Jul 2, 2012

1 year anniversary


1 year of marriage. Wow. It feels like yesterday when I was putting on my white lace dress. But when I think about all that has happened this year, I am overwhelmed. So much growth, change, and learning has taken place in such a short amount of time. What I feel today is gratitude for the blessings I have been given this year. I have never been happier. I am taking this time to reflect on our beautiful and perfect wedding day.

Thank you Jordan Shepherd for loving me fiercely, leading our marriage with strength, and always putting Christ at the center. You are more than I could have ever asked for.

(and thank you for taking me to Cirque Du Soleil and the fanciest hotel, Conrad Hilton. You sure do know how to make a girl feel special.)

Happy anniversary, I can't believe I get to spend every year with you for the rest of my life!







Jun 24, 2012

6 steps to longer hair






Ever since I chopped off my long hair in October I've been dying to get it back. I researched the best ways to keep my hair growing and now I'm putting these tricks to the test. My hair is definitely growing fast and I have no doubt that all of these new methods are working. If you're interested in growing your hair or just keeping it healthy and strong, then you can do the following things. 

1. Ultra Nourish-Hair vitamins. Take one pill a day to load up on vitamins that help your hair to grow. You can purchase this at GNC for $12.99

2. No wash. The best thing to do is to not shampoo your hair everyday. If you are worried about your hair getting greasy, don't. It takes a few weeks to train it, but if you wash your hair once every 3 or 4 days, it will eventually stop producing extra oils. This is actually a lot healthier than damaging your hair with harsh product everyday.

3. No styling. The blow dryer and straightener should be used minimally if not at all. Most girls ruin their hair by styling it everyday with heavy heat, which frys your hair and slows growth. Summer is the perfect time to try the no style approach. Letting your hair air dry (without towel drying too much)  will work wonders for moisture and strength.

4. Oils. Castor oil, Jojoba oil, and coconut oil are all great oils to put in your hair to keep the moisture in. You can mix these oils together or use them separately. I will occasionally do a leave-in overnight treatment with all three oils using castor oil as the main base. It also helps to add daily oil to your ends to keep them from breaking and splitting.

5. Professional salon products. When you do shampoo and condition your hair, it is worth it to buy the more expensive products because they make a huge difference in the health of your hair. Matrix shampoo and conditioner is great, as well as Aveda products which are plant based and natural. I have used Aveda for years and I absolutely love it.

6. Regular trim. Trim your hair every 4-6 weeks. It's simple, and it really does help to get rid of dead ends. Your hair needs to be trimmed in order to keep it growing.


If you do all of these things, you can bet that your hair will be long in no time. Almost everyday someone says to me "your hair is getting so long!" or "did you get a new haircut? Your hair looks different." I went from a pixie cut in October to shoulder length hair in June. Now I can even fit my hair into a bun. I'm telling you, these things work. Just try them for yourself to find out.





Jun 10, 2012

10 Things for Summer






1. summer playlist (I get excited to re-create this every year). It's a must have for road trips with the windows down. A few of my favorites include Gold On the Ceiling by The Black Keys, Some Nights by Fun, Tongue Tied by Grouplove, and of course, Biebers All Around the World (with LUDA!)

2. juicing with fresh fruits and vegetables. If you're interested in some healthy juicing recipes, see this book.

3. therapeutic gardening. My job has given me a new appreciation for this soothing activity. Now I just need to get my own garden plot ready for tomatos, strawberries and basil.

4. coconut oil. Thanks to my friend, Anna Kujacznski, I have a new love for this magical product. I use it on my skin, my hair, and for cooking. Plus it smells heavenly, unless you're weird like my husband and you don't like the smell of coconuts.

5. cardio + kettle bell workouts. After doing this for the past few months now, I really can't imagine going through the week without it. Let me tell you, Kettle bells are the worst, but they really do give you a great strength workout.

6. CMT top 20 countdown. Yes, I love country music, and I'm not ashamed. I remember watching the countdown every week with my sister when we were little and loving the stories being told in the music videos. In recent years I have gotten behind in the country music world. It's time to get caught up.

7. clean out the closet. simplify and minimize. I do this as much as possible. It feels so good to get rid of all the clothes that I can't stand to look at anymore. You should try it.

8. hair growth. I really really miss my old hair, and I'm doing everything I can to get it back. Summer is the perfect time to boost the growing because I rarely have to style it. If you're interested in growing your hair quicker, I'll be doing a post soon on helpful hair growth tips that have really worked well for me.

9. New movies. I am counting down the days for these few films: Rock of Ages - June 15, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (yay Steve Carell!) - June 22, Brave - June 22, The Dark Knight Rises - July 20.

10. Time with family and friends before the big move. We are so thankful to have this summer to prepare and visit before we head to Colorado to help plant Front Range Church. We will be taking lots of trips to Michigan and also soaking up the time we have in Indiana. This is a summer to be with the people we love most, and to cherish every minute.


What are you excited to do this summer? Do you have any favorite activities to recommend?


Have a restful Sunday friends.



May 27, 2012

he does it again.

