March Favorites – 2020 Edition

Hello friends!

Happy Wednesday!

It’s that time again… where I give you my list of things that I’ve enjoyed more than other things.

Ha!

I’ve got a lot to share with you, so let’s dive in!

 

Cap’n Crunch Oops! All Berries

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Cereal is an acceptable food at all times of the day or night. We eat a lot of cereal in my house and this one is one of the best! Who doesn’t love berries? Yum!

 

 

Cadbury Eggs

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Oh yes! It’s that time of year. And friends, you’ll be so proud of me.. I managed to make a five pack last longer than a day and a half. 150 calories in one of these bad boys. Yikes! Because I’ve been a stickler about what I’m eating and how much I’m eating, I allowed myself one Cadbury egg per day. Totally worth it.

 

 

Cousin It

 

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That’s what we’ve named these cute little toy. I picked it up at Walmart in one of the Easter aisles for a $1. Isn’t it he the cutest?

 

 

Ankle Weights

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Once in a great while, I add things to my home gym collection. I’ve been in need of a set of ankle weights for a long time and I finally purchased a pair. These are from Gold’s Gym and I love them! They have little, removable sandbag weights, so you can customize. If you’re in need of a set, this is a great one!

 

 

Raisin Bran Crunch

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I have a confession: I’m an old lady who loves Raisin Bran. Seriously. Now, normally I eat the regular Raisin Bran. I tried this crunch variety before and I wasn’t a fan. Last month, my husband accidentally grabbed this variety when shopping and I didn’t have a choice but to eat it. It was all I had. Well, let me just say, I’m glad he did! Now it’s my favorite. I have between half a cup and a full cup every morning and sometimes I’ll even eat it as a snack. Yum!

 

 

Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea

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I picked this up a few weeks ago. It’s heaven! Not only does it smell like a vanilla candle, but it’s also a black tea and has 30-60 mg of caffeine per cup. You know me, I love my caffeine. This has been wonderful in place of a snack during the day.

 

 

V-Moro Smart Watch Band

 

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I found these beauty on Amazon. I’ve been in the market for a new watch band for over a year. The silicon band that came with my Samsung SmartWatch gives me an annoying rash. I’ve gotten around it by only wearing my watch during the most active parts of my day. My husband’s band started to wear out and he was in need of a new one. So after I found him one, I decided to get myself one too. This band is pretty and the metal has proven to be a better choice. It matches perfectly with the rose gold aesthetic as well.

 

 

Fluffy’s Food Adventures

This is such a fun show! We love Gabriel Iglesias, he’s one of our favorite comedians. On one of the free TV apps that came with our SmartTV, we found three seasons and ended up watching them all that day.

 

 

Black Cross – Greg Iles

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This is a story that will stick with you long after you’ve finished the book.

It is January 1944 — and as Allied troops prepare for D-day, Nazi scientists develop a toxic nerve gas that will repel and wipe out any invasion force. To salvage the planned assault, two vastly different but equally determined men are sent to infiltrate the secret concentration camp where the poison gas is being perfected on human subjects. Their only objective: destroy all traces of the gas and the men who created it — no matter how many lives may be lost…including their own.

 

 

True Evil – Greg Iles

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This thriller is a serious page-turner.

Dr. Chris Shepard, a busy young doctor in Natchez, Mississippi, has never seen his new patient Alex Morse before. But the attractive young woman with the scarred face has come to Dr. Shepards office on a mission to catch a killer.

 

 

Videos That Stood Out This Month:

I WAS BODY-SHAMED BY A BRAND – Ashley Brooke

10 Famous People Mistakenly Cited as Experts – TopTenz

Neil deGrasse Tyson On Coronavirus: Will People Listen To Science? – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Why is a Rabbit s Foot Considered Lucky? – Today I Found Out

Fixing Daylight Saving Time Is THIS Easy – It’s OK To Be Smart

Niall Horan Carpool Karaoke – The Late, Late Show with James Corden

 

Article That Stood Out This Month:

Beware the Ides of March. But Why? – History.com

 

 

That’s a wrap! What were your favorite things this month? Leave a comment and let me know.


-A

 

 

DIY Easter Crafts and Decor + A Lego Easter

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

How’s life treating you?

Now that spring has made its official arrival, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some fun Easter crafts you can create to liven up your home. Get the kids, gather up your supplies, and get ready to have a blast!

 

DIY Denim Bunny Easter Craft

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This denim bunny is such a cute addition to any home decor. All you need is an old pair of jeans!

