Friday, November 29, 2013

Rev It Up | Healthy & Fit

Happy Black Friday!! I just returned home from a two hour shopping trip. I set out to buy some cute black boots and Christmas gifts and ended up just buying a new pair of tennis shoes for myself. Here they are!!! Mine are turquoise (DUH) and pink! It was something I needed but It was not what I left my cozy, warm house for. When I got back, I realized that I still hadn't made my trip to the store to get groceries so I decided on a slice of homemade coconut cream pie and an extra tall glass of water. I mean, It's the day after Thanksgiving - left overs are expected. Right after I ate the pie I realized that I really should do something active today, so I will be dragging a roommate around the neighborhood later for a walk. I've been taking mental notes for the last couple of weeks about my next healthy & fit post. I have a lot to tell you, so get comfy!

First off, you can't get discouraged from the holidays. If anything now is the time to push yourself even harder. I was reading in Fitness Magazine last week and came across an article that I connected with. The article was about getting back into the swing of things and climbing out of your rut. So many times I've given in on eating healthy and working out because I wasn't seeing immediate results and I was sulking in a rut. Everyone I'm sure has been there before. As I read through the rest of the article I realized that I really did know people that were also having similar problems. So here are some of the ones that really stuck out.

You feel stuck. Your to do lists of laundry, chores and obligations are taking over and you have to force yourself to do your workout. RECHARGE!!

You've hit a weight-loss plateau --> Once you drop pounds, your body becomes more efficient at burning calories, which can make losing weight more difficult. #TurnUpTheBurn go faster, not longer! A high-intensity session zaps more calories after you stop working out. Adding strength or weight training can also help with weight loss.

Your social life has stalled --> Nurture your relationships. Life is always changing: people find new jobs, get married, have kids and move. To forge better connections, try other ways of spending time together. Invite friends to join you in a new workout class or try cooking classes, brunch or a movie night. You can even volunteer somewhere or join a book club you like and be more apt to find people that you click with.

You used to look forward to your workout, but now you can barely drag yourself to the gym --> If you've been doing the same exercise routine for a while, you've probably hit the wall. Your brain is simply crying out to be challenged. Take a class or try an activity you've never done before. When you're learning a new skill, your muscles - including your mental ones - will get a better workout that they did from your old sweat session because they haven't yet adapted. Feeling the exercise working will invigorate you.
Now find some motivation, some healthy recipes and quick at home workouts that you can throw into the mix. One of my favorite websites is TONE IT UP! There site is full of everything you need and come January you can watch them on BRAVO. I'm going to have to clean out my tevo list to make room! You can also follow them on twitter @toneitup & on instagram @karenakatrina to stay up to date on everything. I really recommend signing up for their email newsletter too! You always get yummy recipes, new workouts and get updates before its on the website.

 Have a great weekend! See you in December :)
                                              xo, Erica

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

totes love tees | Fashion


So I saw that this post was still getting a ton of hits so I figured I would updated it!

I grew up in t-shirts. Some were from Limited Too, others had the face of the current pop star. My absolute favorite's were t-shirts that weren't even mine. You could always find me in my grandparents closet pulling out a huge t-shirt to run around in. I didn't care what it said, I just wanted that big, comfortable t-shirt. I'm sure I looked like a little ragamuffin prancing around the house with extreme bed head. Give me a break - what else is a 7 year old supposed to do? It was the 90's after all, big & baggie was in. As I got older they turned from dresses to normal fitting t-shirts. All throughout middle school and high school you would constantly find me wearing blue jeans, flip flops and t-shirts. You could say it was my signature look. Recently cute classic t-shirt are back in style, especially with college kids. I've been waiting for Christmas to splurge on some favs of mine so I figured I would share and let you all know where you can get them. I'm sure over the next couple of weeks there will be a sale so keep your eyes and ears open!!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Not Your Average Thursday | Thanksgiving