To My husband,

Thank you for being patient with me as I stress about this little blog. I sat on the couch for five straight hours yesterday designing, researching, and editing this thing until my eyeballs were dry and my bladder was exploding. You came home to a frustrated and weary mess of a wife, I apologize. Sometimes I get defeated by my lack of web design knowledge and html coding expertise. I always want this blog to be better, bigger, and sparkling with personality, but the reality is I can't have everything. You never fail to provide comfort and encouragement in my time of need, and somehow you always raise my spirits.

And then, you go the extra mile and design the coolest new header.

You're the best.
Meow ;)



May 21, 2012

Update

My apologies for my lack of blogging lately. Life has been so busy in recent weeks. 

Lets get you caught up. 

I started my summer job as....basically a gardener. I mulch, plant, weed, and water the plants on the IWU campus. I also drive cool little vehicles like Kubotas and gators. I honestly love getting up and getting in the dirt everyday while scoring bronze skin and arm muscle. therapeutic.  


I concluded my 4-Hour Body experience. It was a great and successful time of discipline, and it served its purpose. After hours of food documentaries and research, I have now moved to a whole foods plant based diet. And I can finally eat fruit!





went on a shopping trip to this place and got some new gear for Colorado. Mountains here we come. 




girls camping trip (yes we did put the tent up all by ourselves)





community garen plot, weeded and tilled. SO excited to grow my own veggies and herbs :)




new Trek road bikes as a graduation gift from our parents. It took a total of five hours in the bike shop including test riding and bike fitting. Afterward we went on a fifteen mile ride with my Dad, the triathlon man. 






witnessed the marriage of our close friends, Marie and Cory. One of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. 


(photo by George Flattery)


reunited with my bests from Michigan. Thank you Lord for these beautiful people. 








So far, May has been a great kickoff to a fun packed and carefree summer. We will spend the rest of it in the outdoors with friends and family and food from the ground and bike rides and road trips with a little bit of sleeping in. Just a little. 

And then... 

off to Colorado :) 












Apr 30, 2012

Graduated


WE ARE COLLEGE GRADUATES!!!

We took our finals, hosted a party, slept until noon, shook President Smith's hand, and had some quality time with family. It was a full week.

I have to say, I did get a little emotional during the commencement ceremony. As I watched my fellow  grads walk across the stage, I couldn't help but think about all of the memories we have made together in the passed four years. IWU has been the source of a lot of stress, but mostly a lot of joy and growth. During my time here, I have done missions in Greece, became a barista, started this little blog, got elected as Vice President of PRSSA, got engaged, lived in Ireland, spent a weekend in Paris, interned with The Boys and Girls Club, got married, and all the while forming deep and lasting friendships with some really amazing people. Now it's time to say thank you, and farewell.

And hey, we're done. We did it. We have bachelors degrees. What??!!!



graduating seniors party on Race Street!!!! 

celebrating our first day of post-grad life with breakfast at a new local diner

walking to the senior picnic at President Smith's house

Friday night baccalaureate ceremony

our lovely caps & tassels (plus Jordan's Cum Laude Honors cord!)

my boys.

about to enter the chapel!

Public Relations degree....

...Marketing degree

President Smith. Love that guy.

all the pretty grads

yayyyy!!!!


:) 

Dowell fam

Shepherd brothers & sisters

Shepherd fam

party at the Shepherd house with yummy food, coffee, Toby the dog, and gifts

Shepherd bro/sis Ben & Jerry's pajama party

A few of my gifts - leather name embossed Bible & a new road bike to take with me to Colorado!




To our parents,

You have made this experience possible. Thank you for all that you do for us. We can't express enough how much we appreciate your support and love and sacrifice. It is because of you that we are here living out our dreams. We love you!!!

- Alli and Jordan





Apr 20, 2012

Near The End






At 12:00pm today,  I walked out of my very last class session at Indiana Wesleyan University.

My college To-Do list is quickly getting smaller, and the feeling of freedom and accomplishment has started to settle in. I am relieved to say that I've completed my general class assignments, research papers, campaign final proposal, senior project portfolio, and the dreaded senior project presentation. Whew! 

After finals are over on Wednesday next week, I will be officially done with everything undergrad. I can't believe this time has actually come (it still doesn't feel real). Now I am preparing to soak up every last moment with the people I have made memories with over these four amazing years. 


This is a time to reflect, celebrate, and be thankful. Here comes the emotion roller coaster. 
I think the right word to use here is bittersweet. yes, very bittersweet. 





Apr 2, 2012

4-Hour Body: The Slow Carb Diet

Okay.

We know you are all very curious to hear more about this whole 4-Hour Body thing that we shared with you on this post. You have been asking us a lot of questions, voicing a lot of opinions, and shocking us with your interest in the 4-Hour Body. 

We want you to fully understand what this program/diet/thing is all about, so we will give you some of the basics from our diet. 