 

Easter Crafts for Kids: Adorable Cardboard Egg-Carton Bunnies and Chicks

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This project is sure to be a hit with the kids!

 

3 DIY Easter Decor Projects

These three projects are so cute and simple to create!

 

Carrot Wreath

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I’m at the age where I love making wreaths for every occasion. I wanted to make a unique carrot wreath and enlisted the help of my Pothos plant, Cobalt. You’ll need three branches from your yard, a string of LED orange lights, floral wire, and a hot glue gun.

 

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Materials needed
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Arrange your branches in a triangle shape
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Hot glue the branches together
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Add floral wire around the branches for extra security
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Wrap your string lights around the branches in a zigzag pattern
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Flip branches over and create a hook with floral wire
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Hang your wreath

 

A Lego Easter

And now for everyone’s favorite: Lego’s! My son and I had a lot of fun creating these.

 

I made this adorable chick and bunny, using these photos from Frugal Fun 4 Boys.

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My son made this cool egg, using this tutorial from Lightailing as inspiration.

 

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And then he made this entire Easter scene for our mantle.

 

 


And there you have it. I hope you found some inspiration to make your own decorations and crafts. If you decide to make any, I’d love to see! Tag me on social media or send me a DM. 

Have a wonderful day friends!


-A

Get Up and Move: 15 Incredible Reasons Why You Should Workout Today

Hello friends!

How are you faring with the time change?

As I was hanging out in my kitchen, watching an interesting video about the Bermuda Triangle and completing my evening chores, I was simultaneously thinking about what I should write about.

It’s mid-March, I thought to myself. What’s a good, relevant topic? I knew I didn’t want to give you a bunch of quotes this week.

And then it hit me.

Why not get up on my soapbox and state my case, listing reasons why everyone should get their workout in?

I dug into my archives and realized it’s been two years since I’ve done one of these posts.  I know, I’m slacking friends.

haha!

It’s March 15 today.

So, instead of just giving you five reasons, I’m going to give you 15 reasons. And, of course you know how I love adjectives, these aren’t ordinary reasons, my friends. Oh no, these are incredible reasons. haha!

Grab some coffee or your drink of choice and let’s dive in!

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15. Exercise boosts your immune system.

No one likes being sick. You feel like trash, you can’t do anything, and you’re absolutely miserable. No thanks. We’re in the thick of flu season and this year we have something even more menacing to watch out for.. yeah, the coronavirus. (I have a lot of thoughts about this topic, but we’ll save that for another time.) Moderate exercise can help your body stay healthy and fight off all the germs that your coworkers keep trying to spread around the office with their coughing and sneezing, or the ones your kids bring home from school. (Seriously, can people just cover their mouths and wash their hands? Or stay home if you’re sick. You aren’t a hero for going into work and trying to power through your contagious disease.) Physical activity gets your blood pumping and the breath working. This helps you get rid of bacteria in your lungs and airways, reducing your risk of getting sick. In addition, your body temperature rises which helps prevent bad bacteria from growing and thriving as well as helping your body fight off any sort of infection. Awesome! It’s important to not overdo it though. There is evidence that strenuous exercise actually has the opposite effect — because your body is exhausted, it can’t devote 100% of its forces to fighting off the evil bacteria trying to invade your personal space, and might actually increase your chances of getting sick. (Read more about these topics here and here respectively.)

 

14. Exercise increases your stamina.

This is important for many reasons, but let’s be honest here. The only one we really care about is for extracurricular activities with our spouses/significant others. I mean, after this reason, is there any need for me to continue this list?

 

13. Exercise improves endurance.

See above. 😉

 

12. Exercise is good for your heart.

Let’s face it. The average American diet is not healthy. I love bacon, pizza, and burgers as much as the next person, but all that cholesterol, salt, and fat just isn’t doing your heart any favors. Combine that with the fact that many people lead sedentary lifestyles — sitting in an office all day just to come home and sit on the couch to binge Netflix to decompress.. not good. More bad news: heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world. Your heart is the most important muscle in your body. Don’t skip your workout. If you haven’t been exercising, it’s not too late. Get up and get moving today. (Read more about how exercise helps your heart: Harvard Medical School John Hopkins Medicine.)

