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5 Things I’m Loving This Week (+ why I’ve fallen in love weight-lifting!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

1. Reminders to Live Life with Abandon

This girl lives life with abandon. She doesn’t worry about tomorrow, she shows up fully for today and believes wholeheartedly that every single day is a good day to wear fancy hair — even if you’re just staying home all day.

I think God knew how desperately I would need constant reminders to embrace and celebrate life instead of just plowing through it in get-er-done mode, so that’s one reason He gave me this beauty!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week


As I told you earlier, I was reminded just how much I love Aldi this past week.

If you are looking to lower your grocery bill and have an Aldi in your area and haven’t checked it out, please do yourself a huge favor and go check ALDI out. It is basically one of my lifelong missions to get as many people as possible to regularly shop at Aldi. So it would make my day/week/month to find out I had convinced another person to give it a try! 🙂

For more tips and encouragement on shopping at Aldi, check out my post here.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Making Do With What’s in the Fridge

Now that I’m back to the menu-planning and grocery-shopping, I’m loving getting creative using with what’s in the fridge and freezer. One of the hit recipes from this past week was thisFrench Toast Bake. I never managed to get a photo of it, but it was a winner.

In typical Crystal style, I made some changes to the recipe. I used almond milk instead of regular milk. I used half almond milk/half half & half instead of cream. I used day old bread and hamburger buns I got marked down at the store. I used a mix of coconut sugar + brown sugar. And I used coconut oil instead of butter. Okay, maybe a few more than “some changes”, but even with all these changes, it was SO good!

In case you missed it, you can see our menu from this past week here. Pictured above was one night’s dinner — Chicken Sauce over Rice with broccoli and fruit (I was going to make a Chicken/Cheese/Broccoli Sauce over rice but changed my mind and did this instead.)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. All The Light We Cannot See

I’ve been listening to this book on audiobook, thanks to the FREE OneClickDigital app from our library, and I’m truly loving it. It took me a few chapters to really get into and I almost gave up on it, but I’m so glad I persevered.

It’s truly a well-written and deeply moving book. I’m especially struck with the way the author crafts words and sentences as well as weaving together stories is inspiring.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Weight-Lifting

I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but you’ll just have to pardon me while I (once again) gush about how much I’ve fallen in love with weight-lifting. Because I have. And I just can’t help but talk about it.

I’m especially loving it right now because I’m starting to really see the effects of all that time in our in garage gym every week. I feel so much stronger. I have muscles I never knew existed. And I feel more energetic and healthier than I can ever remember feeling.

I have gained muscle weight, but I’ve lost fat… and I’m truly seeing my body transform from being borderline too thin and lethargic, to strong, muscular, and powerful. I’m definitely nowhere near where I hope to be as far as my personal records go for maxing out reps and weights, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.

As an added benefit, I feel like this is helping me having fewer mood swings, feel more emotionally and mentally strong, and am emboldened and braver by my weight-lifting success to step out and try new things.

If you follow me on Snapchat, I post often about my workouts (in case you’re interested or would love the regular motivation to make fitness a priority). This week, I got to celebrate the fact that I finally mastered Skullcrushers — something I’ve been working on for weeks. And I conquered some of my ongoing fear of squats.

You can read more about why I’m weight-lifting and what plan I’m using here.

What are YOU loving this week? Tell us in the comments!

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  • B. says:

    Does Jesse have any suggestions for good workouts when you don’t have access to any workout equipment? I’d love to workout more, but we aren’t in a place to buy equipment or have a gym membership right now. 😛

    • Jessica says:

      You can use everyday items like filled water bottles or cans of food.

    • Amy says:

      B. I’m not Jesse 😉 but “You Are Your Own Gym” is considered the bible of body-weight workouts. 🙂 It’s what I plan to do next! There’s a book, DVD, etc. that you can choose between but it’s definitely designed to be done on your own without equipment.

    • There are LOTS of great workouts on YouTube that don’t require any equipment. You could also consider eventually investing in just a few bands and/or hand weights that are inexpensive (maybe a birthday or Christmas present idea??) that would allow you to do many, many more exercises.

  • Jessica says:

    1. A get-together of Ohio knitters, crocheters and spinners in the Columbus area. We met this weekend at a library and had a great time!
    2. One of the ladies brought these amazing dark chocolate covered dried mango, pineapple and coconut slices. Oh.My.Goodness!!
    3. I finished a tube sock for my son and started the second. He is so excited!
    4. I tried falafel and a chicken shawarma sandwich during a food truck festival. So good!
    5. We finally got a good rain- things were getting crispy here!