First of all, the book is big. The author, Tim Ferriss, does not recommend reading it all at once. He suggests choosing a few of the sections to read and focus on, depending on how you want to improve your body. We chose to do "The Slow Carb Diet" and "Building the Perfect Posterier" (gaining muscle/strength). For now, we will just try to unravel the Slow Carb Diet chapter for you. 

The Slow Carb Diet:

RULE #1: NO WHITE CARBOHYDRATES

prohibited: all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading. Tim Ferris says, "don't eat white stuff unless you want to get fatter" 

RULE #2: EAT THE SAME FEW MEALS OVER AND OVER AGAIN

"The most successful dieters, regardless of whether their goal is muscle gain or fat-loss, eat the same few meals over and over again. There are 47,000 products in the average U.S. grocery store, but only a handful of them won't make you fat.
Mix and match from the following list, constructing each meal with one pick from each of the three groups. I've starred the choices that produce the fastest fat-loss for me" - Tim Ferriss

Proteins
*Egg whites with 1–2 whole eggs for flavor (or, if organic, 2–5 whole eggs, including yolks)
*Chicken breast or thigh
*Black beans
*Beef (preferably grass-fed)
Pork
*Fish

Legumes
*Lentils (also called "dal" or "daal")
Pinto beans
Red beans
Soybeans

Vegetables
*Spinach
*Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables)
*Sauerkraut, kimchee (full explanation of these later in "Damage Control")
Asparagus
Peas
Broccoli
Green beans
Ferriss also suggests eating a lot of these foods. He usually does 5 meals a day with four hours in between each meal. 

RULE #3: DON'T DRINK CALORIES

"Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream; I suggest using cinnamon instead), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like. Do not drink milk (including soy milk), normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. Limit diet soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per day if you can, as the aspartame can stimulate weight gain.
I'm a wine fanatic and have one to two glasses of red wine almost every evening. It doesn't appear to have any negative impact on my rate of fat-loss. Red wine is by no means required for this diet to work, but it's 100% allowed (unlike white wines and beer, both of which should be avoided). Up to two glasses of red per night, no more." 

RULE #4: DON'T EAT FRUIT

"Humans don't need fruit six days a week, and they certainly don't need it year-round. If your ancestors were from Europe, for example, how much fruit did they eat in the winter 500 years ago? Think they had Florida oranges in December? Not a chance. But you're still here, so the lineage somehow survived.
The only exceptions to the no-fruit rule are tomatoes and avocadoes, and the latter should be eaten in moderation (no more than one cup or one meal per day). Otherwise, just say no to fruit and its principal sugar, fructose, which is converted to glycerol phosphate more efficiently than almost all other carbohydrates. Glycerol phosphate p triglycerides (via the liver) p fat storage. There are a few biochemical exceptions to this, but avoiding fruit six days per week is the most reliable policy.
But what's this "six days a week" business? It's the seventh day that allows you, if you so desire, to eat peach crepes and banana bread until you go into a coma."

RULE #5: TAKE ONE DAY OFF PER WEEK

"I recommend Saturdays as your Dieters Gone Wild (DGW) day. I am allowed to eat whatever I want on Saturdays, and I go out of my way to eat ice cream, Snickers, Take 5, and all of my other vices in excess. If I drank beer, I'd have a few pints of Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.
I make myself a little sick each Saturday and don't want to look at any junk for the rest of the week. Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3, etc.) doesn't downshift from extended caloric restriction.
That's right: eating pure crap can help you lose fat. Welcome to Utopia. There are no limits or boundaries during this day of gluttonous enjoyment. There is absolutely no calorie counting on this diet, on this day or any other.
Start the diet at least five days before your designated cheat day. If you choose Saturday, for example, I would suggest starting your diet on a Monday.
That's All, Folks!
If the founding fathers could sum up our government in a six-page constitution, the above is all we need to summarize rapid fat-loss for 99.99% of the population. Followed to the letter, I've never seen it fail. Never." 



So there it is. We have already lost pounds and inches of fat, we feel healthier than ever, and we look forward to cheat day (Saturday) every week :) 

What do you think of the Slow Carb Diet? Are you skeptical? It's okay, most people are. All I can say is, don't judge it until you try it. This Tim Ferriss guys knows his stuff. 



Mar 30, 2012

husbands birthday





Happy Birthday to my husband, who turned 22 yesterday! He celebrated by eating deliciously saucy honey BBQ wings at B-Dubs and opening pretty boxes filled with new threads from J Crew. Since it's his birthday, I thought I would point out some of the simple reasons why Jordan is awesome (because the little things are worth celebrating too). 

Jordan Shepherd is awesome because he...
has hidden talents (I just found out that he can play bass guitar. uh, what?!!)
is technology savvy 
can build a masterpiece out of straw wrappers 
has a contagious adventurous spirit
gives others room to shine while he remains humble
loves to learn
makes everyone feel like they are a part of his club
is a really good drummer
cherishes his family
has a really handsome face
is more selfless than anyone I know. 


 I could go on all day, but for now I'll leave it short and sweet. Speaking of sweet, you know what else is great about birthdays?

 Cake. 

I can't wait to eat some on Saturday (cheat day)! 



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