo is the product shot.
I ran into OfficeDepot to grab some ink earlier today and stopped in my tracks because: GLITTER!! Right on an end cap was a sparkly gold glitter 1″ 3 ring binder, with mint interior!! I gasped so loud, a sales associate heard me and chuckled. It’s perfect. (note: I only like glitter that does not shed and this is all contained in plastic, so it is safe glitter). I now have the perfect planner (until someone makes one that like more). Yay.

 

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Top 5 Snacks that are sort of guilt free.

  

peanut butter pretzles  

Are you a snacker? I find that eating every four hours works best for me so I usually eat three meals and a snack each day. I have never been much of a snack food eater, so I don’t stock the pantry  with things like chips and crackers but that doesn’t mean I avoid all snacks. The above photo is of my ultimate weakness, peanut butter filled pretzels. These are the HEB brand and are available both in the chip aisle and in the bulk foods aisle. I prefer to buy them in the bulk aisle so I only buy a handful as I have no self control. They never last more than one day, no matter how big the bag! Regardless if they’re pretzels or a bit healthier, my favorite go snack foods are easy to grab and usually a combo of salty and sweet. I will often have my snack within half an hour of a run or workout so I like snacks that fuel me as much as possible. These are my go to top five, sometimes I add in new ones but I usually come back to these:

1. Apples and peanut butter (or almond or sun butter). My lifelong favorite snack and Fuji apples are my go to apples.

2. Hummus and raw veggies. I usually go with cut up cucumbers, carrots, peppers and grape tomatoes. Sometimes instead of the hummus, I’ll have a few olives.

3. Cold soup. A new addition to the list but I buy both in single servings and big bottles. There is a gazpacho that has a little oil in it and I feel fueled enough to run 3.5 miles after a cup of it.

4. Apricot rolls and almonds. Have you seen these rolled fruit thingies? I get them in the bulk food section and these are made from apricots, apples and a bit of coconut. A few of these and about 12 almonds is perfect.

5. Yogurt. I love yogurt even though it does not love me back. I finally found an organic lactose free one that I love though and now can eat it without getting sick…hooray!

What are your go to snacks?

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Current Inspiration

Umbrellas in Italy

I’ve been obsessing over umbrellas recently. I’m not too picky about the kind, in the ground or the the carry around variety are both equally impressive. I prefer them without people though. It’s the patterns for sure, but they tend to be on beautiful beaches and the rain, both of which tickle my fancy. I enjoy them so much that I have an entire board devoted to them! What are you feeling inspired by this week?

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Manic Monday

The Manatee, Dinosaur and Pig In Between Days Necklaces back in limited edition!
The Manatee, Dinosaur and Pig In Between Days Necklaces are back in limited edition!

There’s a lot of news from Manic Trout land this week, so I figured I should round it all up and share it with you here so you’re in the know.

1. I recently came across a large box of jewelry that was filled with extinct designs. As this happened right about the time I usually hold the annual summer sale, and they were already all packaged and ready to go, I decided to make a few mega deals along with dropping the sale prices. While quantities last (and I already sold out of many of the tiny charms) the Do You Know Me Necklaces are 2 for $20, the Young and Beautiful Earring are 3 for $20 Sweetest Thing Earrings are 5 for $20. There are many more deals to be had, so scoot on over to see what magic deals exist.

Fab

2. I designed 4 exclusive necklaces at the request of the awesome peeps at Fab! You are now able to purchase these at Fab.com in their year round store along with 2 other Manic Trout regulars. The peacock is my favorite!

3. Tomorrow at 11am eastern, an event I am doing at Joss & Main launches. The Resort 2015 Collection will be featured at special prices for one week.

Have a wonderful week!

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Dueling Schedules

Adam & Sierra
A rare evening when neither one of us is working.

Being self employed and having my studio at home makes it so I can have a pretty flexible schedule, however the flexibility factor has been being put to the test recently and everything is failing. You see, Adam now has a schedule that is typical to restaurant management and is all over the place. Neither of us are functioning very well with it. It took Adam a month to be able to do anything besides sleep in the hours that he’s not at work and by trying to go along with when his routine, I was loosing my mind. You see, I love a good schedule. It helps keep my head clear and the blues away. Adam also like a good schedule, but he has no choice…I however do. Somedays he has to be at work at 7am, some days 4pm and some days in between. Some night he gets home as late as 3am. When he gets home, the dogs go crazy and jump on my head and bark and as Adam is all amped up from work, he adds to the chaos and I wake up and can’t go back to sleep. Being a night owl anyway, the obvious choice was for me to work until 1 or 2am, so I’m up when he gets home. The problem is that on the days his schedule is the opposite of this, we don’t see each other as he goes to bed by 11pm and I am still wide awake. Honestly, it’s better than when I was trying to mimic his schedule, as Adam loves naps, he was making up for lost sleep, I was however just working through the longer days and exhausting myself. Mimicing his crazy schedule is not the answer. So what we’re doing seems to be the best option at the moment for us though. It’s just hard to get used to.

