Saturday, August 1, 2015

Recipe for Entertaining

How to turn a long nap into a party planning afternoon. A few weeks ago, Lincoln’s 2.5 nap really allowed me to really allowed me to prepare and pull about all the stops for our 4th of July family picnic. For those of you (like me) who love to host,  but always feel like your under the gun and pressed for time.....all while trying to take care of your babies. I hope you find this helpful. Also, there are a few recipes as well! 

The to do list: 
-Make Cake
-Fruit Salad
-Slice fixings
-Speed Clean: 
o   Pick Up
o   Wipe down counters/dust
o   Sweep
o   Dishes
-Set up paper plates/silver wear
-Attempt to recreate last night’s cocktail
-Season meat & make hamburger patties
-Get ready
Cake – Confession, I have always wanted to make a flag cake. But a plain white cake is well, boring! So, instead I decided to just decorate my new favorite cake with strawberries and blueberries. This baby was a HIT! Some people even had thirds (but I won’t name names). I was introduced to this mandarin/clementine cake, by my sweet coworker Ramona. Here's the recipe.
Fruit salad – the only fancy thing here was instead of dirtying another bowl, I decided to hallow out and reuse half the watermelon as our serving dish. After all, nothing says picnic like Watermelon!  One tip, don’t scrap too far into the white, you might puncture your “bowl” or get a bitter pieces of rind. I used my pampered chef ice cream scoop. As a bonus, the juice created by scooping out the little melon rounds can double as a sauce for your other berries/fruit!
Speed cleaning – this Step-by-Step Plan from Real Simple completely changed how I clean my kitchen. Save’s time and really allows you to focus on the fun parts of entertaining. (aka everything else on this list)
Cute Sign – This was added to my list, cause he was still sleeping. Courtesy of where else, PINTEREST!
Cocktail – the night before I fell in love with a drink from the 21C rooftop bar. Adorably named “Putting on the spritz”, I’ve was able to recreate this signature cocktail. Here is what you need:
Watermelon juice
White wine/sparkling wine
Sliced fennel
1 orange
To make, slice watermelon. Puree in blender, and push through a fine strainer. 

Slice fennel, and half an orange. Add to mixture. Then juice other half of orange, adding to mixture. Finally, add the white wine of your choice and mix. Let sit for at least an hour, so the flavors can combine. It is normal for this cocktail to separate, so mix before serving. (Yes, I used the fennel as my stirer)

Last tip, the watermelon juice does dilute your drink (which being a light weight, I prefer). But, if you prefer more guesto in your cocktail, you may want to add two bottles of wine. 
This was the point of the afternoon; I decided to make another cup of coffee.
Once I seasoned my hamburgers, and Lincoln woke up I was very happy to see my mother in law pulling in the driveway. Just in time for me to get ready.
Overall it was an amazing 4th of July, here are some of the pictures of the kids enjoying a little cousin time.

Half way through the night I realized, this is a good test run for Lincoln’s 2nd birthday party. Which, (gasp!) is today! I better get a move on. Have a great summer y'all! 

Friday, May 29, 2015

It’s the Little Things in Life

In the moments of extreme exhaustion or when I can feel the weight of the world on my back, is when I truly appreciate the little things. No matter how small, those little tiny things put a smile on my face, a skip in my step and sometimes help me find the second wind I’ve been searching for since 6am. Well, today is one of those moments. 
To be blunt, I’m sleep deprived. My poor sweet boy has been battling night terrors. I’ve heard about these from my sisters-in-law, and our Lord knows I’ve prayed to never experience them. Well, they are AWFUL! There is nothing worse than watching your babies’ imagination develop, and wake them up to utter terror at the same time.
However, it’s Friday. Which means two things…..hopefully I can catch up on sleep, and time to savor those little things.
Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things! 
1. Citrus Scents – I learned a few years ago that citrus scents give you a natural mood boost, and have been shown to wake you up. Life was easy when Origins carried an entire line of their GloomAway signature scent. But alas, several of my fav’s have been discontinued. Lucky, one of my besties recommended a new scent by NEST

Spray this baby one time, and you will look around to see who just sliced open a fresh ruby red grapefruit. 

Adding to my citrus kick, I discovered that EO makes a Citrus Mint Everyone 3-in-1 soap. This stuff is simply amazing! All natural, safe for everyone (hence the name) and it’s a shampoo, body-wash and bubble bath (and 32oz!). I’ve found mine at both Whole-foods and Vitamin Shoppe.