 

11. Exercise can help you stop smoking.

Wow. You’re getting pretty judgy, aren’t you Alyssa? Before you hit the x and close out this tab, just hear me out. I’m not saying you have to quit smoking. I honestly don’t care if you are a smoker and I don’t support raising the legal age to buy tobacco. But that can be a topic for another time. This is a reason for those of you who are trying to quit. Getting some movement in can help reduce your craving for that cigarette and definitely helps stave off the extra pounds that come along with quitting. I know it’s hard to quit, but it is possible if you truly want to. (For more info and tips: Science Daily Fitness Blender Very Well Mind )

 

10. Exercise reduces stress.

There’s nothing better than channeling negative or anxious energy into a workout. The physical activity helps you escape for a small period of time while also clearing your head. You’re better able to focus during the day and chances are, your perspective will have changed. Not to mention you’ll be more calm and able to approach and solve any problem plaguing you.

 

9. Exercise to get closer to your goals.

Did you set a fitness goal in January? How’s that going for you? If you slipped up, no worries. Get up and get back on track. If you’ve been killing it, don’t stop now. Keep moving forward. Progress doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistency and dedication.

 

8. Exercise to look sexy af naked.

haha! I saw this on an ecard a few weeks back and loved it! It’s a pretty great reason to get your workout in today if you ask me. 😉

 

7. Exercise gives you confidence.

This ties in with a few of the other reasons. Not only does exercise flood your brain with those feel-good endorphins (cue Elle Woods) but when you consistently show up for yourself, eliminate excuses, and crush your workouts, you feel good about yourself. That has a powerful effect that carries over into all other areas of your life.

 

6. Exercise helps you sleep better.

And who doesn’t love sleeping? I’m in bed by 9 pm five nights out of the week just to be up before the birds between 4:30 am and 4:50 am. I look forward to the two days I can actually sleep in. (which for me is about 7 am.) According to the Sleep Doctor, physical activity helps promote a more sound, restful sleep. Expanding on that, John Hopkins Medicine says that moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get (that’s the REM phase) where the body repairs and rejuvenates itself. The effects of exercise can also help those who suffer with Insomnia.

 

5. Exercise because it’s free… or because you’re paying for it.

There are many free apps available that will give you workouts or my favorite, YouTube, has videos that will appeal to just about anyone. Want to try boxing? There’s a video. Need a HIIT workout? There’s a video for that, too. Only have 5 minutes? No problem! There’s something for everyone!

Then we have the people who are throwing money away on a gym membership and never set foot in the door or on a pricey app/streaming service they never use. The money’s being spent, folks. You might as well put it to good use and go get your workout in. You’ll feel better financially and physically for doing so.

 

4. Exercise to ease your aches and pains.

This is true physically and mentally friends, especially as you get older. I’m at the ripe old age where how my body feels is largely dictated by the weather. Fun times. Previous injuries, current injuries, sleeping wrong, walking wrong, bending wrong, moving too quickly.. the list of the causes of aches/pains continues infinitely. Most can be eased with some form of movement. You should always consult your doctor before working out if you’re injured, but chances are there’s something you can do. My favorite things to do to help ease pain include: Feldenkrais, yoga, walking, and getting outside for a game of catch with my son.

As for the mental aspect, exercise helps reduce stress (see reason 10.) and boosts your mood. Feeling angry about your trash company messing up your bill? Do some yoga or boxing. Feeling upset about a bad dream or memory that crept its way back to the forefront of your mind? Yoga or dance cardio can help you shake it off. Are your kids driving you nuts? Take them outside and burn off that energy running around the yard. Things at work stressing you out? Try a HIIT workout. There’s a workout for every emotion and stressor. Not only will you burn off the excess energy, but you’ll finish with a clear mind and be better able to focus on solutions.

 

3. Exercise aids digestion.

Whether you suffer from digestion issues or you’ve over-indulged, getting some movement in can help ease symptoms and get things moving again. (To read more information about this or for tips check out Exercises to Improve Digestion and How Exercise Affects Your Digestion )

 

2. Exercise is the Fountain of Youth.

Okay, maybe not. But, regular exercise (along with a healthy diet) helps keep your body strong and your mind sharp. Skip the pricey creams and surgeries and go workout! (Read more on this: ACE Fitness Healthline Business Insider )

 

1. Exercise because you can and choose to.

This is arguably the most important reason to workout. Here’s the thing: you are alive today and hopefully relatively healthy. This is something we often overlook and take for granted. Every day you wake up is a gift. There is always someone who is worse off than you, and while that doesn’t minimize your problems, it does help put them in perspective. When it comes to exercise, start shifting your mindset. Instead of thinking of your workout as a chore, start viewing it as time for yourself. Something you get to do versus having to do. Cultivate a habit of exercising so that it becomes second-nature to you, a non-negotiable part of your day. Motivation doesn’t last and it certainly won’t get you very far. It’s a fleeting feeling. Take responsibility for yourself and just get it done.