It's just a few days away! I couldn't be more excited to gather the family and spend the day watching football, eating some delicious food and spending time with those I'm thankful for. This year I decided that I wanted to bring a side dish and a dessert to Thanksgiving. I do seem to think I'm some masterful chef that could beat any competitor on Iron Chef or Chopped. Whenever it's on I just get sucked in and start thinking of what I would cook. I've been doing it for years and still haven't lost. Joking but not really. When I realized that I had less than a week to decide what I wanted to bring I went straight to my trusty pinterest board. Where I found exactly what I needed to narrow my options down. As of now - I'm still not completely sure but I have a final three. So here they are the dishes that I've deemed worthy of our table this year. Lets be honest, I will probably end up making all of them. I found this assortment by Better Homes and Gardens of their Top 30 Thanksgiving Side Dishes. As any chef would do, um yeah - chef, I started browsing and was a little too intimidated to try and create some but found these three that I'm sure will turn out perfectly. I realize that these really aren't healthy at all but I mean Thursday is going to be my cheat day. I'm sure that most of America will be having their cheat day this coming Thursday. So don't feel bad, we all sleep it off a couple hours later right? Right. Then we go back for more :)
Here are my final three:
I really want to make all three but I have a feeling that my grandma will not be okay with me making two of the main staple dishes. I will however be making that dessert. Oh Lord the calories. That's what bootcamp's for right?! I hope you are all having a great weekend :)
                                                                       xo, Erica

Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter Threads | Fashion

As my Christmas trip gets closer and closer I find it harder and harder to not give into all of the INSANE online deals. Since I'm on my 6 Week Challenge & still losing weight I don't want to buy a lot of new clothes for my Christmas trip because I plan on continuing with my weight loss after the holidays. So why would I buy a ton of new clothes that won't fit in a couple more months anyways. I have already bought a few main staples and elastic waistbands are my go to! I know that Pinterest is overloaded with winter clothes right now so I wanted to clear everything out of the way and show you my must haves. All of these items are off of my THREADS board on pinterest. Check it out - follow me and shop away my little elves! (You can click the item and follow the link to purchase!),default,pd.html?dwvar_2K0266_color=39&start=7&cgid=Womens-Fleece-Outerwear
Do you think there is anything that I've missed?! I know I left out the jewels but I will go over that soon enough. Probably next week once things slow down for me. Until then I leave you with love!
                                                                xo, Erica

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

BUMP DAY | Celebrate this week Kelly Clarkson announced that she was expecting her first child. Even though I don't personally know Kelly, I couldn't help but be happy for her. Since her days on American Idol she has come a long way. This fall she got married - DID YOU SEE HER WEDDING PICTURES?! She was gorgeous!!! I had heard somewhere that they were wanting to get pregnant by Christmas, so cheers to her and her new hubby. I can't think of a better announcement around the holidays.

I've come to the decision that the marriage and baby bug is in the air. Since June 3 people that I know have gotten married and are expecting - all with honeymoon babies! Crazy right?! I'm so extremely happy for all of them, they are all great friends and I can't wait to meet the beautiful little angels come spring/summer for their arrival. I have been emailing back and forth with a few of them discussing nursery ideas, names and fun festivities so I have all things baby on my brain. I have loved discovering all of the new things that are in the world today for babies and new moms. It's a completely different world compared to my diaper days. Here are some really cute ideas I've found for the baby shower.

Both are from my pinterest board DUKES & DOLLS.
Here is a picture that I took of my lovely friend and P+P contributor Rachel. I had a few ideas and we didn't have very much time so she remained in the same outfit as we changed locations. The first location was a stable just down the street from her house that is framed by a darling white fence. I was hoping to have some horses grazing in the back but they were all in a different area. The second location was their backyard underneath the pergola that her and her husband were married under.
I hope you all are having a great week!! Happy BUMP day :)
                                                                       xo, Erica

