Monday, May 19, 2014

Squishy Cheeks Designs Review and Giveaway

This is my first product review and giveaway - let me just say that I am very excited about it!

Bailey (and I) were lucky enough to receive this adorable and unique crossover pinafore dress from fellow MN Blogger, Jenn.

I love the quality of the dress and the fact that it can transition from a dress to a shirt and can be layered in cooler weather, which is practically year-round in MN these days!

Bailey has been a little bit picky of her clothing lately. Some items I’ve put on her make her start crying and trying to pull them off. I’m not sure what the deal with that is, but {thankfully} she did not put up a fuss with this dress!

We threw the dress on over a t-shirt and some leggings and headed outside.

It was very windy out, but we got some great shots to show how cute and unrestricting the dress is. It crosses over in the back to allow for optimal mobility of a very active toddler!

Daddy and Bailey blew some bubbles and mommy sat back and snapped pics :)

Kid tested and Mommy (and Bailey) approved!

Jenn would like to offer 1 lucky reader a $10 shop credit for her etsy store (Squishy Cheeks Designs) where you can find headbands, teething necklaces, dresses and baby booties! Enter the giveaway below using the rafflecopter. I will draw a winner on Monday, May 26! Jenn would also like to offer a 10% discount to all of you reading this with the code MNBLOGGER10.

Thanks Jenn for this wonderful opportunity! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Weekend Recap / AdvoCare update

What a fun-filled weekend! I wanted to recap the weekend and also give a little update/share information on my 24 day challenge that started on Friday instead of Saturday since my products showed up earlier than expected J

Friday I started my regimen at work. I had
-a spark energy drink,
-fiber drink (better than I expected – still kind of unpleasant),
-hard-boiled eggs and mixed fruit,
-leftovers from Thursday night dinner when I made this,
- nuts and berries snack from my lunch trip to Trader Joe’s,
-another spark energy drink,
-lots and lots and lots of water (80 plus ounces)
-for dinner: brown rice and Grilled Eggplant & Zucchini Melange frozen thingy from TJ’s,
-OmegaPlex packet,
-Herbal cleanse packets,
-and again lots of water.

Bailey and I went for a 3 mile walk that turned into a jogging sprint once Chris called to tell me that 24 was a repeat on TV (we failed to record the first episode last Monday night).

Saturday I woke up feeling good. Chris had left around 5:30AM to go to a job, so it was just Bailey and I. She woke up around 7, so we got up and played and got ourselves ready for the day.

I had my spark energy drink,
-fiber drink,
-banana/strawberry/almond milk/protein smoothie,
-brown rice cake with almond butter,
-leftovers from Thursday (again),
-another spark energy drink,
-OmegaPlex packet
-leftovers from Friday’s dinner,
-TJ’s cheddar popcorn (small portion)
-Herbal cleanse packets,
-and again lots of water throughout the day (roughly 100 oz total)

My day consisted of cleaning around the house, doing 4 loads of laundry, going through my closet and organizing every.single.drawer, gathering items for the garage sale we’re having this week, running to the grocery store, Home Depot and Costco and entertaining a toddler. Chris and I also watched the first half of the 24 episode – so, so good! We used to binge on this show before it went off air.

Sunday morning started out around 7 again. I got up and made some fresh egg muffins to have for breakfast and for the workweek. Around 8, Bailey woke up so I ran up and grabbed her out of the crib. Being Mother’s Day, I wanted to snuggle my little peanut as much as possible (not much different than any other day). Bailey gifted me beautiful flowers, a certificate for a 1 hour massage with someone my husband swears by (I’ve never been), and a loving card. So sweet of Bailey J
I had my spark energy drink,
-fiber drink,
-egg muffin (egg whites, peppers, spinach and basil/tomato feta),
-leftovers from Thursday (again),
-a slam energy drink,
-OmegaPlex packet
-buffalo chicken lettuce wraps,
-Herbal cleanse packets,
-and lots of water throughout the day (roughly 100 oz total)

Before leaving for my parents’ house, I asked Chris to take some pics of Bailey and I in our backyard. We are fortunate enough to have a huge open field behind our house, so it makes for a good backdrop for pictures.

Afterwards, we went to my parents’ house and hung out with them. It was really fun watching my mom and Bailey playing and running around outside. Chris and my dad meandered around the cul-de-sac my parents live in. My dad is the “president” of their association (of about 10 townhomes) and has some landscape work for Chris to do up there. We were up there for about 2 hours and then headed home. When we got home, Bailey had some lunch and then went down for a nap.