Do you have the opposite schedule as your spouse? How do you deal with it? Any tips for making sure you still get in a bit of face time each day?

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Top 5: Work Out Accessories

Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Running
Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Running

Yesterday I snapped a photo of my sneakers and IG’d that I mostly work out for the gear. This made me start thinking about what my favorite exercise gear actually is. This of course led me to want to write about it. As I run outdoors and do high impact aerobic videos indoors, I decided to run down my Top 5 for each activity…because what fun is doing something if you can’t accessorize…kidding! (not really).

Top 5 Work Out Accessories for Running Outdoors:

1. Lululemon Inspire Crop II pants. Thanks to my sister Holly who gave me my first pair for a birthday, these are now all I will run in for most of the year (until it gets cold). I love/hate her for it because they are amazing i.e. comfortable and they have this lovely behind the knee mesh which sort of helps you stay cool. BUT I now have an addiction to $98 running pants.

2. Wrist bands with reflector fabric for running at dusk, which I try to do in the summer as it’s so hot here in Texas. Also convenient for wiping sweat and snot off of your face. I throw them in the wash with the rest of the clothes that are soaked in sweat.

3. iPod Nano. Once I bought the nano, I never went back to a big ipod again for running. So perfectly tiny and can be worn in a watch band or clipped onto your clothing. I was wearing it as a watch but the cord running up my arm and the speed that I drained the battery by using the timer made me buy #4 and clip the nano to my shoulder strap.

4. A marathon watch. I bought this little Timex from Amazon for under $15. It’s perfect. It has a timer for running intervals (my favorite thing to do) and I can sweat all over it and beat it up and not feel bad. Note that I never run more than 4 miles so we can call it a “marathon” watch from here on out.

5. Asics Gel Kayano Sneakers. I discovered these about a decade ago and love them. I usually buy a new pair once a year and make them my indoor, aerobics shoe and then the pair that they replace become my outdoor running sneakers. I have had countless pairs of these and cannot recommend them enough for both activities.

Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Videos
Top 5 Work Out Accessories: Videos

Top 5 Work Out Accessories for Videos Indoors:

1. My two current favorite work out instructors are Jillian Michaels (I have 10 of hers, they are all awesome) and Kelly Coffey-Meyer (I only have 4, but all are great). Their workouts are fast, 30-45 minutes, intermediate and/or advanced and almost all full body toning. If you like high intensity, athletic style, aggressive work outs, these ladies bring it. There are no dance moves and nothing zen like about any one of their workouts (thankfully).

2. In my arsenal, I  have both foam covered weights and these hex hand weights, I prefer the hex. They have a longer hand area which is also thinner than the foam version, they just feel better in your hand. If you know you’ll sweat a lot, you may want to wear leather weight gloves with these (which are different from #3 as they lack weight…this seems more confusing than it is).

3. Weighted gloves. Filled with sand, they add weight when you’re punching the air. Especially useful with Kelly Coffey-Meyer workouts. I bought these on Amazon and made sure to get a ladies pair as my hands are small.

4. Kettlebell. This one is 10lbs and from Reebok and I think I bought it at Target. I love kettlebell workouts, they’re fun! I do get nervous sometimes that I will accidentally fling the thing through the TV, but so far no casualties.

5. As I already talked about the sneakers, this time I will mention the inserts. Every time I buy a new pair of sneakers, I swap out the insoles for Sof Sole inserts, specifically, the Althlete ones (bright blue with yellow bottoms). They make my feet happy.

June ended up being a fantastic month!
June ended up being a fantastic month!

I have one last thing to note. I have issues with keeping myself motivated to work out, especially when my schedule shifts or a time change occurs. One of my biggest motivators is to give myself a red dot on the calendar that hangs in from of my computer for each day that I work out. It feels amazing when they start to add up and the way my brain works, I want to keep adding more!

What are your favorite work out accessories?

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