Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Weekend Review

This past weekend was my idea of a perfect summer weekend. It was a great blend of relaxation and activities.

Friday night Joe and I hung out at the house catching up on our favorite new TV shows  while spending some quality cuddle time with Charlie. Anyone else watching Under the Dome? The story line is very fast action and a stretch to believe however, it's filmed locally so I get a kick out of seeing my hometown on the TV.

Early Saturday I met my parents at the dock and headed to the beach. Luckily I had company to join me, one of my good friends Sophi! It was a perfect beach day, there was not a cloud in sight. 

Perfectly Blue Water

Our piece of paradise

Enjoying the sunshine

Beach Boy

After spending all day on the boat I was pretty wiped out by the sun. So Joe and I spent a relaxing evening grilling out at the house. I hit the bed pretty early too. Does anyone else get completely exhausted from being out in the sun all day? 

Sunday we headed to church and lunch afterwards with our lifegroup. They chose Hops Supply Co. which has an amazing Sunday brunch menu. Their brunch menu ranges from farm fresh omelets to loaded breakfast burgers. They also have live music on Sundays which changes weekly. Their brunch is served all day too which is the best thing since sometimes we can't make it to the early morning brunch places.



Sunday night we headed over to a childhood friend's house for a cookout. We have been trying to plan a group outing forever and I am so glad we did. It was great that all the girls could get together and  all the significant others could hang out by the fire.

The wonderful hosts

How cute is this mason jar drink dispenser?

Roasting s'mores

S'mores and wine, perfect combination!


All the girls

So sad to see the weekend go but thankful to spend it with good friends!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New & Improved


I wanted to take a moment and introduce you  to the new and improved Sweet Carolina Belle! I have been working with the wonderful Tiffany over the last few weeks to create a beautiful blog design that reflects my personality and vision for the blog.

It feels like Christmas in July! Hope you enjoy the new look :)

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Food and Fittness: July 29- August 3

Food
I'm going to be honest, the end of the month is always clean out the fridge week at our house. The grocery budget is typically maxed out so there are no more trips to the store until payday. Fortunately, we have a small garden to supplement our pantry staples and frozen foods. Based on what we have on hand here is our dinner menu for the week. 

Monday: Santa Fe Chicken

Tuesday: Southwestern Tilapia

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Salsa Chicken

Friday: Burgers and Corn on the Grill
Our produce box is delivered on Thursday afternoons and I looking forward to grilling out again this weekend! One of our favorite things this summer has been grilled corn so easy, healthy and delicious!

Fitness
        Changing my focus from running to Insanity was such a great choice! I am now on the second week of the Insanity training schedule. This past week I tackled each workout at least once. I have been so sore but in a good way! My favorite video is the Cardio Circuit. In the video, you complete two different series of circuit drills for three rounds. There is a 30 second rest between each round. Each workout in the circuit focuses on a different skill and muscle group. So, when your arms are exhausted from push-ups you get a break next exercise with plank work. It makes the 40 minute workout go by so fast!  In addition to Insanity, I am going to continue to add strength training this week. 
"It's very hard at the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit."

Workout Schedule 
Sunday: Pure Cardio
Monday: Pylometric Cardio Circuit 
Tuesday: Cardio Recovery w. Strength Training
Wednesday: Cardio Power & Resistance w. Strength Training
Thursday: Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs w. Strength Training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Fit Test w. Strength Training

Best wishes,

Ashley

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Weekend Wants: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I have been swooning over the great deals currently at Nordstrom's thanks to their anniversary sale. Unfortunately, the closest store is about two hours away so I am just browsing for now. I know my wallet will thank me however I think my wardrobe feels differently.  Hopefully, we will have one nearby soon and I won't have to window shop via the internet much longer!

Below are my favorites I your in the mood to shop this weekend!

Nordstrom Sale

Nordstrom Sale by sweetcarolinabelle featuring stuart weitzman shoes

Best wishes,
Ashley

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five on Friday

For five on Friday today, I'm sharing my five favorite finds this week from the world of Pinterest!


1. Peanut Butter Meringue Pie- I have a not so secret love for dessert toppings. I believe they are the best part of almost any dessert. Crumble toppings on cobblers, icing on cakes and meringue on pies. This dessert combines my favorite topping meringue with one of my greatest indulgences peanut butter. This recipe is going to be tried very soon! 
2. Simple Juice Recipes-  On a healthier note...(hey, it's all about balance) ever since I received my juicer I have been searching for simple ingredient recipes to try. These recipes all look delicious and include ingredients I usually have in my fridge. Win, Win! My favorite is the morning energizer.


3. Honey Sesame Chicken Wraps- Crock Pot recipes are quickly becoming one of my favorite cooking methods this summer. I love being able to fix it and forget it. These honey sesame chickens wrap pack a lot of flavor while still being quick and healthy which keep both me and my husband happy!

