Left Photo

Left Photo

Middle Photo

Middle Photo

Right Photo

Right Photo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

That dress again...




So here's that dress again (and again and again and again).  

I know this is a simple outfit, but as a mom it's nice to have simple things in your closet.  In fact, I've been reading a lot about a capsule wardrobe and contemplated creating one of my own.  Since scaling back my closet, I've realize sometimes too many options is just overwhelming.  While other times I look into my closet and think there is nothing in there.  First world problems, for real.

Truth is, there isn't nearly as much in my closet as there used to be.  And I'm realizing as long as I keep a good supply of statement necklaces, scarves, and other accessories there really doesn't need to be a ton more.  

I'm okay with it.  Although, it won't stop me from shopping.  ;)

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!  Is anyone braving Black Friday sales?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

5 Ways to Stay Motivated


Especially at the beginning of the New Year, everyone has good intention to exercise, eat better, get healthy, and take better care of ourselves.  We all do have good intentions.  No one sets out to fail at their New Year resolutions.

Easier said than done.

In an effort to stay motivated to get my workout in, I've come up with a few tricks.  I do these things to encourage myself or motivate myself to get my butt in gear rather than make excuses.

1. Change clothes.

As soon as I get home, I change into my workout clothes.  A while back a preacher shared  sermon encouraging women to stay "dressed" for their husbands after work.  He said many women come home, take their makeup off, throw their hair on top of their head, and put on baggy sweats.  This is what their man sees when he walks in the door.  So, I tried that for a while - I made an effort to greet my husband with a fresh face and all.  But, I noticed that those evenings were the ones I didn't work out.  Now I change into my workout clothes as soon as I get home.

If I don't work out, I feel a little bit of shame as I change out of those unused workout clothes and into my pajamas at the end of the night.

2.  Pamper yourself post-workout.

I used to dread working out because of the fact that I would have to wash, re-dry, and style my hair all over again.  Now, I use it as an excuse  to pamper myself for 10-20 minutes.  I take a nice warm shower, put a mask on my face, lotion my dry skin, and paint my fingernails.  It's not much, but it seems like a reward

3.  Take measurements. 

Don't rely on the scale to show your accomplishments.  Often we don't lose pounds as quickly as we lose inches and it can be very discouraging.  You will lose inches in your arms, waist, upper arms, and thighs before you see the number drop.

4.  Set mini-goals.

If the goal is to lose x amount of pounds, reward yourself along the way.  Sometimes the end goal can seem so daunting and we need to be rewarded along the way to keep ourselves on track.

5.  Join a friend or a group.

Have a friend check in with you each night or each morning.  Start a "morning club" where you set your alarm at the same time to work out.  Join a group workout at the gym.  Participate in one of my challenge groups.  The more people that are counting on you, the higher the chances of you actually completing your goals!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Peppermint Mocha Shakeology


I've always been a huge fan of Starbucks white chocolate peppermint mocha.  I would eagerly await the red cup knowing it was the season for one.  Then I read about the GMOs and the chemicals, not to mention the calories in it and I have to admit, it's just not as tastey now that I know what's in it.

I'm not gonna lie, I still do get one once in a while, but that could change this holiday season.

It is cheaper, healthier, and tastier to have one of these Peppermint Mocha Shakeology shakes instead!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. ice coffee
  • 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
  • 1/4 tsp Peppermint extract
Just blend and sip!  So good

If you're interested in trying Shakeology, contact me.  I would love to be your coach!

Friday, November 21, 2014

10 Things I Love about PiYo

PiYo has quickly become my favorite Beachbody program.  I initially got it because I was training for a half marathon and didn't need to add another cardio workout that would be hard on my joints.  Now, it's my favorite and I find myself consistently referring it to my family and friends. For the month of November, the challenge pack is on sale for $20 off the normal price making it a great deal!


10 Reasons Why I love PiYo:

1. Low impact and low intensity, but NOT low results.  I have a bicep!  I've never had upper body strength, not even when I played college ball and was lifting weights on a daily basis.  I love the fact that this is not hard on my knees and joints, but I am still seeing and feeling great physical advances.

2. No shoes required.  I know this may seem insignificant, but when you've got limited time to get your workout in or when you spend the majority of your day in dress shoes, it's really nice to not have to wear shoes!