 

There you go. 15 incredible reasons to get your workout in. I hope you found this helpful and had a little laugh.

Now log off and go workout!

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Have a wonderful week friends!


-A

 

How To Eliminate Cellulite

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

Spring is almost here.. only 11 days until the equinox. I don’t know about you, but after the drastic highs and lows of what was supposedly winter, I’m ready for more constant sunshine and warm temps… along with green grass, beautiful flowers, and hopefully my Magnolia tree will bloom. We’ll see.

With this in mind, I thought I would share some tips and tricks on how to get rid of pesky cellulite.. or at the very least, how to reduce the appearance of it.

Cellulite is a concern for most of us ladies.. we all have it, in varying amounts, no matter what our size and shape. Some of us try in vain to get rid of it, some simply cover it up with clothing.

But what is cellulite exactly?

It occurs when accumulated fat deposits push up in beween the fibrous connective tissue that lies under the skin, giving us that dimpled, rumpled-looking skin on our thighs, hips, and tushes. No one really knows the causes behind it, but according to the MayoClinic, hormone factors, genetics, age, weight, and muscle tone can play a role.

So how do we get rid of it?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are minimally invasive procedures and surgical interventions you can have done to help treat it. They also recommend a healthy diet and exercise, specifically avoiding processed foods as well as refined sugars and unhealthy fats.

But today, I’m going to share what has worked for me.

 

Exercise.

This is a no-brainer. If cellulite occurs because of fat accumulation, it makes sense to try to reduce your body fat. I’ve always loved exercise and for a while, I was in the mindset that I needed variety. I would bounce from workout method to workout method, trying different things — making sure to keep up with the programs I loved and searching out new workout videos to keep my routine fresh and fun. This was all fine and well in my mid-20’s. I would mix Tracy Anderson with Tone It Up, P90X, a lengthy session on my Gazelle, various BeachBody programs, Pilates, Yoga, the Kim Kardashian Fit In Your Jeans By Friday program, and many others. I built up an extensive fitness library. But as I got older, I realized that if I wanted to reach my fitness goal and maintain it, I needed a better plan. Consistency has never been an issue for me, I just needed to narrow down what I was doing and stick to a few things that work, so I could actually achieve my goals. I still believe that any movement is better than no movement at all, but I also know it’s important to have a good plan that will give you the results you want. You can keep things fresh and fun by mixing in something new here and there, but overall, I found it’s best to stick with one or two on a regular basis. For me, that’s the Tracy Anderson Method and the Hamelin D’Abell Method. Tracy gives me the dancing movements my body craves and helps give my body a sleek, slim look. But Hamelin is the reason I’ve dropped three jean sizes, a shirt size, and lost almost 20 pounds. His method also is making me stronger and helping prevent previous injuries from cropping up. I also practice yoga daily. As I’ve lost weight and body fat, and gained more muscle, the appearance of cellulite on my thighs, hips, and tush has drastically improved. I no longer need to blur out the imperfections in my legs on my Instagram photos — that’s amazing!

Nutrition

Getting my workout in everyday is not my struggle. I love moving and my body craves it. Nutrition is my biggest hurdle. I have a big sweet tooth and I love fried foods. Despite my dedication to my workouts, my body wasn’t changing much for a while. I found myself uncomfortable with how I looked. Back in July (or it could’ve been June, my days all run together most of the time.) I decided I needed to get serious if I really wanted to reach my goals. My first step was paying attention to how much I was consuming. I redownloaded MyFitnessPal (after trying it and not using it eight years ago) and started counting calories. I know it isn’t glamourous, but it was necessary.  I was surprised when I realized what a portion size actually looked like versus what I was actually eating. Once I got that down, I started noticing a difference. Lo and behold, I was making progress! With the excitement about progress came a desire to be more mindful about what I was actually putting in my mouth. I started making healthier choices and started limiting fatty, fried, and salty foods. Sugar has been more challenging for me. I have a big sweet tooth, but I’m actively working on reducing the amount of sweets I eat. Nutrition has also played a big role (probably the most important factor) in my results. Making sure I’m not overeating, sticking to my daily calories, and paying attention to food quality has helped me slim down, lose body fat, and helped reduce the amount of cellulite I have.

Products

Exercise and nutrition are certainly important, but I still have cellulite. There are a few products I use that have helped reduce the appearance of it, made me feel more confident about showing off my legs, and have me excited to wear my cute new pairs of shorts this summer.