{via}

4. Easy Updo-  I am guilty of throwing by hair in a bun and running out the door on more days that I like to admit. This bun is a cute alternative to the regular bun when I am having a bad hair day.

5. 12 Things Successful People Do Differently-  These really spoke to me this week. Especially as I am always wanting to make sure things are perfect and have a tendency to make large general goals.  I especially like making measurable goals and tracking their progress. That's the data driven part of me :)


What are some of your favorite Pinterest finds this week?

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday!

Best Wishes,

Ashley

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Skincare Routine

Once I graduated college, I started to notice lines and sunspots things that were never a concern when I was 21. I knew then it was time to change my skincare routine that solely consisted of face cleanser and moisturizer. Having been a fan already of Philosophy I turned to their skincare line to place some oomph into my routine. I absolutely love their line and all of their products smell amazing. I have tried other drugstore and department brands but always return back to Philosophy as my favorite. Here is my daily skincare routine.
Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine by sweetcarolinabelle featuring a philosophy face wash

1. Purity Face Wash- I use this every morning and at night. It has such a wonderful, clean scent and makes your face feel clean and refreshed. In the morning, I use this with my Clairsonic Mia for a deeper clean.
2. Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash- Once or twice a week, I use the microdelivery exfoliating wash in the mornings with my Mia. It is advertised that is gentle enough for everyday use. However, I have found that when I use it with the Mia that my face can get a bit raw if I use it more than twice a week.
3. Microdelivery Peel- I use this peel every two weeks. I love masks and the immediate satisfaction you feel and see in the mirror. This mask is amazing for getting deep down and removing any dirt and toxins that are lingering around.
4. Oxygen Face Cream- Over the past few years I have tried a huge variety of face creams trying to find one that works with my combination sensitive skin. This cream is jell like and leaves your face feeling refreshed without feeling oily.
5. Retin-A- I get this from my dermatologist to help with acne. Since it is prescription, it has a stronger amount of retanoids than you can find in over the counter products. I struggle with cystic and topical acne and have been using this product for years with very little flareups. It also helps with fine lines and wrinkles. I use this every other night  after I wash my face. If you don't go to a dermatologist there are also good over the counter products available now too.

What is your daily skincare routine?
Ashley

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Food & Fitness: July 21- 27

              Something about summertime brings out the urge for lighting up the grill. We have a charcoal grill which is wonderful for crisping vegetable to charred  perfection. So, this week I am determined to light up the grill and cook dinner myself! In review of last week's  menu our favorite dinner was the baked ziti. I doubled the recipe to have a freezer meal and to incorporate the abundance of produce we have currently. I am already looking forward to enjoying the extra casserole later in the season. 
Food

Monday: Crockpot  BBQ Chicken Tacos

Tuesday: Turkey Spinach Roll Ups

Wednesday: Honey Lime Grilled Chicken

Thursday: Grilled Pizza 
{via}

Friday: Girl's Night Out

Fitness
        After trying again this week to conquer a long run and then refusing to get up at 5am  to beat the heat I have decided to put my half-marathon training on hold. I know lots of runners brave the 90+ heat. However, I was feeling burnt out and was just running to cross it off my training plan. It was not bringing me much joy. I have decided that for my current goals that training for a half-marathon should be on the back burner and that's okay. I still hope to train for a half-marathon in November when the temperature drops back down a below to 75 degrees at 5am. 
       Since my focus is changing, I have decided to complete the Insanity training program! Insanity is a 60 day workout video program that focuses on max interval training.  Max interval training emphasizes intense 3 minute circuits  with short rests in between. This is the opposite from traditional interval training which you typically have difficult sprints for short amount of time. The workout plan is set up so that you complete  them 6 days per week, with one active recovery day. In addition, I am going to be supplementing the workout videos with weight training. 
Workout Schedule 
Sunday: Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Monday: Cardio Power & Resistance 
Tuesday: Cardio Recovery w. Strength Training
Wednesday: Pure Cardio 
Thursday: Plyometric Cardio Circuit  w. Strength Training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Cardio Power & Resistance  w. Strength Training

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!
Best wishes,
Ashley


Friday, July 19, 2013

Five on Friday

Hope everyone is having a great Friday!! Here a bit of my favorite things this week. 


1. I have been guzzling homemade detox water this week. I make a pitcher each night filling it with a handful fresh cut fruit and herbs. My favorite combos have been cucumber and mint and watermelon and mint.


2. This TED talk really spoke to me this week. The part that really stuck was how the 20's are the last critical period for adult development that can cause changes in your personality and brain development. I have been slacking majorly in my personal development. So I have made it a goal to spend less time on social media and a little more time engaging my brain and learn new things.  An easy way is to listen to start listening to more TED talks instead of Pandora on my evening walks.


3. On a less serious note, I stumbled upon this honest & hilarious comic on Facebook. I laughed out loud at several parts. In the end I really agree that running is about seeking clarity, even if it is just for a few moments.


