A DIY, healthy lifestyle, and orgainzation tips blog from a simple high-country gal! Keep checking back for posts about "healthifying" classic recipes, my DIY projects, and tips about organizing and easier ways to clean your home!

about the blogger

Hi! My name is Jessica and I am a graduate student studying Environmental Science. I would say I am a Western-raised girl with Southern values about the home and family. This blog is called "High-Country Happy" because I believe I have found my forever happy place in this mile-high city I currently call home ;)

To learn more about me please visit my: ABOUT ME
10 tips for getting your workout in!

highcountryhappy:

image

So, its been a process…but here are some tips I use to make sure I make it to the gym for my mon-wed-friday dates! These are just what works for me and hopefully can be of some help if you are wanting some motivation to get your workouts in :)

  1. Make it part of your routine. What works for me is going every Monday & Wednesday before my yoga class. I don’t have any classes on Friday - so I make sure I always take the opportunity of free time to hit the gym!
  2. Do a workout you enjoy. I do yoga and also have found a treadmill spot I like looking out the window ;)
  3. Change up your workout once in a while. This not only helps build your muscles/burn fat faster (because your body can get used to your same old workouts), but it also can make working out more fun and therefore you are more likely to go! 
  4. Workout outside when you get the chance. In the summer months I also love to ride my bike, go hiking, and play disc golf in addition to my gym sessions. Running outside is also a fun option for summer!
  5. Get a workout buddy. This can definitely be motivating because you don’t want to let your buddy down by ditching them and your workout date!
  6. Always compete with YOURSELF. Try to beat your latest mile time or lift more than the last time you worked out. The challenge can be very motivating!
  7. Download some motivating workout songs. Whether its your favorite new song or a super up-beat techno tune - make your workout time a jam sesh!
  8. Update your workout playlist regularly. This one helps me from getting bored and dreading my workouts.
  9. Treat yourself when you reach your workout goals. This one is a little new for me, but I have decided that when I am able to run 10-miles in 1 week I will buy a new workout outfit.
  10. Embrace the endorphins! Notice the feeling you get after a good workout - it can be addicting ;)

These are in no-way scientifically proven and make sure to consult your doctor when starting a new workout routine ;)

- J

How to clean your bathroom in 10-mins or less!

highcountryhappy:

image

Cleaning your bathroom can be tiresome and well…gross! I use these tips to clean my bathroom in 10-minutes or less about twice a week. Keeping up with the cleaning really helps cut down on the deep cleaning I do once every few weeks.

  • Start by putting toilet bowl cleaner around the top rim of your toilet (let it soak - we will come back to it later!)
  • Use a multi-purpose cleaner to spray and wipe down your bathroom mirror, counter-tops and sink. (I like Windex multi-purpose w/vinegar)
  • Use the same wet rag or paper towel to wipe down the front of the cabinets and walls.
  • Use an anti-bacterial cleaner to spray and wipe down the outside of the toilet and shower tub and walls. Also wipe down the floor around the toilet.
  • Scrub toilet bowl with cleanser that has been soaking.
  • Quickly vacuum any rugs!

Make sure to put away anything you use to get ready in the morning daily! I have a fairly small bathroom so this cleaning plan usually takes me less than 10 minutes - and is a simple way to not be embarrassed when friends come over fairly unannounced and have to use the bathroom ;)

highcountryhappy:

Post-run yoga cool down
10 tips for getting your workout in!

So, its been a process…but here are some tips I use to make sure I make it to the gym for my mon-wed-friday dates! These are just what works for me and hopefully can be of some help if you are wanting some motivation to get your workouts in :)

  1. Make it part of your routine. What works for me is going every Monday & Wednesday before my yoga class. I don’t have any classes on Friday - so I make sure I always take the opportunity of free time to hit the gym!
  2. Do a workout you enjoy. I do yoga and also have found a treadmill spot I like looking out the window ;)
  3. Change up your workout once in a while. This not only helps build your muscles/burn fat faster (because your body can get used to your same old workouts), but it also can make working out more fun and therefore you are more likely to go! 
  4. Workout outside when you get the chance. In the summer months I also love to ride my bike, go hiking, and play disc golf in addition to my gym sessions. Running outside is also a fun option for summer!
  5. Get a workout buddy. This can definitely be motivating because you don’t want to let your buddy down by ditching them and your workout date!
  6. Always compete with YOURSELF. Try to beat your latest mile time or lift more than the last time you worked out. The challenge can be very motivating!
  7. Download some motivating workout songs. Whether its your favorite new song or a super up-beat techno tune - make your workout time a jam sesh!
  8. Update your workout playlist regularly. This one helps me from getting bored and dreading my workouts.
  9. Treat yourself when you reach your workout goals. This one is a little new for me, but I have decided that when I am able to run 10-miles in 1 week I will buy a new workout outfit.
  10. Embrace the endorphins! Notice the feeling you get after a good workout - it can be addicting ;)

These are in no-way scientifically proven and make sure to consult your doctor when starting a new workout routine ;)