Monday, November 18, 2013

Mean Green Monday | Recipies

After a long weekend I was so tired this morning and really didn't feel like working out today, especially I had a little bit of a carb load last night. I mean it was the Bronco's vs. Chief's game and there was pizza. I'm so glad that my Bronco's won! Okay now back to Monday - I was tired and totally not in the mood to eat healthy or workout. So guess what I did, I ate healthy & worked out. I had a couple bumps today but I still made it work. I keep Greek yogurt in the refrigerator at work so when I got there this morning to eat it and discovered that it had been eaten by someone else I was a little annoyed. So I dug through my purse and the rest of the food I brought to eat throughout my day. I decided on a Think Thin protein bar and a bottle of water. Since I had the protein bar, that meant my snack between lunch and dinner was now gone. I knew that there was some reason I kept a bag of a natural almonds in my desk. They were my saving grace. I was starving by the time I got home and started making one of may favorite veggies to pair with some chicken I had baked over the weekend.
 I made asparagus!! It's so good! Just writing this right now make me want to go pull out my leftovers and eat it! I've tried cooking it a couple different ways but this is my favorite. I wanted to post the recipe for you all so that you can try it. I like almost all kids of veggies and I have my favorite ways of preparing them. I hope you guys like it! I've been eating like this or almost 5 years and I still get excited to make it!


Take the bunch of asparagus and remove all packaging. Rinse thoroughly and chop off the bottom (about 1 inch to 1.5 inches) of each stalk. Then lay them spaced out on a flat 9X13 pan - I like to line my pans with foil to keep it from sticking and to make clean up a little easier. Next I drizzle light extra virgin olive oil and lightly sprinkle lemon pepper and mrs.dash over the asparagus then stick in the oven at 350 degrees. I like to cook mine a little long, so it just depends on how crunchy you like it. I bake mine for 30-35 minutes. Serve & enjoy!!
                                                     xo, Erica

Friday, November 15, 2013

Boots & Southern Living | Lifestyle

Happy Friday! I am so pumped that the weekend is here! Lately my weekends have been super busy so I'm grateful to have a somewhat easy couple of days. Especially with all of the Holidays right around the corner. Weekends are about to be consumed by fun family memories, great meals and spandex pants. I welcome it all with open arms, this is my favorite time of year. This year is going to be a little different for me since I wont be here for most of it. I will be keeping you all updated on my fun scavengers while away.
I'm not sure if any of you know but I am a huge music lover. My entire life I have grown up listening to music at least for part of my day. I like a wide genre from pop, jazz and R&B to rock, bluegrass, folk and most of all country! For a short amount of time when I was younger my aunt worked for a local country radio station. She was always bringing me up to the studio, concerts and fun events. I met so many people and got autographs from so many great artists. I wish I still had them. I think that's why for so long I always said I wanted to be a country singer when I grew up. Now that I'm getting older, I realize that it still is a dream and passion of mine. Part of me will always want to run off to Nashville, who know maybe I will give it a shot here in the next year or so. Either way, it got me thinking. I have a really great connection to some songs and I started thinking about the kind of songs I would want to sing. One of my most favorite findings is "Goodbye California" by Jana Kramer.
I can't help but smile when I listen to it. It reminds me of growing up in the country and spending weeks at a time at the lake 4 wheeling and driving old country roads. I will always have that country girl in me that likes to get dirty and play outside. Even though I love the city and getting dressed up there are things that the country has that just make my soul happy. When your soul is happy you know you are right where you supposed to be. I really feel like I'm sitting right next to her in that jeep singing along and about to pull up at somebody's house for some yummy southern cooking, some fresh lemonade and a bon fire once the sun goes down. You can't tell me that doesn't sound good! Add in a handsome southern gentleman and I'm in HEAVEN. Some of you might recognize Jana, she was on One Tree Hill. I didn't know - I never watched it - but she is super fun! Earlier this week I bought tickets for the tour she is on since she's coming though Oklahoma. I might even win some meet & greet passes! Keep your fingers crossed for me!!
                                                                     xo, Erica

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sloane Merrick | Interview

Happy Tuesday loves! I hope you all had a great weekend and are looking forward the rest of the week. I can't believe how fast this month is already going, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! I'm responsible for bringing a dinner dish and a dessert. Do you all have any ideas for me?!