3.  Total body workout.  This workout targets every area of the body even the parts I don't like to focus on.

4.  Increased flexibility; this is especially important for me as a runner.

5.  Short, quick workouts.  The workouts range from 25-45 minutes tops.  Perfect for nap times or after I put Carson down to sleep at night.  Also, my attention span isn't that long so unless I'm in a group workout or out for a run, 30-45 minutes is about all I can take.

6.  Abs off the floor. Some of these workouts require crunches or sit-ups, but for the most part I'm working my core without hurting my back.  I am not a big fan of the traditional sit-up.

7.  On my own time. There is no set schedule.  I just try to fit in about 30 minutes a day.  I don't have to get to the gym at a certain time and I don't have to wait until late in the evening.

8. No gym fee. Once you purchase the dvds, they're yours.  There is no monthly membership fee.

9.  Support, inspiration, and motivation from other people just like me.  We don't always have the same goals as people in our daily life when it comes to health and fitness, but PiYo connects us with other people working toward the same things we are.  It connects you with people who are trying to be stronger, healthier, fitter versions of themselves just like you!  The community is so motivating and helps me to stay accountable.

10. Free coaching. This is quite possibly the most impactful part of any Beachbody program.  The coaching that comes with the program.  It keeps me going, gives me new recipe ideas and meal plans, gets me out of bed when I'm tired to turn on the dvd player...  It definitely makes Beachbody different from the average workout program.

If you're interested in trying PiYo or any of the Beachbody programs, I would love to be your coach!  Just leave your email in the comments below and I will be happy to share more details with you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to Afford Healthy Eating

$28oop

The biggest argument people give me when I approach them about trying my Beachbody programs is money.  Money is the root of all our problems, right?

It can also be the root of a lot of excuses.

I try to live by the 70/30 rule.  70% of what I put into my body is clean and 30% is cheat.  From my personal experience I've learned that if I deny myself all sweets and "cheats" then I'm setting myself up for failure...or at the very least a tummy ache from a binge-fest.

$9oop
There are obviously more coupons out there for prepackaged foods, boxed items, and beauty products.  However, there are coupons for frozen steamed vegetables, packaged chicken, and sometimes even produce!  In fact, right now there is a $5 rebate when you buy $5 worth of fruit.  FREE fruit!

I also go by the motto: if you save in one place, you can splurge in another.

So, the money I save on diapers, wipes, bodywash, shampoo, etc. can go toward the items that are pricier such as fresh produce, lean meats, and high quality grains.

$30oop, $27saved
Here are some tips for saving money when purchasing healthy food:

Collect coupons.
I have joined a few groups on Facebook where people go to share the deals they're getting, coupons they aren't using, or upcoming sales.  I have a couple of friends who let me go through their coupons after they are done with them and I share my leftovers with them as well.

Get a rewards card.
A lot of people (myself included) just type in their mother's phone number when at the register.  This will get you the instant savings, but you won't receive coupons in the mail or more savings down the road.  Sign up for your own card so that you get the most benefit.

Some favorites: Lowe's Foods, Food Lion, Price Chopper, Harris Teeter, CVS, Walgreens

Register for digital coupons when possible.
Places like Walgreens, Dollar General, and Family Dollar have digital coupons now.  Unfortunately, you can't stack these digital coupons with manufacturer's coupons, but you can use them in place of your manufacturer coupon and save those for another trip.

Watch sales and stock up when you can.
Even when you don't need something, if you can get it for free or close to free, get it!  I currently have a year's supply of toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in my linen closet because I paid next to nothing for it.  I also have 3 boxes of cereal sitting in my pantry unopened because I paid less than $1 per box for it.  If you know you are going to use something, stock up!

Know your prices.
Know what prices are good for certain items.  Knowing this will help you decide whether or not you are getting the best deal with your coupons.

Take advantage of the double and super double rule.
Stores like Harris Teeter, KMart, and Lowe's Foods double coupons every day.  Once in a while they do what they call a super double where they double all coupons up to $2!!  It's a little like Black Friday a various points throughout the year in the grocery market.  Totally worth the chaos.

