Meet Jamie

Hello, Friends!

My name is Jamie Schmalenberger and I joined the Castle Hall Creative team in April 2017, coming from my own graphic design company, Briar Rose Expressions.

I’ve always had a creative flair and a knack for design. Throughout my life, I’ve always sought an outlet for my creativity, whether I was crafting handmade gifts for family and friends, doodling fashion designs in my sketchbook, taking an art class, painting a canvas, or simply coloring in a coloring book.

In 2006, I graduated from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in Material Culture and Visual Style and a Concentration in American Material Cultural Studies. “What does that mean”, you ask? Good question. I always say that, based on my diverse coursework, it prepared me for a career working efficiently and effectively with my teammates in a creative environment.

After graduation I moved with my now-husband-then-boyfriend to Florida and went back to school to get my teaching degree. We moved to Melbourne, FL in 2007, got married in 2009, and had our first child in April 2011.

At that point, I excitedly became a Stay-at-Home Mom and decided to turn my creative hobbies into a little business. I began Briar Rose Expressions in July 2011. Briar Rose Expressions specializes in custom-created, fun, and unique graphic design for the individual to the small business, including: invitations, announcements, party decor, thank you cards, logo design, business cards, art prints, & more.

Project-Addicts Anonymous

Being that I’m a self-declared “projectaholic” (meaning I like to stay busy, starting and completing one project after another), I needed more. …More projects to fill my day and to fulfill my soul! So when my good friend Sara presented me with the opportunity to join her team for Pattie with Castle Hall Creative, I jumped on it! Sara and I are neighbors, but we met in the Fall of 2017 when both of our sons started Kindergarten. I was thrilled that she thought of me for the position and I was honored that Pattie trusted me to get the job done well! It was simply *kismet*.

I’m the type of person who loves to continue learning, growing, and experiencing. Castle Hall Creative is my newest career endeavor and I couldn’t be more excited about it! It came to me at just the right time, as I was regaining a sense of my authentic self and reconnecting with my passions.

My husband I have a super sweet son and a super silly daughter. Being a Mom is my top priority and main passion but I try to remember to give back to myself at times too.

A Turn of Events

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in June 2013 and it seems like a daily battle trying to understand this disease and what it means for me. There’s no denying that it presents frustrating limitations, but I’ve been trying to embrace my life and body as it is now and enjoy life despite of it. Therefore, I’ve found a pure joy in yoga and meditation, I’ve rediscovered my love for the mountains (actually, any outdoor space – shine the sun on my face and I’m happy), and I’ve been trying to live a much simpler, slower lifestyle with clean eating and healthy living.

I wear my heart on my sleeve (sometimes to a fault) because I believe that everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about and the more we’re open and honest with each other the more we can connect with one another and live harmoniously and happily. I believe that we should all *live, and let live* and *love, and let love*.

Castle Hall Creative + Me = 

As I design for Castle Hall Creative and communicate with our customers it is my hope that I will be able to provide an exceptional experience and create something extra special and personal in order to turn a moment into a wonderful memory. I want everyone who shops with Castle Hall Creative to love the details we add to their special occasions and to have a fantastic experience working with us.

After all, Castle Hall Creative is all about making every moment count – by making the most of the details!

How I Ate Food and Lost Weight (20 Pounds in 3 Months!)

Eat less? Bite me.

 

You’ve heard it before. Eat less, move more and you’ll lose weight. I hate that advice. I tried that advice. After a whole day of being good and “eating less,” I would put my kids to bed and stuff my face. Because I. Was. STARVING!! 

When I had finally had enough of being overweight, I did a lot of research. After looking at Paleo, Whole30, Veganism and even a diet where you ate basically whatever you wanted on some days and starved yourself on other days, I was confused and overwhelmed.

 

 

Choosing My Own Path

Deciding to listen to my own gut, I chose to take what I liked about each diet plan and ignore the rest.  I started eating less processed foods and shopped just the outer edges of the grocery store. I stopped eating dairy because the calories were too much and I could eat MORE of something with fewer calories and feel full. After a few weeks, I ended up eating mostly eggs, vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. I lost weight quickly and without much effort. I was pleasantly surprised that the new diet was working and that I wasn’t feeling hungry at the end of the day.

What I Eat

I eat about 5 meals a day. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and two snacks. I aim for a balance of 35% Carbohydrates, 30% Fat and 35% Protein for the entire day, eating most of my carbs before lunch. (I track the percentages in a fitness app.) I’ve never been a big breakfast eater, so sometimes I will have a “snack” first thing in the morning and my “breakfast” later in the morning. Lunch is usually a salad, my afternoon snack is almost always veggies or protein and my dinner is usually lean protein and vegetables.

Breakfast/Morning Snack Ideas (These can be eaten interchangeably)

  • Overnight Oats (DamnDelicious.net has yummy recipes here.)
  • Egg White Muffins
  • Avocado Toast
  • Yogurt and Fruit
  • Green Smoothies

Lunch/Afternoon Snack Ideas (Also Interchangeable)

  • Chickpea of the Sea (Think Tuna salad sandwich with no fish. Seriously yum. The recipe is all over the internet.)
  • Salad
  • Veggie Wraps
  • Black Bean Burgers with Romaine Lettuce “Buns”
  • Veggies and Hummus
  • Hard Boiled eggs with an apple

Dinner Ideas

  • Fish with roasted vegetables
  • Lentil Tacos
  • Vegetable Stir fry
  • Sheet Pan meals with lean protein and vegetables (You can find these recipes all over Pinterest.)