If you follow Peaches + Planks on twitter (@peachesNplanks) then you know there is an exciting addition coming.. It's here!! We are introducing interviews! About every 2-3 weeks we will be posting new interviews. Recently I've been inspired to live your dreams and really experience life. All of these interviews are done with keeping that in mind. We hope you enjoy them!


 Sloane Merrick
Instagram: sloanegodmillionaire

P+P: When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
SM: Not until I was 20!

P+P: Growing up, was there someone you inspired to be like or someone that you admired artistically?
SM: I actually admired dancers & actresses very much growing up.  My parents exposed me & my siblings to the great classics when we were young, like West Side Story, Oklahoma, Carousel & even comedy icons like Gilda Radner & Lucille Ball.  I thought Rita Moreno in West Side Story was the most perfect thing I had ever seen.  I wanted her dress & to dance like her!  My mom was also a very accomplished, ballet dancer for a good part of her life, so I know that affection comes from her as well.  I still admire dancing so much today.

P+P: What is your aesthetic?
SM: Great question!  What I feel personally & what has also been repeated to me is a mix of primitive & sophisticated themes revolving mostly around nature & textures.  I use a lot of clean lines & color to communicate a certain amount of whimsical & supernatural content.

P+P: Who are some of your favorite artists? Have you met any of them?
SM: I just think Van Gogh was absolutely brilliant, I feel he's my most favorite & I find his personal life very intriguing.  I do love some of the other masters like Da Vinci & Monet.  I have drawn much inspiration from Georgia O'Keeffe as well.  A wonderful woman named Jena Taylor from West Texas is an incredible artist that I look up to & admire & she took me under her wing for an entire year & mentored/taught me art.  I owe so much to her....a beautiful woman inside & out.

P+P: Describe your definition of being an accomplished artist.
SM: Another great question!  This is good to talk about, b/c there are so many definitions & in my opinion, many damaging & inaccurate ones.  For starters, I feel like we have to talk about what art is to answer this question.  Art is communication.  There is a lot of self expression out there that is coming through artistic mediums but that does not make it art....that is basically displaying your journal through paint.  It doesn't mean that it's not beautiful or to be admired, but art is effective communication & is more than just a person throwing up their feelings onto a canvas.  An example of the difference between the two is someone saying "I'm angry"....that's self expression.  Art says "I'm angry about this particular issue & this is why it's wrong & this is why I'm using these particular materials to communicate that - they are helping get my point across".  Do you see the distinction?  Real art forces the artist to be an effective communicator & be more specific- it takes the material from just fleeting emotions to an intelligent state that can actually help the observer take their message seriously & read it correctly.  So with answering that question first, I feel that the definition of being an accomplished artist is becoming more & more advanced with your ability to communicate.  There is much soul searching & self discovery that comes with the process & it's incredibly important to not only establishing your aesthetic but making great art that lasts.  Great storytelling will last for centuries, b/c the human heart will never grow tired of it...ever.  There is a lot of "art" that is selling right now that is not art & a lot of people calling themselves "artists" who are not artists at all & I do believe it is that black & white.  Sales & money should not call the shots as far as defining an artist. I think when an individual focuses on being a great communicator, the rest will follow & they will have a lasting career.

P+P: What has been your most memorable work of art?
SM: This last installation I did in TriBeCa called "Michael & Joan" was monumental in my life.  It's much too personal to go into, but there were so many internal & spiritual battles going on, that at times, I honestly didn't think I could finish the project.  Things of spiritual & supernatural value are so fulfilling to paint & create but can also challenge your true beliefs & what really holds your foundation together.  It's an incredibly significant wrestle though; one we must all confront.  Just like when Jacob wrestled with God, I had my own tangle with Him as well.  Jacob was never the same again after & I honestly feel that was my experience....that project changed me & I haven't been the same since.  I feel that those themes can even be seen in the work, there is a rugged nature to the angel wings- a strength that is vibrant, colorful & almost warlike & the overwhelming anthem of Joan of Arc's life was battle.  It stirs me up even now as I write this & brings me to tears all over again.