What is your favorite way to save on healthy foods?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Virtual Holiday Market

via (adapted)
Everyone loves a good holiday market.  Something about the first sounds of Christmas music, sips of cocoa, and the smell of cinnamon and peppermint really puts me in the Christmas spirit.

Thanks to this record breaking arctic cold we are experiencing, no one wants to leave the house!  And some people can't thanks to the insane amount of snow piled outside their door!

So, I'm hosting a virtual holiday market on Facebook.  The event will take place the Sunday after Thanksgiving until the Saturday before Christmas.  Each vendor will be assigned one day to flood the event page with images, deals, giveaways, information about your craft.  However, at any point during the market, people may purchase from you.

This is the perfect way to engage people with your product, extend your customer outreach, and create new relationships with other vendors as well as consumers.  

To partake in the event, each vendor will pay $5.  The $5 will go toward a VISA gift card that will be given away at the end of the week.  In order to be eligible to win the gift card, customers must make a purchase; each purchase equates one entry into the drawing.  

As a vendor, you will be given administrative access to the event page so that you can add your friends to the event.  This will allow all vendors to invite friends making for a larger customer base than what your business page may have on its own.  Meaning you will have a larger audience!

To register to be part of the Virtual Holiday Market, please complete the Google form here
I will be in contact with you as soon as possible to let you know scheduling and how to send the $5 via PayPal.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stroller Run Photo Contest


BIG FAVOR!!

CT and I were entered in a stroller run photo contest with this picture.
You are able to vote once a day until the contest ends. 

We would love you forever and greatly appreciate it if you voted for us!

It's very easy, just click this link:
http://runstrollerrun.com/?contestants=quintessential-fall-run

And click Vote on the right hand side!

Thank you so much!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

11 Months


Dear Carson,

I was sitting in the car the other day thinking about the fact that you are about to be one year old.  It's not even been 365 days yet and I can't remember life without you.  You are the best thing to ever happen to your daddy and me.  I wish we could bottle up this love we have for you and give it away to people who need it.  It's amazing.

You are a ball of energy!  On the days we don't get to go for a run, I don't even feel bad.  I am too busy chasing you around!  

This month some things happened or didn't happen that could have really brought me down.  To be honest, I couldn't really waste time being sad about any of them.  I just feel so blessed to have you and to be your mom.  Who cares about the other things?

I still wonder how you picked us.  Out of all the other mommies and daddies out there in the universe, you picked us.  I'm so glad you did.  We're the perfect fit for each other.

Love you so much,
Mommy


11 Month Update
Weight:  22 pounds
Length:  30+ inches
Nicknames: Milkman, Milk Monster, CT, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Bubby, Monster, Buddy Boy
Sleep: You've started going to bed earlier since you are using so much more energy during the day.  Typically you are out by 7:00 and awake around 6:00.  You are still a champion sleeper.  You like to sleep in your crib - you definitely don't want to be held or in bed with us when you go to sleep.
Eating:  You love food!  Some of your favorites are pancakes, Ritz crackers, macaroni and cheese, carrots, chicken and dumplings, banana, and hummus.
Clothing: 12 months
Loves:
  • Playing
  • Your Aden + Anais blankies
  • Bath time
  • Runs with Mommy
  • Bath time
  • Ribbons/shoe laces/strings/etc
  • The dog dishes, carbon monoxide detector, battery charger - anything you shouldn't have
  • Your soccer ball
  • Brushing your own teeth
Dislikes:
  • Having your face/hands wiped
  • Getting lotioned when you are sleepy
Exciting Moments:
You've taken a few steps here and there, but you aren't quite sure on your feet yet.
You are saying more words: dog, dada, mama, that, uh-oh
Momma's Milestones:
I have made Success Club with my Beachbody business every month since becoming a coach and I earned a free ticket to the Summit for 2015.
I signed up to retake my National Boards one last time.  If you're a teacher you know this is an incredibly difficult process.  Third time is a charm, right!?

Just look at the change!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A new take on outfit pictures



I've never claimed to be a fashion blogger.  I mean, I'd love to be.  I love clothes and I love finding new ways to put together outfits using what is in my closet.  I just don't have the means to purchase high end pieces or photograph the outfits professionally.

Since having CT, outfit pictures have really changed.