2.  Fresh Strawberries – Another confession. While visiting Monterey with Travis and Lincoln I had what appeared to be an allergic reaction to strawberries. After one bite, within five minutes my hands started to itch….within ten I had hives all over my arms and back. After reading online, I had self-diagnosed myself with a strawberry allergy. (You see friends, this is why the internet is evil, and I am glad I am not in the medical profession). I’ve since leaved that pesticides can mimic food allergies. So while picking strawberries in my parents farm last weekend, I took a risk. Guess what, NO allergies! So now, I can truly savor these sweet in season little beauties.

3. Single Ladies Synced to Duck Tails - If you didn't love the Beyonce Single Ladies video, and you weren't sold by the Samantha/Liza Minnelli rendition in Sex and The City 2. I STRONGLY recommend you watch this. Whoever crafted it is a comedic genius. Plus, it made me like the internet again. :)

4. – I am all about supporting your local businesses. Since I have more UK fans as friends than I can count, I have to share this small shop that I stumbled upon and have fallen in love with. I rocked their “bless your heart” t-shirt, and Lincoln looked absolutely handsome in his toddler tee.  I’m actually relieved I don’t live in Lexington; because ironically I just got an email that they are having a warehouse sale tomorrow?
5. Being published – ok, this is 100% a shameless plug. But, as some of you bloggers/writers well know. When you write something, whether it be a simple product review, or a heavily researched article. You want to share that information with the universe! It gives you a sense of accomplishment, and for me I feel like I am helping other’s, while fueling my passions at the same time. Hence why today, when I got an email from my team at SkinnyMom that my Svelte Like Cinderella piece was now live on the site, I was immediately sporting the goofiest grin! 

That sums it up for me. Wishing you all a fun filled weekend, with I hope….your own moments to savor the little pleasures of life.
Xoxo -

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Worst Deja’Vu’

There is one sentence you never wanna hear a family member or loved one say, “I have cancer”. It’s a reality we are all faced with, that someone in our life will discover they have cancer. In the midst of this discovery several sobering questions will arise….. 

What stage is it?....Did they catch it early?...... Was it contained?.......What’s the course of treatment? and my least favorite question “What’s the survival rate…”.

The feeling of deja’vu’ came over me a few months ago when during a checkup and Lincoln doctor I got a random phone call from my mother. Instantly I could hear in her voice that she was trying to sound optimistic, but that something was wrong.  

To give you a little history, it’s only been 2 years since I got a very similar phone call from my father. To tell me that in less than 24 hours he was having a massive tumor removed, in a surgery I later learned was called the whipple, to battle his very aggressive pancreatic cancer.  A procedure that only 20% are eligible for, and is extremely risky. Luckily for all of us, he survived and did beautifully. And now, with the help of his oncologist and doctors and by God's grace, his tests keep coming back clean. 

Being aware of how quickly cancer can spread, my mother has been proactive in her own screenings. Earlier this year during a routing mammogram her doctor discovered a small mass, and had it biopsied. This was not her first biopsy, but the first one that came back malignant (cancerous).  

She wasted no time scheduling a surgery, to remove the mass and test her lymph nodes.  Which leads up to the phone call I received the afternoon of February 5th. My mom was calling to let me know she in fact had cancer, but that they caught it early. 

I am happy to report, after her recovery and meeting with her oncologist, my mom is cancer free. The mass was so small in-fact, the majority was taken by the biopsy. So they are only recommending 5 weeks of radiation.  I share this, because it’s not uncommon for caregivers, and family members to take a backseat to their own personal health when caring for a loved one. If my mom had done this, while helping my dad through recovery, there is no way we would have caught it this early.

Additionally, most people arnt aware that if you have a family history of cancer, insurance will cover additionally screenings. My mom is the 4th woman in my family to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. So, not only will I be electing to have yearly monograms moving forward, but we are looking into genetic testing.

I share this, because life can get so busy that we forget to take care of ourselves. Well, life is please, take care of yourself, get check ups, screenings so you can spend more time enjoying what little precious time we have left.



Friday, April 10, 2015

#LetsGo60Days – The Results

I spent some time reflexing on my personal challenge, because the inches I lost don't even begin to explain how my life has changed.  When I started this challenge I had let myself go. In November I started a new full time desk job, life got busy and my health became my last priority. Not only did I gain weight, but I started to feel very uncomfortable and I had no energy. For those of you who know me, that last part should come as a shocker.
It can be a slippery slope; first…you skip the gym for a few weeks. Next, you start eating out every night. All the sudden your life is a series of lazy, unproductive days and you don’t recognize yourself.