I use the Nivea lotion every day. It not only keeps my skin feeling soft and silky, but it also helps firm my skin, reducing the appearance of my cellulite. Every other day or so, I mix a little of the Jergens Natural Glow + Firming with the Nivea to help double up the firming effect and to give me a sun-kissed glow. I find that having a tan makes me look thinner and also helps further the appearance of cellulite.

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This body scrub is amazing! I don’t know that it actually helps with cellulite, but it does exfoliate my skin and smells divine!

Another great tip, if you don’t mind a mess, is to use your used coffee grounds to DIY a body scrub. Just mix the coffee grounds with extra virgin olive oil, and a little white sugar or salt. The sugar/salt will exfoliate the skin and the caffeine from the coffee grounds will give you a tightening effect.

Another method people seem to love is dry brushing. It’s a great all over exfoliater and some believe it helps circulation and with cellulite. I’ve been dry brushing for years and while I haven’t seen any difference with cellulite, I do love the exfolitation it provides.

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Do you have any tips on how to reduce the appearance of cellulite? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Have a wonderful week everyone!


-A

How To Deal With Daylight Savings Time

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

It’s finally March … which means spring is on its way, along with everyone’s favorite time of year — Daylight Savings Time.

That’s right, next Sunday we all lose an hour of sleep.

Ugh.

But on the bright side, we’ll get more hours of sunlight.. who isn’t tired of it being pitch black at 5 pm? And it also means that summer is literally around the corner!

It might be a little rough (okay, it’s definitely going to very rough) next week, but there are a few things we can do to prepare ourselves.

And that, my darling friends, is what I’m going to share with you this week.

Grab your favorite beverage and let’s dive in.

 

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Make it an early weekend.

This could mean one of two things —

  • stay in this weekend, opting to settle in at home and relax
  • if you must go out or already have plans, vow to get home a little earlier.

Get to bed a little earlier this week as well, if possible. At the very least, lay down an hour earlier than normal and read a book or watch a movie. This way you can start to get your body accustomed to the time change.

 

It’s all about light.

Light is an important factor in our circadian rhythm. According to WebMD,  light supresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone responsible for our sleep-wake cycle. Try to give yourself access to as much natural light as possible in the morning. Get outside for a refreshing morning or early afternoon walk. In the evening, limit your exposure. Room darkening curtains for your bedroom, leaving the bathroom light off, and reducing the time spent on your phone at night (or at the very least, turning down the brightness or turning on the blue light filter) are all helpful tips.

 

Keep it moving.

Yep, you knew it was coming. Per usual, I’m encouraging you to exercise, but only because it actually works. Not only do you want to keep moving toward your fitness goals, but movement is healthy for your body and your mind. Try a simple 5 or 10 minute yoga/stretch session in the morning after you wake up. Like I suggested above, get outside for a walk. Dance your heart out to your favorite song or try a toning workout to strengthen your muscles. At the very least, keep up with your workout routine. This not only helps you maintain your daily schedule, but will also help your body adjust a little easier to the time change.

 

Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.

What? The coffee queen is telling me to limit caffeine? Yes, especially if you are sensitive to it. By all means, have your coffee in the morning.. and maybe in the afternoon, too. Consider how your body responds to caffeine. If it’s going to keep you awake past bedtime or cause you to toss and turn, cut yourself off several hours before it’s time to hit the hay. Try having a cup of tea to perk you up, or get up and move to shake off the grogginess and clear your mind. As for alcohol, keep in mind that your glasses of wine or bottles of beer can actually prevent you from getting a good night’s rest. You might want to refrain from partaking this next weekend, or limit how much you are consuming.

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Basic things, I know, but I find that it’s the simple things that make all the difference. Do you have any other tips for dealing with the time change? Let me know in the comments!

Have a wonderful week everyone!


-A

 

 

February Favorites – 2020 Edition

Hello friends!

Happy Wednesday!

It’s that time again.. where I discuss all the things I enjoyed way more than other things. haha!

I have a pretty good list, so let’s just dive in!

 

Black Rifle Coffee AK Espresso Whole Bean

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I’m 100% certain I’ve talked about this before and now we’re talking about it again. It’s just THAT good. Black Rifle had a President’s Day sale and of course, I took advantage of it. I got my husband his preferred Blue Thin Line and nabbed the espresso for myself. I decided to try the whole bean this time around. After all, I have a coffee grinder, I may as well put it to good use, right? Easily one of the top 10 best decisions of my life. haha! If you are like me and love caffeine, you have to give this a try!