If I don't have him in my arms, he is probably going to partake in one of the following activities:
  • crying (How long does the separation anxiety phase last?  Anyone?)
  • eating something....more like eating everything
  • sticking his hand in the dog's dish
  • inspecting the toilet
  • kissing his reflection
So, a lot of times this is what we do.  I try to snap one before he tastes the blades of grass, but I usually end up scooping him up before the opportunity presents itself.

Honestly, I wouldn't change it for anything.  At some point in his/our life, I'm going to be grateful I snapped all these pics of us together.  I have a ton of pictures of him.  It's nice to have some with me in them as well.

Speaking of pictures, this weekend we are having family pictures taken.  I can't wait to see how they come out.  By the way, can you believe this boy is 11 months old today?!


Sweater: PacSun, Dress: Bass (love this, similar), Boots: Macy's (similar), Glasses: GlassesUSA

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lessons from Babes: Loving Yourself



I can't remember the last time I looked at myself in the mirror this way.  

I'm not saying I'm unhappy with the way I look.  To be honest, I am proud of the way I look.  I am a fit, healthy, mom and most days I look pretty put together.  But, I can't remember ever looking in the mirror and loving on myself; plastering myself with positivity.  Can you?

It's amazing the lessons you can learn from babes.  As I watched CT admiring himself in the mirror and giving himself big wet smooches, I thought about all the people that dread looking in the mirror.  Those that avoid mirrors or cameras even.

I don't know how or when it happens, but at some point in our lives we start critiquing, judging, and criticizing ourselves.  There is a moment in time when we learn what we "should" looking/act/sound/be like and if we aren't 100% perfect at it, we degrade ourselves.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we maintained the attitude of babes as we grew into adulthood?

Think of the wars that may have never been fought.  The lives that would not be lost.  The worries we would no longer worry.  If only we just lived slightly more carefree.

As babes, we aren't concerned about the clothing we wear, the marks on our skin, the wild curl of our hair.  We are simply marveled by the beauty of it all; the beauty of life.

I'm not necessarily saying we should make out with the mirror like my sweet little boy did.  But, it would be nice to see more women appreciating the reflection in the mirror rather than picking it apart.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Monday, November 10, 2014

One top, 2 ways

stripelacetop

Since losing all my baby weight I had a strong desire to clean out my closet and rebuild my wardrobe.  

A lot of things were worn, well loved, or just didn't fit anymore.  Thanks to Beachbody I currently weigh less than I did before getting pregnant, and thanks to my sweet babe things are arranged a little differently so new pieces were necessary.

I welcomed the excuse to do a little shopping for myself.

I've been lusting after this top from Piperlime for some time now and it is currently on sale for 50% the original price.  As it sits in my shopping bag, I'm dreaming up ways to wear it.

What do you think?  Should I hit the checkout button?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Yay Friday!


A lot of days/evenings this is what my workout space looks like.  I love that PiYo and Beachbody allow me the flexibility to be able to workout at home in any room in the house.  It makes fitting in a workout during naptime easy and inexcusable!
By the way, there's still time to sign up for my fitness giveaway.

I received my Emerald pin in the mail from Beachbody.
I love this business and I'm so excited for it to be going so well!

I received my Influenster #modavoxbox in the mail.  What an awesome package!
I can't wait to try out the mascara, lip liner, lipstick, lotion, and hair mask.
I fully intend to curl up on the couch with my Swiss Miss cocoa tonight, too.

I'm seeing all the benefits of the hard work I'm putting into my personal health and fitness and I'm loving it!

My child, the daredevil.
Someone save me from the teen years!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Preventing the Urge to Make Excuses

Via

As part of my No Excuse November Challenge, I'm going to post different ways to prevent the urge to make excuses in the first place!

I truly believe we all have something we hang onto, we let control us, that keeps us from doing whatever it is we really want to do.  And we use that "thing" to hold us back, bring us down, and discourage us from reaching for those goals.

Be it money, time, family, or fitness level, we all have that thing that comes to the forefront of our minds when we consider a healthier lifestyle.  How crazy is it that most of us, as women, are the driving force within our families and yet, we don't take the time to care for ourselves like we do everyone else?