P+P: Do you display your own work in your home?
SM: Not really :)

P+P: What did you feel like that first morning you moved to New York? Do you still get that feeling?
SM: Scared!!!  In some ways yes.  There is no place like it & I think the beauty of NYC is it's undeniable ability to show a person how small they are in the world.  That discovery will save a life.  To realize how many people are on this planet & everyone is faster, stronger & more talented than me & God says my life matters.  I realized quickly how fleeting life really is & my efforts are only going to destroy me.  The energy of New York is so electric though, I love it & NYC changed my approach to art completely.  I think every artist needs to spend time in the Big Apple.

P+P: What are some other ways you let out some of your creativity?
SM: You know, I am more passionate about creating beauty than I am about making art.  I pursue beauty in lots of ways but I actually LOVE beauty products. :).  I am a true product junkie & it may sound odd but reading beauty blogs & watching beauty tutorials inspires me soooo much.  It will stir my creative desires much quicker & in a much larger way than looking at a piece of art ever will.  Self nurture keeps my gift alive in me.  I also get a lot of enjoyment out of giving my friends & family "spa" days.  Pampering them gives something back to me in a really rich's so bizarre how that helps my art, but it does!

P+P: What is your favorite place in the world? Do you paint when you're there?
SM: The mountains & yes absolutely.

P+P: In what ways do you challenge yourself creatively?
SM: I don't know if I have any methods or exercises that I practice for that but one incredibly LARGE & important lesson I learned in New York is that no one has arrived.  There is always something to learn & to try to cap that is very damaging & will leave my work & myself very stagnant.  It doesn't mean you lose yourself or lose your methods but weaving new ideas & concepts into your creative DNA keeps things fresh & evolving,  I think we do this God too often too...we think we have figured Him out & have learned all there is to know about Him but scripture says He's the inexhaustible One.  If that is the case with God, how much more with art?

P+P: How would you describe the last 5 years?
SM: Another great question!  Without a doubt, in the last 5 years, I have become more whole.  And that is something I want to keep pursuing until the day I die.

P+P: What is something most people don't know about you?
SM: I have been mellow & quiet my whole life, but what surprises a lot of people is that I'm kind of feisty.  A lot rolls off my back, but the stuff that doesn't roll off, you're going to hear about. :) 

P+P: What is the best advice you've ever been given?
SM: So much!  If I had to narrow it down though, the best "advice" has come through an author named John Eldredge & its that the heart is central.  When we neglect our hearts, like clockwork, we will lose it & to lose heart is to lose everything.  I have personal experience with this.

Visit Sloane's website: Sloane Merrick Art
                                              xo, Erica

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Veterans Day

I've been drifting from Facebook lately since most of my friends are using Instagram & Twitter but every now and then I will browse around. As I'm getting older I've noticed my friends are starting to post things that are inspiring and some are even life changing. Today I scrolled over a post that had a video attached. As my eyes quickly scanned over some of the words I read "Homeless Veteran Transformation". Since I had just added things to my to do list and calendar on Monday I saw that it was Veterans Day. I have family that have and are currently a part of the military so I made a mental note to send them a little love and appreciation on Monday. I scrolled farther down and something in me was intrigued and wanted to scroll up and click the link to read the article and watch the video. My first thought was that It would be a man that had taken pictures over time to show his appearance change as he had struggled over the years with alcoholism and being homeless. As the video started I became aware that the time lapse video wasn't from the past, it was going into the future. A woman appeared and started cutting his hear and trimmed his beard. He then changed into a crisp white button up and suit. Towards the end the pictures turned to become a video of the man seeing himself after the transformation. His reaction is so pure and honest. He gets up and moves forward to hug a man behind the camera. I'm guessing it's the same person that reached out to him to see if he would volunteer for the transformation.