4. Soaking up every moment of sunshine possible. Enjoying early morning runs, lazy pool/beach days and lunches on the waterway. Beach life at it's finest.


5. Charlie our favorite fur baby is officially 4 months old! He had his check up last week and had gained over a pound since we brought him home. This week he started puppy training classes. He is has already mastered sit. I am hoping we have a smart boy on our hands!

First week home

Four month check-up 


Hope everyone has a great weekend! We have plans to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather on the boat.

Best Wishes,
Ashley

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fruity Summer Recipes

There is something to be said for enjoying local fruit while it is in season. I have been known to finish off a  watermelon within a few days. The same can be said for my love of local strawberries and blueberries. Below are two recipes featuring blueberries that I whipped up this weekend which were both a big hit.
Blueberry Cheese Spread
(We ate it all up before I could get a good picture!)

Ingredients
1 cup blueberries
8 oz cream cheese
6 oz blue cheese crumbles
2 chopped green onions
1 clove garlic-minced
1/2 cup toasted pecans

Mix cream cheese, blue cheese, garlic & onions until softened. Gently fold in blueberries and half of the chopped pecans. Place mixture in serving dish, cover and chill over night. Cover mixture with remaining pecans before serving. I served it with pretzel chips and whole wheat Ritz crackers. 


Summer Sangria

Ingredients 
1 Bottle Pino Grigio
1 Cup St. Germain
1 Peach 
1 Cup Blueberries 

Stir ingredients in a pitcher or carafe. Soak for approximately 15 minutes (or longer if you’re patient.) 


Best Wishes,

Ashley

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weekend Review: School Psych

This past weekend a few close friends from graduate school came to visit me in Wilmington. We were together in the same School Psychology cohort  at East Carolina University. Now that we have graduated and moved across the state we try and get together at conferences and training during the school year. Since school is out for summer it was about time we had some fun together!

Friday night we went out for Mexican and margaritas at K38.






We spent the rest of the night gabbing and catching up. I taught the girls how to do the cups song from Pitch Perfect. I learned it as a camp counselor years ago so it was fun to teach it to a new crowd. I will not submit you to a video of us trying to sing but just imagine it sounded just like this :)


Charlie was a great host too! He had gotten a haircut for the occasion. He ate up all the attention and the falling crumbs.


On Saturday morning, we ventured out bright and early to try a Pure Barre class. It was most of the girls first time trying a class and by the end of the class we were all feeling the burn! In true yogi fashion we treated ourselves to coffee at Starbucks after class.

The remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon was spend laying out by the pool. The forecast had been predicting thunderstorms and rain for most of the weekend. Thankfully we lucked out with beautiful sunshine all day.


I got the chance to try several new appetizer and drink recipes this weekend. Thankfully they were both hits! Blueberry cheese dip and St. Germaine sangria both of these feature my  current favorite fruit blueberries! Recipes to come tomorrow :)



That night we headed to dinner at South Beach Grill. If you are visiting Wilmington or Wrightsville Beach and looking for a laid back local restaurant with wide menu that includes seafood I highly recommend South Beach. We shared an appetizer of seafood nachos which were smothered with crab and shrimp. Everyone loved their entrees too. The hit of the table was the seafood mac and cheese which was so huge and rich it could have been split between the four of us!


After dinner, we headed out to the beach bars. It was so much fun to have a few drinks, listen to live music and dance the night away.


We enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning complete with Bojangles before everyone had to pack up and head home. It was a blast hosting all of them this weekend and it has made me excited for future cookouts and dinners at our place soon!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Food & Fitness: July 15- 20

Unfortunately due to dinners out, birthday celebrations, and having company over last week meal plan did not go as planned. One recipe that I was determined to try was this cherry roasted tomato sauce which was a hit! I am excited to have new recipes that incorporate produce from our garden. In regards to fitness and workouts, I was able to keep up with my running and strength training during the week. Due to hectic fun weekend I was unable to complete my long run.  So I am going to get a few extra miles this week to make up for it.
Food
  I think your going to start seeing a theme here. Again this week's dinner menu is all about simple and healthy.

Monday: Santa Fe Chicken

Tuesday: BBQ Turkey Burgers with Grilled Corn
Above is my go to recipe for grilling corn. Instead of adding herb butter as it calls for in the recipe I am going to try Laughing cow herb and garlic cheese wedges.  

Wednesday: Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables 

Thursday: Company Pot Roast

 Friday: Honey Sesame Chicken

Fitness
Monday: Upper body strength
Tuesday: 6 miles
Wednesday: Interval workout, upper & lower body strength 
Thursday: 5 miles
Friday: Interval workout & upper body strength
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 3 miles

As you can see I am still trucking along with the half-marathon training. No complaints so far besides the heat! On longer runs I try and get up before the sun has risen to beat the heat. It is not so fun waking up at 5 on summer break but it still beats running in 80+ degree weather as soon as the sun rises.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!
Best wishes,
Ashley