 

After 3 months, my face is so much thinner and I’m starting to look like myself again!

The Next Level

As the weight fell off, I looked for a new challenge. I found Tone It Up and saw that the nutrition plan was basically the same as how I was already eating! I began to follow Tone It Up (TIU, for short) girls on Instagram and found a community of women (and some men!) who were losing weight, toning up and encouraging each other. It. Was. Awesome. It motivated me to work harder and so I joined the Bikini Series (read about that here).

The Bikini Series is an 8 week program of eating right and working out and it starts on April 24th. In order to stay on track, I created a “Weekly Meal Plan” so that I can keep track of all of my ‘Booty Calls’ (they’re what the TIU community calls their morning workouts) as well as my evening workouts. I can plan for my whole week and grocery shop and meal prep accordingly. IT’S A LIFESAVER!

Free Weekly Meal Plan Printable

Here it is. Print it out and fill it up! When you start out planning meals, it’s OK to repeat the same meals over and over. I almost always have the same 3 things for breakfast or eat the same salad a couple of times a week. Keep it simple and don’t feel like you have to fill every box with a different recipe!

Click on the photo below to begin your FREE download!

 

Sweating for the Wedding (Dress)

I Can’t Zip Up My Wedding Dress!

Okay, so I’m already married. I have been for almost 10 YEARS! (And yet, I’m only 25!) <<<That was a joke…

Anyway, I’m getting in shape so I can fit in my wedding dress again. After 10 years and 2 kids, bodies change, people! I have been watching what I eat and going to the gym, but I am signing up for a new Bikini Series on April 24th to push me to that next level. (Because I can aaaaallllmooooost zip that dress up, but I probably wouldn’t be able to move much!)

What is a Bikini Series?

The Tone It Up Bikini Series is a FREE workout and nutrition guide that lasts for 8 weeks. Karena and Katrina will send you a plan each Sunday that tells you which workouts to do each week and they usually include some fun freebies or recipes as well.

In order to complete the Bikini Series, you just need to do the recommended workouts each week and eat lean, clean and green. (I’ll post another post about what I eat later.)

So, THAT’S IT! Sign up, follow the workouts and eat right! EASY!!! (NOT!)

I know it’s so hard to eat right when you’re planning a big event like a wedding. The tastings, the parties, the stress eating while watching wedding shows on TLC… (well, maybe that was just me, hahaha.)

DON’T WORRY! We’re here for you! I’ll post helpful hints and printables to keep you on track and you can follow @castlehallcreative to see what we’re doing to stick to the plan.

Join Team Castle Hall for the Tone It Up Bikini Series

I hope you guys are getting ready to Tone It Up with us! If you haven’t signed up yet, you still have time and can sign up here. As you post your photos on social media, tag #teamchc! We’re in this together!

Once you sign up on the Tone It Up website you’ll start getting informational videos and emails with recipes to try, tools you’ll need, and workouts to complete each week.

I’m ready to get in this dress and celebrate! I can’t wait to see what YOU post!

I’ll post later this week to show you what I eat and how I meal prep and meal plan to stay on track!

Until next time,

Sara

 

 

 

 

Get Ready, Get Set…

TONE IT UP

Drop those extra pounds with Castle Hall Creative’s Sara Metka in our Summer Bridal Boot Camp

Hi all! Sara here!

I am so excited to share with all of you the changes I’ve been making in my personal life.

How I Started My Tone-It-Up Weight Loss/ Get Fit Journey

About three months ago, I decided that I needed to make a change and start taking care of myself. I began by downloading a fitness app that helped me to track the amount of calories I was eating vs. how many I was burning through exercise. I’ve done that before and it was working alright, but it just felt so… mathy. HAHA!

I wanted working out to feel fun and I wanted to try new recipes that were as tasty as they were pretty.

Finding ToneItUp

I went on Instagram and quickly found @ToneItUp. It’s a nutrition plan designed by @KarenaDawn and @KatrinaaScott. They send daily workouts and weekly motivational newsletters with workouts, recipes and inspirational stories. I was hooked! After three months, I had lost 20 pounds!!

3 Months & 20 Lbs Down!

Now that I am down 20 pounds, I am motivated to share what I’ve learned and bring others along with me on this journey.

@ToneItUp is starting a new Bikini Series on April 24th and I AM SO READY!

It’s an eight week program that is FREE to join!
Just sign up on their website at ToneItUp.com/BIKINISERIES and you’re IN!

Your fellow Castle Hall Creative Team (Pattie, Jamie and I) will be updating our Instagram accounts with recipes and workouts that we’ve done along the way and we’d love for you to join us!

Follow us on Instagram here: @CastleHallCreative @MermaidMesses @BriarRoseExpressions and on Facebook at CastleHallCreative.

 

Win this Beach,Please Decal!

Now for the fun part… A GIVEAWAY!!!!

In order to be prepared, everyone needs a cute water bottle to take into the gym. Gotta stay hydrated, right!?!

I’ve designed this decal with my beach body in mind. The suntan, the long, wavy hair, the totally defined abs…  Luke Bryan… Sorry, back to the GIVEAWAY!

If you’re dreaming of your beach body and want a decal to put on your yoga mat, water bottle, fitness journal, etc. Just share this post (don’t forget to tag us!) with the hashtag #TeamCHC on your social media and tell us where you’ll put the decal to keep you inspired. 

Then — if you’re up for the challenge, follow us and join us for the #tiubikiniseries!

What’s Next?

In my next post, I’ll show you what I’m doing to prepare for the Bikini Series and what you’ll need in order to follow along at home.

Beach, Please!

Sara