  • Jen says:

    I do weights too. I’m thin like you (no idea how you think you lost fat because I don’t think fat existed on you). It really helps me to tone my body and look healthy/not as skinny. I agree that it makes me feel healthy and I can feel when I don’t do it. I try to only do them every other day- someone told me it’s good to give your body a day to rest in between.
    I hate when people are envious I’m skinny- I wish I could gain a little weight! But muscles definitely add to me looking healthier.

  • Patricia says:

    I would love details to your workout plan that Jesse has made for you. I workout, but feel I need a detailed plan. I would love if you or Jesse could share your plan with me by email.

  • Amy says:

    (a) I LOVE her hair. 🙂
    (b) My boys and I also made a French toast bake this week trying to use up what was in the fridge! 🙂 First time I’d made one but my pastor-husband had brought home a lot of leftover French bread from church so I googled recipes.
    (c) I am so inspired by you and your weight-lifting! I have tried several strength programs and never got traction, but I recently finished 30 sessions of physical therapy and need to try again! My PT recommended body weight workouts as a good next step for me before I do weights. I’m trying You Are Your Own Gym!

    And what I’m loving this week:
    * My husband is on sabbatical starting tomorrow!! Much needed and I am so thankful our church does sabbaticals for the pastors now.
    * The Kate Spade necklace I got from Rocksbox. 🙂 Wore it to church today; gorgeous!
    * unsweetened shredded coconut
    * Playing the ungame with the fam; love that my boys enjoy doing that during dinner now!
    * an incredibly encouraging card and gift that a friend gave my husband and me at church today

  • Jayleen says:

    Wow! You’ve got some weight on that bar, too! Go, girl! I love lifting weights and have worked out at the gym for over 28 years! I started out at Living Well Lady, remember that chain? I aspire to having our own home gym but I also love the camaraderie I have found at our local gym.

    So many people talk about Aldi that when we were road tripping, I wanted to stop and check one out to see what all the fuss was about. Lol! My hubby wasn’t up for it;0)

    This week I am loving adventures with my teenagers! They are so much fun to hang out with!

  • Carrie says:

    Crystal I decided to start lifting again recently. I am at my ideal weight but recently don’t feel strong. I’ve been focusing on other goals lately and let my fitness decline a bit. (The good news is we’re halfway to our home-down-payment savings goal after only 3 months!!) Thanks for the reminder. I used to be a gym rat but now I do bodyweight exercise and use dumbbells for squats and lunges. I know what you mean about being too skinny and feeling weak.

  • Milissa says:

    I ❤️ lifting! Most people are surprised when I tell them that. They expect me to be “bulky.” But that’s a myth. Women don’t have enough testosterone for that. My weight didn’t change, but I went from a size 10 to a size 2-4. Heavy weights work! So this makes me super happy…I love to see women lifting. 🙂

  • I’m looking forward to the upcoming school year. It’s like a mid year reset for me every year now! I’d like to get back to exercising now that I spent a full year focusing on establishing my blog. I had never really considered weight lifting, but that photo of you is incredibly inspiring!

    This week I’m loving going to the fair as well as the fact that fair week is over and we get to rest a bit. 🙂

  • Aimee says:

    Isn’t Aldi the best? When I worked full-time my husband did the grocery shopping and he first discovered how much lower our grocery bill could be if we simply shops there.
    I love that you lift weights! I first started weight lifting when I did Chalean extreme and I find I really miss it when I don’t make the time to do weights at least 2 to 3 times a week.

  • Cassie says:

    Fitness Blender has lots of great free workouts on YouTube. Lots of ranges in times from 10 minutes for 90 minutes. I usually do a 30 minute workout when I get up in the morning.

    I’ve tried Aldi but I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the store brand items I purchased. Maybe I’ll try the produce again but I wasn’t impressed with it either. I like stopping at one store so I don’t want to have to go to Aldi and then to Walmart also. I use the savings catcher at WM so that adds up pretty quickly. I’m also using the other apps you suggested in the saving money with your smartphone email series. I’ve gotten about $40 in those accounts already in just a few weeks.

  • Heidi S says:

    I absolutely love weight lifting too! I love feeling strong and healthy and actually seeing muscles!

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