I decided to take control of this vicious cycle, and see what would happen if I finally did all the “things” I’ve never been able to stick with. Well, I will let you all be the judge, but I can tell you I’ve never been happier for sticking to a goal!

Day #1

Measurements (Inches)
Chest: 36
Arms: 10
Waist: 31.5
Hips: 39.5
Thigh: 22.5

Day #60

Measurements (Inches)
Chest: 32
Arms: 10.5
Waist: 27
Hips: 35.5
Thigh: 21

Total - 13.5 Inches LOST!

Lessoned Learned
When I set out on this journey, my goals were simple…attainable. Workout 4 days a week, eat clean and drink plenty of water. Most important, find that happier version of myself. What I realized 1/3 of the way in was to see results, REAL results, it took more. The four things I finally did paid off!
  1. Supplements & Protein:   Pre workout drinks, vitamins and protein shakes. Three things i’ve always consumed, sporadically.  Something that drove my husband NUTS! Now, after using all three together every day, I understand how important they are to your body. Not only do I feel stronger, have cut my cravings in half and i've seen less injury and recovered faster.
  2. Lifting Plan: Ahhh the weight room, we have always been acquaintances, but never besties. Now I know what it feels like to stick to a 4 day split, and have a new found comfort level with that section of the gym. I feel stronger and I’m seeing definition I haven’t seen in years!
  3. Photos & Measurements – In case no one has told you, muscle weighs more than fat and scales LIE! In 60 days, I lost 3 lbs. If that was my only measure of success, I never would have made it this far.
  4. Nutrition Coach – We all know the 80/20 rule, along with a million clique sayings like “You can’t out train a bad diet.” This has always been my struggle. I love food! Rich food, carbs and my portions… out of control! So I decided to call in a professional, my good friend Josh Winkler. Josh is a Fitness Coach, Certified Sports Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and he and his wife Tiffany own NewLife Active and NewLife Caf├ęs. You may recognize him from the Face of ReebokONE contest, where he was a semifinalist. He not only held me accountable, but he showed me what I was doing wrong. All this time I thought carbs were my problem! Turns out it was lack of protein, an excess of fat…and carbs. He taught me how to track my food, meal prep and carb cycle. Now I’m learning how to eat for MY BODY. No diet will ever teach you this. Only working with someone who will support you, inform you and be honest.

As a bonus, in the middle of my challenge I was invited to be a part of SkinnyMom's Real Moms #Iam Campaign. This campaign centers around reflecting a positive body image, for real moms who are looking to redefine SuperModel. 

Now with this challenge complete, words cannot describe how much better I feel. I am excited to go to the gym, chase around Lincoln and getting out of bed is so much easier. Completing everyday tasks comes with ease, and I love the way I feel. With this new found energy I am committing to making this my lifestyle, by continuing to step up my game. So with a new month, and a new goal…I hope you will find my insight useful, and your own goal to shoot for. But remember, these things take time. So don't give up!

Photo Credit - MyfitnessPal

We only get one life, why not make it every second count! 

Xoxo –

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Things That Make Me Hangry!

(Disclaimer – this was written after angrily and unsuccessfully peeling hard boiled eggs.)

On my way to work a few days ago, I heard about a recent study where women claimed dieting is harder than child birth. While this may seem preposterous to most of you, there is something to be said about this theory. Depending on your pregnancy, carrying a child will range on average 32-42 weeks and the delivery at max will last few days. Translation, and END in sight. However, as our Pinterest feed is flooded with the new tips and tricks we are all HUNGRY for …..eating clean, counting calories, watching carbs, fasting like Daniel & eating like a caveman. They are a constant reminder that as we get older, we have to DIET. Yes, it’s a four letter word no one likes, and these “latest and greatest” tricks are just new ways to do it.

Today, I had an epiphany on why we all despise this quest, it’s the foods themselves! Have you ever stopped to think about how easy it is to eat bad food, and how hard it is to eat foods that are good for you? It takes time, planning, patients and energy to eat healthy food. For certain foods, I’m totally up for the challenge! After all, artichokes are one of my favorite foods. A veggie my husband absolutely hates to prepare from its raw form.  But for others….half way into the process I can’t help but to say “Are you freaking kidding me!”.  

For those of you who were not born with amazing metabolisms, the “I can eat whatever I want and still look amazing in a bikini”, this GIF is for you, (AND ME!)