 

 

OGX Coconut and Coffee Scrub

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Who doesn’t want to slather their entire body in coffee? I know I do! I saw this on the shelf at the store and instantly gravitated toward it. I know what you’re thinking.. you just threw it in your cart because you’re a sucker for coffee. Well, my friends, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong about that, but in this case, it took me a solid 10 minutes of comparing it with other items and consulting with my husband before I gently placed it in the cart. haha! Seriously, it was pricey.. almost $6. I didn’t want to spend that much and I was concerned that because I have sensitive skin, it would give me a gorgeous red rash. But as you can see, I ended up getting it. It was worth the $6. It smells like heaven, exfoliates, and leaves my skin feeling soft and silky smooth. And, bonus! It didn’t give me a rash. 100 stars out of 10. If you love coffee like me, you should try this.

 

 

L’Oreal Elvive 8 Wonder Water

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Same shopping trip as above, I was left unsupervised in the hair and body section of the store. We typically do everything as a family, and my son and husband take off to electronics and the manly sections of the store and leave me to my own devices. I spotted the markdown section on an end aisle and found some hair products that looked interesting. Then as any budget conscious gal armed with her Influenster app and accounting background does, I headed into the hair section to compare. I ended up grabbing this product to try. I love the L’Oreal Elvive Revive hair mask deep conditioner for colored hair, but I can never find it at the store I typically shop at. You know me, friends, I have a massive, messy amount of thirsty hair. Regular conditioner just doesn’t cut it for my mane. This product is pricey — $8, but it works! After you shampoo, you put this on, leave it in for a bit, and rinse. My hair feels soft and smells amazing for days. Love!

 

 

Cemetery Road – Greg Iles

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Browsing through my library app, I came across this book and decided to give it a read. As I say every time, I was hooked from the first chapter. It was an intriguing story about a journalist who goes back home to his small town to investigate a murder. There were plenty of surprises and twists along the way and the ending left me wanting more. Definitely worth the read! Also, I’m now a huge fan of Greg Iles and I now have a bunch of his books on hold.

Sometimes the price of justice is a good man’s soul.

When Marshall McEwan left his Mississippi hometown at eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington, DC. But as the ascendancy of a chaotic administration lifts him from print fame to television stardom, Marshall discovers that his father is terminally ill, and he must return home to face the unfinished business of his past.

On arrival, he finds Bienville, Mississippi very much changed.  His family’s 150-year-old newspaper is failing; and Jet Talal, the love of his youth, has married into the family of Max Matheson, one of a dozen powerful patriarchs who rule the town through the exclusive Bienville Poker Club.  To Marshall’s surprise, the Poker Club has taken a town on the brink of extinction and offered it salvation, in the form of a billion-dollar Chinese paper mill.  But on the verge of the deal being consummated, two murders rock Bienville to its core, threatening far more than the city’s economic future.

An experienced journalist, Marshall has seen firsthand how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Joining forces with his former lover—who through her husband has access to the secrets of the Poker Club—Marshall begins digging for the truth behind those murders.  But he and Jet soon discover that the soil of Mississippi is a minefield where explosive secrets can destroy far more than injustice.  The South is a land where everyone hides truths: of blood and children, of love and shame, of hate and murder—of damnation and redemption.  The Poker Club’s secret reaches all the way to Washington, D.C., and could shake the foundations of the U.S. Senate.  But by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth about his own history, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.

 

 

King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo

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I didn’t know until I finished reading that this book is actually part of a larger series. This was another book I found while browsing and it is so good! There’s mystery, mysticism, war, philosophy, and adventure all wrapped up into one delicious novel. I’m anxiously awaiting the next in this series.

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

 

 

Nemr: No Bombing in Beirut

We have a few different apps on our TV that allow us to watch free movies and shows. I came across this stand-up special on one such app. (I think it was Tubi.) It was hilarious and relatable! A great way to spend a weekend morning over a few cups of hot coffee.

 

Videos That Stood Out This Month:

I Tried Going Plant Based for 30 DAYS!!! I Didn’t Expect This!!! CRAZY RESULTS – My Thoughts Will Probably Offend You

Super Bowl LIV | Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag” | Tribute to America

REACTION: TAYLOR SWIFT MISS AMERICANA: How To Be Confident & Stop Needing Approval | Shallon Lester – Shallon Lester

7 Things Elegant Ladies NEVER Do In The Bedroom – School of Affluence

I Took a Progress Video EVERYDAY for 30 DAYS | How Much Our Bodies Change EVERYDAY – Keltie O’Connor

Weight Loss Is NOT Racist!! | Social Justice Dieticians – Swolenormous

How To Determine You Weight Window and Stick Within It – Tracy Hensel

Niall Horan – No Judgement

The Pussycat Dolls – React

 

Articles That Stood Out This Month:

2019 Guardian for Good Presentation 3 December, 2019 Sheriff Russell L. Martin

“You Will Know a New Freedom and a New Happiness…” – Fit Recovery

 

That’s a wrap! What were your favorite things this month? Leave a comment and let me know. 