While Bailey was napping – I got 2 crockpot meals started (buffalo chicken for wraps and Thai peanut chicken for lunches), did 2 more loads of laundry, husband mowed the lawn, I worked on a DIY craft for Millie’s birthday (pretty excited about it!), then I had my slam energy drink (first time trying it, I got it for signing up to be a distributor – energy overload!) and left to go on a jog. I had my first solo run of the spring - another Mother’s Day gift, in my book. My jog was not pretty, easy or fast. For starters – my equipment was lacking. I had headphones, but only 1 ear worked. I had an armband, but it’s for my old phone so half of my phone was hanging out. And last but not least, I am completely out of shape – woof! I went just over 4 miles. I did a pretty good job of tackling the dreaded hill on the way home – I even passed a guy that was walking! Needless to say, there is a huge amount of room for improvement.

When I got home, Bailey was awake. We got dinner ready and enjoyed our wraps on the deck – perfection! After dinner, I cleaned up the kitchen and got lunch/dinners ready for the week. Then I put pigtails in Bailey’s hair and decided we should go in the backyard to let her run around while mom took adorable pictures of the little peanut. Last weekend, I broke out the DSLR camera and I’m not looking back with regrets. The quality is so much better than my iPhone. I rarely do any editing – the pictures speak for themselves. Note to self: use the DSLR – it’s worth the extra baggage!


This weekend was a great weekend. I am feeling really good and energized - something I’ve missed tremendously! I feel like I have fewer cravings now. I used to think every meal deserved a dessert afterwards. It’s not completely gone. I do still think “I need something sweet” and then 2 seconds later I realize that I don’t and I’m actually full. I used to snack on chips or crackers in the evenings, but I really have little or no urge for snacking anymore. I have my dinner when I get home and don’t feel hungry afterwards. I used to hate having repeat meals (the same foods for lunch/dinner every day). I’ve been making bulk meals for the last week and I’m not hating it, but instead loving that I have meals ready to go so I’m not starving and make bad impulse snacking decisions.

I haven’t stepped on the scale since I started...I can’t decide if and when I want to during this challenge. I don’t want to get discouraged if “the number” hasn’t changed or god forbid, it’s gone up. I will have some pretty big challenges coming up. We’re already slated for dinner at Millie’s on Wednesday for her birthday/Mother’s Day. I’m going to have to pass on pizza and cupcakes L Memorial Day weekend will also be difficult – cabin food generally is not health food. It will take a LOT of will power to get through that weekend. I also usually have my fair share of drinks while up there – I don’t plan on indulging. I hope this will show me that I can have a good time without unhealthy food and drinks galore. I already realize this, but sometimes it’s just easier to grab a handful of chips or candy and a beer or glass of wine!

Just some tips that I’ve picked up so far: split everything out and make individual Ziploc baggies for each day. This is so helpful!! I just grab my baggie for the day and use my AdvoCare 24 day challenge app to track my food, water and products that I’m using. I’ve made a handful or recipes from this site they’ve all been pretty good. Take pictures of yourself before, weigh and measure yourself. This is part of the app, but I’ve read people regret not measuring themselves before. It’s not all about the scale! Have an assortment of healthy snacks (nuts, dry fruits, fresh veggies and fruit, popcorn (no butter, low sodium), rice cakes, nut butter) to grab on the go.

Anyways, sorry for the long-winded recap! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! And thanks to the people that commented on my original post – I really appreciate any and all of the support I get

Monday, May 5, 2014

Here goes nothing...

So, I’ve been pretty absent around here lately. There are plenty of reasons and excuses for that, but I won’t go into details of it (I promise it’s really not that exciting – just the usual work is crazy, I’m raising a toddler and trying to survive what seemed to be the looooongest winter ever). 

I’m not here today to talk about a fun weekend recap, even though it was really fun. I’m here today to talk about a new journey that I’m embarking on – a weight loss journey. I feel like everyone is on a mission to lose weight now that winter is officially over. I want to jump on that bandwagon in a BIG way! Below is my story and I really hope to update with progress and results.