Tastes SO Good – You Know You Wanna Be Bad 

(Top Left – 1. Pizza – it’s so easy you can have them on a bagel, from the freezer and even delivered to your door! 2. Cookies – between the “We don’t take no for an answer” girl scouts, and the packaging of these bad boys, we are all screwed. 3. Pasta – raise your hand if you have given into bottomless pasta bowls at Olive Garden, or finished off your child’s mac-n-cheese? 4. Potato Chips – there is a reason two separate companies have created slogans like “You Can’t Have Just One” and “Once You Pop You Can’t Stop”. They are genetically engineered to make discipline impossible.  5. Donut Holes – For when eating a whole donut is too hard of task…..they save the small centers so cute, you just can’t say no.)

Are You Freaking Kidding Me!

(Top Left – 1. Artichokes – you have to boil, peel, slice and cut these babies to even reach the edible part. 2.  Nuts – You are nuts if you try to eat these pre-shelled! 3. Crustaceans – Smart little creatures who’s shells make us all think… I really want Shrimp and Lobster tonight? 4. Pomegranates – and other tropical fruits that not only come with their own amour, but you need a set of instructions to consume. 5. Hard Boiled Eggs – The bane of my existence, and the inspiration for this post.) 

Happy Lunch time friends! 

Xoxo -



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Let's Go 60 Days - Personal Challenge

It’s the beginning of the third week of January, and its GAME time. SkinnyMom's Instagram photo yesterday was the perfect mental kick in the yoga pants I needed.
SkinnyMom Instagram
There are million excuses for not being the healthiest version of myself….for why I didn't "drinking enough water", "eat", or "make it to the gym".  If I’m honest, it boils down to not challenging myself and laziness. 
So today, on January 20th, I am making a proclamation for a no excuses 60 day challenge, where I commit to the BEST version of myself in 2015. The conditions......
  • Water – 72 OZ or More
  • Food – Commit to eating clean 5 days a week, leaving room for 2 cheat meals per week
  • Fitness – Workout 4 times a week,  at least 2x at the gym, if not more
  • Find Joy – regardless of how well I do day to day, week to week….I will find a way to tap into my inner bliss and find something that makes me happy every day

So far day one is off to a roaring start! With almost 10k steps, clean meals (dinner thanks to Seasons 52) and more water than my bladder knows what to do with! 

I promise, at the end of this challenge, I will share my results! Feel free to join me and follow my progress!
#liveenergized #letsgo60days #gametime

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Themed Workout

Happy Halloween everyone! Before we all begin our nights with warm and hearty soups, festive beverages and a sampling of our kids Halloween candy....I wanted to share a festive workout my bootcamp buddies and I did this morning. So you can enjoy your treats, guilt free!

Warm Up:

  • 60 Second Carioca or Grapevine Drill
  • 50 Second Creepy Crawly Walk (Bridge walking backward on hands)
  • 40 Squats
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
  • 20 Second Sprint
  • 10 Push Ups

Cardio Bootcamp - Grab a partner and watch the calories burn! I recommend doing each workout 3 times, 40 seconds on...20 seconds off. Have fun!

  1. Pumpkin Toss (Medicine Ball works too!) - Grab a partner and toss the pumpkin back and forth while running horizontally the length of a room.
  2. Monster Walk - Place a tight small band around your ankles, walk in a half moon shape forward, alternating legs.....think Thriller! 
  3. Frankenstein Lunge - With a hand weight in each hand, lunge forward keeping your hands at shoulder height the whole time. 
  4. Spider Push Up - Starting in a plank, step forward bringing your foot to shoulder height, then pushup. Alternate on each side.
  5. Bat Burpees - Standard burpee, but jumping into a "bat" pose (aka start jump).
  6. Goblet Squat - Grabbing a pumpkin, or a kettle bell squat. For extra calories, add an upright row or overhead press.
  7. Bon Fire Outs - Go into a deep squat, feet spread wider than shoulder width. With a bench or low surface in front come up into a lunge reaching out and coming into a elevated plank. 
  8. Zombie Get Ups - Starting laying completely flat, come up to full standing...without using your hands. You can however..cross your feet.
  9. Full Moon Rises - Laying down with a exercise ball between your feet crunch up to pass it to your hands, alternate.
Of course this can also be done tomorrow, to burn off today's festivities. Or you can just join me tomorrow at Allstar Backyard Bootcamp at 9am, to see what we come up with next!

Xoxo -



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