-A

 

Life is a Journey – February 2020

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

It’s finally the end of February. Hallelujah!

I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready to say goodbye to cold weather and embrace the warm sunshine. I have so many plans to transform my garden this year and I’m just itching to get started.

But first, it’s time for a little reflection.

Let’s chat about our goals, shall we?

How did your month go? Did you stick with your action plan? Are you closer to reaching those goals?

If so, awesome!

If not, that’s okay… that’s what today is all about.

When you take time at the end of each month to review, you are more likely to accomplish your goals.

I invite you to revisit what you set out to accomplish and then think about your February. If you stuck with it and feel great going into March, excellent! Maybe you crushed it and are ready to challenge yourself even more. If you slipped up, fell off the the wagon, or life got in the way, figure out what went wrong and decide how to fix it. That could mean re-prioritizing your time, physically scheduling in the things you need to get done, or changing your goals. If your goal was too big, scale back a bit. Small changes lead to big results. Consider what actions need to occur to accomplish what you want and decide on the best plan for you. 

 

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As for me..

My goals for 2020 are:

  • Yoga, Feldenkrais, and shoulder therapy movements daily.
  • Tracy Anderson Method 6-7 times a week. 
  • Hamelin D’Abell Method 5-6 times a week.
  • Cardio or HIIT 2 times a week.
  • Achieve Splits.
  • Continue my progress to reach my weight window goal. 
  • Continue Intermittent Fasting.
  • Cut back on treats, only indulging in a dessert or candy 3 times a week.

 

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Hahahaha… cut back on treats.. yeah right. I failed that goal miserably. I just love sugar and candy. However, I have been mindful of how many calories I’m consuming and I’ve been working around my love for those yummy sweets.. especially since Easter season is almost here.

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mmm jelly beans. What’s your favorite color?

I have met my other goals, though. So, not so bad. I’m going to change a few things:

  • Getting rid of the treat goal. (Don’t judge me. haha!)
  • Switching my TA and Hamelin Goals – TA 5-6 times a week; Hamelin 6-7 times a week.

Now I’m ready for crunch time. With a vacation coming up in the near future, I need to make sure I can enjoy each moment guilt-free. I’ll be amping up my workouts in the coming weeks.

Let’s do this!

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Have an amazing week friends!


-A

 

10 Powerful Fitness Quotes to Motivate Your Week

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

As we get ready to start a new week, I wanted to share my current favorite fitness quotes to inspire and motivate all of us to move!

Let’s get started!

Add a subheadingIf people doubt how far you'll go, go so far that you can no longer hear them.Momentum demands movementMost people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a secondA well-built physique is a status symbol. It reflects the hard work you've put in. You can't steal it, you can't borrow it, and you cannot hold onto it without constant work. It's from dedication, discipline, self-It's the days when the body aches, the desire is low, you feel tired, and you feel weak... Those are the days when champions train.You earn your bodyYou can have results or excuses. Not both.Your lack of dedication is an insult to those who believe in youDon't make it your goal to be fit. Make it your goal to be disciplined and being fit will follow.

 

Have a brilliant week my friends!


-A

The Art of Sexy

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday!

Don’t be fooled by the title, this is probably not going to go in the direction you’re expecting it to. Last month, I was eating Raisin Bran and watching YouTube (As any true 21st century 32 year old gal does.. haha!) and I came across a video from Adrienne Bailon describing her weight loss journey. Now, The Cheetah Girls was one of my favorite movies growing up and Chanel was my favorite character, but I had no idea Adrienne had a YouTube channel. While watching the video, Adrienne said something that really stuck with me:

Self-discipline is sexy.

You may have seen my tweet or Instastory quoting this.. it became my mantra last month and got me thinking about other things that are sexy. Sure, physical appearance plays a big role in our definition of the word, but being sexy is so much more than what your body looks like.

Sexy is

Consistency.

Dedication.

Honesty.

Kindness.

Compassion.

Personal Responsibility

Attitude.