History: In high school, I considered myself to be in relatively good shape (I would kill to have that body now!). I was in a TON of sports as a kid, it was kind of out of control (gymnastics, figure skating, bowling, basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, track and field, swimming). At the end of 9th grade, I dropped out of all sports because I wasn’t passionate about any of them and socializing was more important – not to mention I had a part-time job so my schedule was pretty full. Moving on to college, I was still in pretty good health considering all of the partying I did. I got into a long-term relationship my 2nd year of college that allowed me to pack on a few pounds. I struggled to keep my weight in control, but wasn’t doing too bad. Shortly after that relationship ended, I met Chris. We would work out together and I wasn’t in too bad of shape but I ended up gaining quite a bit of weight as our relationship bloomed (we’ll blame nachos and our love of The Melting Pot?!). When we got married, I did not put myself on any sort of crazy diet before the wedding and it shows in the photos. I was probably very close to my heaviest weight at that point. I didn’t even weigh that much when I was pregnant with Bailey L At the beginning of 2011, I made it my priority to lose weight and I was extremely successful and lost about 35 pounds in a matter of months. It was so much fun watching the numbers go down, down, down! I maintained that weight for most of the remainder of the year with a little fluctuation (going up a pound or 2). Then we decided that we wanted to try to have a baby and were eventually successful. I did not want to gain a ton of weight while baking my little babe, but I didn’t stress over it either. I gained 30 pounds with Bailey. Getting back to pre-pregnancy weight was easier than I expected. Getting back to pre-pregnancy body has not been. That’s why this journey is happening. There are quite a few areas that I want to tone and improve.

What triggered my decision: I’ve been incredibly sluggish lately. I blame the winter weather and having a toddler running around. Most nights, I am solo parenting while the hubby is working. We own a treadmill and a dozen workout videos/PS3 games but it’s very difficult to squeeze in a workout with Bailey there. She doesn’t take an evening nap anymore, so I’m constantly entertaining her (not trying to complain, it’s my favorite part of the day). I contemplated joining a gym again, but with summer approaching, I really don’t want to. We’re gone so much on the weekends that I feel it’d be wasting my money. Besides wanting to take a nap every night I get home from work, I’ve also not loved the way my clothes are fitting - definitely room for improvement there. Let’s also add in the fact that a lady thought that I was pregnant last week and asked when I was due…I wanted to run and cry. I know I’m not “in shape” but good lord I’m not that out of shape. I would say that was my turning point (thanks incredibly ignorant lady)

My plan: I’ve never been on a diet plan before. I’ve always done it the old fashioned way: counting calories and working out. I’ve gotten good results from these, but I’m greedy and I want more! I tried doing a juice cleanse last month. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t see results that I was happy with. I’ve seen others post about using AdvoCare products and doing the 24 day challenge. I researched the plan and I contacted an AdvoCare distributor in my area who has done the 24 day challenge a couple of times, about to do her 3rd time. She answered all of the questions that I had and I’m truly excited about this challenge. I hope it brings energy and an overall feeling of healthiness to my life. I actually signed up to be a distributor, so if you’re looking to kickstart your diet or are interested in learning more about their products – let me know!

What I’ll be doing: So, I mentioned that I’m doing the 24 day challenge…what does that mean?! The package from AdvoCare should be here this Friday, May 9. My 24 day challenge will begin Saturday, May 10. The package includes:
·       Herbal Cleanse (detox the body)
·       OmegaPlex® (omega-3 fatty acids – get nutrients distributed to my body for overall health)
·       AdvoCare Spark energy drink (how I’m going to get ‘er done)
·       Meal Replacement Shakes – (get my nutrients in a convenient shake)
·       MNS® Max 3 (appetite control, wellness and energy – lord knows I’ll need this when I’m at the cabin)

I’ll be combining the products that I purchased from AdvoCare with a healthy diet and exercise.  I’ve started pinning some meal ideas on Pinterest and I’m trying a few of them out this week. I’m planning to do outdoor runs/walks with Bailey. I used to be able to run 6 miles somewhat effortlessly. It was never fast, but that wasn’t what really mattered to me. After the challenge is over, I will need to assess where I’m at and what products I will continue to reach my ultimate goal.

Goal: I really hate setting numerical goals because what the number says on the scale is not always a true indicator of what is going on with your body. Like I said, I’m back at pre-pregnancy weight but my body definitely is not. If I had to set a numerical goal, it would be 20 pounds (I was going to put 15 because it seemed obtainable but I switched to 20…no mercy!!). Another goal is to have more energy. I want to be physically active in Bailey’s life. I don’t want to watch Chris and her run around having all of the fun. I want to be the crazy mom chasing her kid everywhere and having fun J My final goal is to have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe (sorry hubby!). Obviously, if I lose all of this weight new clothes will be in order!

So there you have it! Wish me luck, I will definitely need it. If you don’t see me indulging in a beer or cocktail…there’s a reason and it’s not because I’m pregnant ;)