Seeing videos like this made me realize that there is still good and honest people in the world. There is so much hate and judgment today, in the papers and on television. Sometimes I think I'm a little sheltered from what the world really is today. Living in Tulsa is completely different than living in other places of the world. It's known as the belt buckle of the bible belt, so everyone and everything is extremely conservative. There is a huge sense of community and anyone can feel at home here. I think we should all make a conscious effort to reach out to those that can't help themselves. You never know, it might just take a cup of coffee and some time spent catching up. Happy thoughts!

                                                          xo, Erica

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Confidence | Lifestyle

Hi everyone! I hope today finds you well! I've been so busy with my 6 WEEK P+P CHALLENGE so I feel like I'm neglecting all of you. I'm trying to keep a minimum of 2 posts per week so stick with me! Tonight I am writing from my dining room while I'm waiting for my chicken to finish cooking. I'm making a delicious chicken tortilla soup but with my own little twist. Since I'm eating super healthy I figured I would find some yummy new recipes to try. I've really been craving soup and your typical cluster of fall favorites, roast/stew/chili. They aren't terrible but not really clean enough for me to be eating while on my challenge. I will test this one out and let you all know how it turns out!
I've been wanting to write this post for a while but I just haven't found the correct time and honestly have felt a little bashful about writing it to begin with. I just feel that this issue is pretty important and that it should be brought up.
Growing up I was constantly surround by strong, powerful women. Women that would stand up for themselves and women that exuberated confidence. I truly believe that because I witnessed it, I myself became confident. Don't get me wrong, I had embarrassing moments where I wanted to crawl into a whole. Moments that I would never dare speak of again. We all have those moments but the best moments are the ones that follow. The moments where you shine and are challenged to push beyond the embarrassment to show that it doesn't matter. The only person that controls your confidence is you! I hate hearing young girls try to destroy each others confidence instead of building each other up. You should always instill a sense of pride into young women. Maybe even get in the habit of encouraging women daily, in your work place, school or even your family. I can't tell you how often I hear my younger cousins tell me about girls in their school that are so hateful and have no respect or themselves. I can tell you that most of those girls are probably lacking confidence. Don't let others misunderstanding and lack of confidence keep you from shining.
                                                xo, Erica

Friday, November 1, 2013

6 Week P+P Challenge | BIG NEWS

Happy Friday everyone! I'm sorry this posts comes a few days over due. I've been so busy this week! I wanted to update all of you on my progress so far. It's only day 5 & I've already noticed a huge difference in my energy and body. For those of you who don't know I've been super motivated lately to get healthy. I figured that I could do a 6 week challenge to be looking great for my Christmas trip and to kick start a new healthy lifestyle. I began on Monday and it will end just a week before my trip. I think I'm going to do a juice cleanse that last week! Do you all know of any good ones I should  try? After my Christmas trip I will post the challenge on the Healthy & Fit page so that you can all get my tips and recipes. I've been pretty surprised at how easy it's been so far. The only difficult thing I've come across is caffeine. I was a HUGE dr.pepper fanatic so when I went cold turkey I was left with some pretty agonizing headaches. After the second day I couldn't stand it so every other day or so when it gets pretty bad I just drink some herbal tea. It almost immediately gets rid of my headache. One of my favorite tea choices is TAZO - which you can find at almost any store & Starbuck's. My usual tea choice is a VENTI CALM & REFRESH (together in one cup). Just the smell could cure my heachaches. You should totally try it! Everything else has been pretty easy, I've been prepping all of my meals the night before which has made it a ton easier. I can just grab it and go in the mornings on my way out. Do any of you have some healthy recipes you want to share? I have 5 more weeks to go and would love some new stuff to try!

There are going to be some awesome new posts coming soon! I've been interviewing some of the favorite people in my life! Those who have chased their dreams and really made stuff happen. I can't wait to share them all with you! I can't express how important it is to have people like that in your life. So many friend quotes are coming to mind right now, one in particular being; "Show me your friends & I'll show you your future." I never really understood why people made such a big deal about friends until the last couple of years. It's crucial, you want friends that lift each other up. Friends that are positive and that will work hard. I can't wait for you all to read them and meet the people that inspire me! Have a safe weekend!! Oh & Happy Late Halloween :)

                                                                                                       xo, Erica