We work, prepare meals, wipe tears, fold clothes, make beds, run errands, and then we take no time to fuel our bodies with healthy nutrients, exercise our hearts, and clear our minds.  It's amazing how we can do it all without making ourselves a priority.

What are some excuses you use preventing you from reaching your goals?

What types of things would help you to prevent yourself from making excuses?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thrifting Tips


Often times people ask me how I find such great things while out thrifting.  It's like sometimes the thrifting mojo is flowing and other times it's a total wash.  When it's good, it's really really good and when it's bad, well...it can get ugly.

Recently I've scored some fantastic deals while out thrifting.  Things like JCrew matchstick jeans, wedge booties, Converse sneakers for babe, and brand new World Market scarves.  It got me thinking about all the frustration I feel when I walk out empty handed.  Which happens a lot - I just don't blog about those times.  :)

It made me realize that this is why a lot of people don't thrift; for every one time you walk out with a major find, there are at least 3-5 other times you walk out empty handed.  So, I thought I would make a list of all the reasons why I am successful once in a while and share it with you all!

1. Frequent the store.  
There is a PTA thrift store in the town I work in.  Once a week (usually on Fridays) I pop in and spend about 20-30 minutes going through the toys, shoes, children's clothes, and women's clothing.  A lot of weeks I don't get anything, but once in a while I walk out with a mother load of thrifting hauls.  If I didn't frequent the store, I would have missed out on things like this Little Tikes sandbox, JCrew matchstick jeans, or these adorable wedged booties I'd been lusting after.  In order to score a gem, you have to find them before someone else does.

2. Don't discriminate. 
That same thrift store that I frequent once a week; so many people refuse to go to it.  They assume because of its location that nothing "good" will be there.  So not true.  I've found $200 jeans for $5 at the Salvation Army, $150 leather jackets at the PTA thrift, and $1 Converse sneakers at Goodwill.

3. Consider alterations.
Sometimes all a dress needs is a belt or a new hemline to look beautiful.  If you're spending $2 on a pair of jeans, paying another $8 or $10 to get them hemmed isn't a big deal.  If you love the fabric on a skirt, but it doesn't fit, consider cutting it and wearing it as a scarf instead.  You don't have to be able to sew in order to make things work either.

4. Know your product/price range.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of finding a neat item that we spend too much on it.  For example, the other day I walked into that PTA thrift that I love so much and found a Little Tikes playset for CT.  It was slightly faded from being outside, but otherwise in great shape.  The price on it was almost $200.  I realize this particular playset is expensive when bought new, but $200 is still a lot.  In fact, the same playset can be found at consignment sales for less than $100.  I typically carry something around with me and do a quick google search if I'm not sure of the price/product.

5. Reel it in.
For a little while I was having so much fun thrifting that I was purchasing tons of things that didn't fit, needed alterations, or weren't really missing pieces for my closet.  I ended up with a big bag of things to bring back to donate to same thrift store I'd purchased them from.  Just because something is inexpensive doesn't mean you should buy it if it's two sizes too small.  Have fun with it, but don't go overboard.  It actually makes the real finds that much more fun.

When thrifting you really just need to have an open mind and time.  It's a hunt to find the perfect item.

What have you thrifted lately?

Monday, November 3, 2014

No Excuse November + GIVEAWAY


What is your favorite excuse?

If you search hard enough, you can find an excuse for anything.

When it comes to exercise, diet, fitness, health, the excuses just keep coming.

Money.  Time.  Schedule.  Commitment.  Next month.  Next week.  Once I lose the baby weight.
I've used heard them all.  So, I'm committed to making November a month of NO EXCUSES.

As women, we so often (too often) put everyone else's needs, health, desires above our own.  It's time, we take care of ourselves.  After all, most of us are the force behind our family.

If you want to join me, simply leave a comment below and I will email you exactly how you can join me and a small, intimate group of women in our journey to better our health BEFORE the holidays and the  New Year resolutions.  It is going to be an uplifting, optimistic, motivational force!

I'm teaming up with Rebecca of Caravan Sonnet and Liz of Fitness Blondie to bring you a great giveaway to keep you motivated throughout the month.  Be sure to sign up below to win a great prize to help keep you on track to reach your goals. a Rafflecopter giveaway