Attitude is the big one.. Being sexy is all about your attitude and mindset. If you have a poor attitude, no one wants to be around you. Who wants to hang out or have a conversation with someone who constantly complains, gossips, or is rude? No one. On the flip side, someone who:

  • works hard to achieve their goals
  • is grateful for who and what they have in their life
  • takes responsibility for their actions
  • learns from their mistakes
  • is kind and considerate
  • has a sense of humor

That is a sexy person.

As I was pondering all of this, I remembered a book I read years ago by the one and only Carmen Electra – How To Be Sexy. (How fitting, right?) I’ve always loved Carmen and thought she was gorgeous.. hell, she still is! I actually wrote down notes and I still have them.

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Beautiful, cursive penmanship is sexy 😉

In the book, Carmen not only gave practical tips on beauty (as expected) but she also outlined what sexy actually means.. or at least her interpretation.

You are your own expert. Sexy is personal.

You need to be comfortable and confident with the person you are. You have to like the lady you see in the mirror — inside and out.

Your inner confidence should radiate outward.

You need to be secure enough to not care what people think.

There ain’t nothing sexier than a woman who’s unpredictable.

You shouldn’t be afraid of yourself, even if it means you mess up royally and make a fool of yourself once in awhile. It’s sexy to laugh at your mistakes.

If you don’t laugh at your mistakes, you’ll cry over them. Besides, laughing is sexy and laughing at yourself doubly so because it shows you’re not uptight.

There’s nothing sexier than knowing who you are and having the courage to be that person.

The secret is to stop caring what other people are thinking and focus on being you.

You can spend your whole life worrying about the what-ifs, or you can live in the moment, in the present tense, and seize the opportunity to be the person you truly want to be.

Do it for yourself, not for anyone else’s approval.

Loosen up and have a good time. People will be drawn to your sense of ease, and they’ll feel more comfortable around you if they see you as fun and human instead of as an ice queen.

If you channel nervous energy into physical energy, you’ll work off some stress and steam.

Unpredictable is always sexy. 

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-A

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day DIY Crafts and Decor + A Lego Valentine’s

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday and happy Groundhog Day!

hahaha! I’ll definitely be watching this later today. It’s tradition!

But today, I don’t want to discuss Phil’s predictions.. instead, I want to share some fun and creative Valentine’s Day crafts! I have wreath ideas, home decor ideas and suggestions, and instructions on how to make your very own gnome with items you already have on hand. I got a hot glue gun last month and I feel unstoppable friends! haha! I also have some cute Lego ideas for you.

Let’s dive in!

3 Lovely DIY Valentine’s Day Wreath Ideas

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My new favorite thing is creating wreaths. They are so fun and easy to make. As with every craft I do, I like to use things I already have on hand to create new pieces. These Valentine’s Day wreaths are sure to add a little sparkle to your home.

 

3 Easy and Adorable DIY Valentine’s Day Decor Ideas

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I normally don’t decorate for Valentine’s Day, but after making those wreaths, I was inspired to create a few more pieces. I’m so glad I did! The living room just feels more alive with a banner and touches of sparkles. But, my favorite creation was that gnome. You might recognize it from my January Favorites. It was so easy to make and I plan on keeping him up all year long!

 

Cute Crayon Valentine’s Craft for Kids

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How cute are these crayons? My son and I were inspired to make them last year. We actually have a Crayola crayon maker, but we haven’t used it since we moved. This project was more fun and we still have the crayons. I think these would be a cute gift for a Valentine’s Day classroom party.. especially if you are looking to steer away from candy.

 

And now for everyone’s favorite…

A Lego Valentine’s Day

You know we love Lego’s around here. It seems like my son has a million, haha! We made three cute Lego decorations to add to the fireplace.

MineCraft Bee

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My son made this adorable bee, modeled after MineCraft. Isn’t it darling? He used an image on Google as his inspiration and he even made a little beehive.

 

Lego Heart

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I made this cute heart using this as my inspiration. I made a few creative liberties and it turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself. 🙂

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Lego Rose

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This was significantly more difficult to create. I used this photo and this pin (it did lead to the website where the creator explained how he made the bouquet for his and his wife’s anniversary, but it’s not coming up now. You could still use the photo, though if you’re interested.) as my inspiration. I ended up combining the ideas and taking severe creative liberties to make do with the pieces I had. I think it turned out pretty cute. Now that it’s up on the mantle, my son added his bee and hive to it. 🙂

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And there you have it. I hope you found some inspiration to make your own decorations and crafts. If you decide to make any, I’d love to see! Tag me on social media or send me a DM.

Have a wonderful day friends!


-A