- J

How to Stay Organized!

highcountryhappy:

image

As most of you know, I would say those are my two main roles in my household - student and homekeeper (aside from loving girlfriend ;) ). It can get really difficult to stay organized at these two roles, especially when I am trying to be both at the same time! Here are some tips that I used to stay organized and remain calm while getting it all done:

image

  1. Make Lists! This is definitely a big one that I use each and every sing day. I keep a planner that I use to write down all my school assignments as I get them. Then sometime each morning (either while I am waiting for class to start or at home if I have time) I make a daily to-do list of things to do when I get home that afternoon. This normally includes things like: empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, do that homework assignment, and read that chapter. If things start to get really hectic I may also start a weekly to-do list and make a plan for each day.
  2. Keep moving. For me it is best to do all the work before play time. I know that that I have to/should do all my chores and school work before sitting down to watch my favorite show that I have recorded. Once I sit down it is definitely hard to get moving again so I ALWAYS make sure to at least do my daily house work before sitting down to relax. It is a little easier to do an assignment while watching TV than it is to try and multitask by doing chores.
  3. Stick to a routine. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same boring thing every day, but just do the things you need to get done in some order and it will be much easier/faster! Right after dinner I always do the dishes. Then I always pack our lunches for the next day; packing our lunches has saved us a lot of money! Right after that one of us always feeds the dogs.
  4. Make a budget. This is a new one for me, but budgeting means that at the end of each month I will always know where my money is. We make a plan of how much we will spend on groceries (for us this is about $300/mo), bills, rent, gas, household items, and eating out. Having this planned out stops us from splurging and eating out all the time or buying unnecessary stuff that we don’t really need or have space for anyways! More to come on budgeting (on a student budget) soon…

-J

Daily House-Cleaning Tips for Students & Working Gals

highcountryhappy:

image

I am a full-time student, work 20hrs/week and with a grown boy and 2 dogs at home, also need to be a full-time house-cleaner! Here are a few of my tips for keeping a clean home while also going to school and working. It has taken me a while to get into the swing of it, but if you do these few quick cleaning tips every morning and evening, you too can keep a clean home!

Every morning:

  • Make your bed! ***
  • Empty the dishwasher (if clean).
  • Reload the dishwasher with dirty dishes in the sink if necessary.
  • Wipe down all counters, table, and appliances you used for breakfast after cooking.
  • Wipe down the counter in the bathroom after getting ready.

Every evening:

  • Walk around the house with a basket and pick up everything out of place and put it away.
  • Clean off the kitchen table.
  • Load the dishwasher (and run if full).
  • Take out the trash.
  • Make sure all dirty clothes make it into the laundry basket and hang up all clothes (e.g. coats) you plan to wear again.

Weekly tips:

(Keeping up with these chores can make them take less time)

  • Vacuum regularly! (With my 2 dogs I vacuum at least twice per week).
  • Clean the toilet at least once per week.
  • Do laundry at least once per week.
  • Dust or wipe down all hard surfaces.
  • Mop floors (my apt is mostly carpet so this one is really quick!)

Cleaning a little bit every day is really the key to keeping a clean house! Once every few weeks I still need to take a whole Saturday or Sunday to deep clean my house, but it goes much faster when I do these quick cleaning tips each and every day. It is much less stressful living in a clean house and I seem to get much more school work done when my home is tidy and clean!

- J

So happy to get through this Wednesday! Andy is still at work (12+ hour day) and I am chugging along with my Thesis proposal and all my homework that got piled up into one day. Got over the hump of this week, bring on the WEEKEND!!!

So happy to get through this Wednesday! Andy is still at work (12+ hour day) and I am chugging along with my Thesis proposal and all my homework that got piled up into one day. Got over the hump of this week, bring on the WEEKEND!!!

How to clean your bathroom in 10-mins or less!

Cleaning your bathroom can be tiresome and well…gross! I use these tips to clean my bathroom in 10-minutes or less about twice a week. Keeping up with the cleaning really helps cut down on the deep cleaning I do once every few weeks.

  • Start by putting toilet bowl cleaner around the top rim of your toilet (let it soak - we will come back to it later!)
  • Use a multi-purpose cleaner to spray and wipe down your bathroom mirror, counter-tops and sink. (I like Windex multi-purpose w/vinegar)
  • Use the same wet rag or paper towel to wipe down the front of the cabinets and walls.
  • Use an anti-bacterial cleaner to spray and wipe down the outside of the toilet and shower tub and walls. Also wipe down the floor around the toilet.
  • Scrub toilet bowl with cleanser that has been soaking.
  • Quickly vacuum any rugs!

Make sure to put away anything you use to get ready in the morning daily! I have a fairly small bathroom so this cleaning plan usually takes me less than 10 minutes - and is a simple way to not be embarrassed when friends come over fairly unannounced and have to use the bathroom ;)

highcountryhappy:

image

I am a full-time student, work 20hrs/week and with a grown boy and 2 dogs at home, also need to be a full-time house-cleaner! Here are a few of my tips for keeping a clean home while also going to school and working. It has taken me a while to get into the swing of it, but if you do these few…

Healthy Potato Soup

Here is a healthier version of my mom’s DELICIOUS Potato Soup recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (~4 med-lg carrots)
  • 1 12oz pkg turkey bacon
  • 2.5 lbs potatoes (~8 sm-med potatoes)
  • 40 oz. chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 pkgs of instant potatoes (2oz each)
  • 1-1/2 cup milk (we use lactaid milk because Andy is lactose intolerant)

Directions:

Add chopped onion, chopped celery and shredded carrots to a large pot. Open turkey bacon and place length-wise on a cutting board, cut vertically to 1/2-inch slices. Add turkey bacon to pot and cook with veggies about 20 minutes.

Wash, peal and dice potatoes. Rinse in a colander and then add to pot containing meat and veggies. Cover mixture with chicken broth until all potatoes are submerged - about 40 ozes. Bring to a boil. Move to medium-low heat and cook until potatoes are tender - approximately 20 minutes. 

Next, add instant potatoes. For thinner soup, add only 1 package. For thicker soup, add both packets. I find that 1.5 packets makes this soup the perfect consistency for me. Add cold milk and stir. Wait about 5 minutes for instant potatoes to thicken. Enjoy!

- J

How to Thrive in a Live-in Relationship

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So, Andy and I have been dating for 2+ years and living together for about 1.5. Living together isn’t always easy, but I would have it any other way. Here are some simple tips for making it work:

  1. Be independent and get to know yourself! This is my number one rule. After a hard break up a few years ago, I vowed to never let myself be too dependent on a man ever again. Find things that YOU like to do and know how to make yourself happy. For me, its yoga and long walks with my dog.
  2. Treat your significant other how you want to be treated. Even when you are frustrated, no one wants to be sassed or yelled at.
  3. Never raise your voice. Take time to talk things out…calmly. If something is bothering you, set a time to chat instead of letting a little thing build up to a big fight.
  4. Be patient. Its no longer all about you. Learn to practice patience and understanding.
  5. Make sure to talk about sharing and budgeting. You will probably eat the same food and use the same toiletries and home goods. Make sure you talk about who is going to pay for what….For us this means splitting grocery and target bills in half. Also, if he paid for dinner last Friday, I can pick up the tag this Friday.
  6. Set some privacy rules, up front. He may not care if he pees with the door open, but if you want some privacy while you are in there make sure to speak up and tell him to knock!
  7. Take time for date nights and special nights in together. Eating dinner together and sleeping in the same bed every night can lead to the same-old-same-old type feelings. Keep your relationship exciting by making special time to go out to eat or have a romantic night-in.

- J

Tip for Fresh Herbs

Now, I’ve seen this tip EVERYWHERE - so I wont take credit for the idea. But here is my own version of the tip:

The best way to keep herbs fresh for longer is to place them in a jar or vase of water, like you would fresh flowers. Here, I have placed my parsley in a large mason jar with a few inches of water. You will want to change this water regularly (every day or two). This picture was taken after a few days of soaking…and since this picture it has been a few days to this post and the parley is still looking fresh and smelling great! Some people would suggest putting your jar of soaking herbs in the fridge to make them last even longer.

- J

How to Stay Organized!

As most of you know, I would say those are my two main roles in my household - student and homekeeper (aside from loving girlfriend ;) ). It can get really difficult to stay organized at these two roles, especially when I am trying to be both at the same time! Here are some tips that I used to stay organized and remain calm while getting it all done:

  1. Make Lists! This is definitely a big one that I use each and every sing day. I keep a planner that I use to write down all my school assignments as I get them. Then sometime each morning (either while I am waiting for class to start or at home if I have time) I make a daily to-do list of things to do when I get home that afternoon. This normally includes things like: empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, do that homework assignment, and read that chapter. If things start to get really hectic I may also start a weekly to-do list and make a plan for each day.
  2. Keep moving. For me it is best to do all the work before play time. I know that that I have to/should do all my chores and school work before sitting down to watch my favorite show that I have recorded. Once I sit down it is definitely hard to get moving again so I ALWAYS make sure to at least do my daily house work before sitting down to relax. It is a little easier to do an assignment while watching TV than it is to try and multitask by doing chores.
  3. Stick to a routine. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same boring thing every day, but just do the things you need to get done in some order and it will be much easier/faster! Right after dinner I always do the dishes. Then I always pack our lunches for the next day; packing our lunches has saved us a lot of money! Right after that one of us always feeds the dogs.
  4. Make a budget. This is a new one for me, but budgeting means that at the end of each month I will always know where my money is. We make a plan of how much we will spend on groceries (for us this is about $300/mo), bills, rent, gas, household items, and eating out. Having this planned out stops us from splurging and eating out all the time or buying unnecessary stuff that we don’t really need or have space for anyways! More to come on budgeting (on a student budget) soon…

-J

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