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Sunday, August 16, 2015

What I've been up to lately

It's been a while since I've posted and I'm long overdue.  Since I quit smoking in October my life has gone through a variety of changes in my life.

First of all I did stay smoke free.  It's been 9 months, 20 days, 15 hours and 24 minutes.  Yes I have an app that tells me exactly how long it's been.  I take a look every once in a while to remind myself that I've come a long way.

Second I've turned into a health and fitness fanatic.  Back in May I did a Whole30.  It really opened my eyes into the world of food and what's good for my body.  It turns out that I feel the best when I eat mostly Paleo.  Dairy is a huge issue for me.  If I eat to many grains and simple carbs I don't feel so hot either.

I got a gym membership back in April and haven't looked back.  2 years ago I was a scant size 4 and did not look healthy.  My friends kept saying I looked like an 11 year old boy.  Sure I was skinny but was I healthy? No!

Today I'm a size 6 and weigh about 15 lbs heavier than I did back in those size 4 days and I still look like I weigh 20 lbs less than I do.  I go to the gym ALL the time.  I love it.  I just don't feel right if I don't workout.  Am I totally where I want to be? No but I'm getting there day by day.  Hard work and determination are helping me get there!

The other day a friend of mine convinced me to become a Team Beachbody coach.  I'm SO excited about it and I can't wait to really dive in.  The programs are really great.  'm starting with PiYo which is similar to my Centergy class at my gym.  After that I'm totally hitting Body Beast.

Anyway, check out my sites

I'd love to help you on your fitness journey.  Contact me today to find out where to start!.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Time to Quit

So I've been a smoker for a long time.  Just about half my life (for the record I'm 33 now).  Around a month or so ago I made the decision to finally quit for good.

I've quit at least a dozen times before.  The most recent time was when I found out I was pregnant with my son in 2010.  I stayed quit through the pregnancy and up until he was around 4 months old.  I know why I didn't stay quit at the time.  And honestly it just wasn't my time yet.

All the times I've tried to quit in the past I've done it cold turkey.  REALLY not a good choice for me.  It does not work well for me.  I tried the lozenges once but, quite frankly, they taste really nasty and left a warm sensation in my mouth when I was using them.

This time, however, I learned that my best friend of over 15 years recently quit with the patch.  I know that's also what my mom used to finally kick the habit.  My mom quit back when I was pregnant with my son in 2010 and with the help of crocheting a baby blanket for him and the patch quit at last.

So I started my journey on October 27, 2014.  It was my first day back from vacation with my son and parents.  I figured that it would be the best time to attempt quitting because whenever I've been around my parents I always have smoked less.

That Monday I woke up and put on a patch.  That first day wasn't that bad but the next was awful.  Cravings all over the place.  Since that day I've been doing really well. I'm about halfway through my 4th week.

I can honestly say that I'm not really missing anything.  I don't miss going out in the cold to smoke or the coughing or other nastiness.  I did feel like crap for the first 2 weeks while my lungs were clearing out tho.

I highly recommend using the patch to help you quit smoking.  It's been fantastic for me.  The hardest thing has been changing habits.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Life Today

So, Today started off pretty normal.

Alarm goes off, I get up and attempt to get ready before my 3 year old JD wakes up.  OF COURSE .067952 seconds after I'm up and out of bed he's up to.  He sleeps in his own room but if he wakes up in the middle of the night he can sleep with me.

"Mommy, is it time for school?"

"In a little bit it is baby, go back to sleep, you don't need to get up yet"

This only works about once in about 187,000 tries.  Today was not one of those times.  I pick him up, deposit him on the couch and put Disney Junior on for him.  Because thankfully the people who do the scheduling for the kid stations realize that cartoons need to be on before 6 am!

Well, now I've got about 3 minutes of peace in which to get ready before the questions start (I'm hungry, thirsty, is it time to go to school yet, etc)

In the time it takes me to quickly get ready I realize that my internet is down (yet again).  Whenever this happens it's HIGHLY inconvenient because I work from home 90% of the time.  I NEED Internet to be able to work.

I drop little man off at daycare (thank goodness today was a quick and easy dropoff) then go home to see if I can deal with the problem myself.

I tried resetting the modem and the router twice.  Restarted my computer all to no avail.  Get on the phone with Charter and they go through the same crap that I just did.  and GUESS WHAT?  It didn't do squat just like I knew would happen.

Long story short, I spent 30 minutes on the phone.  For them to tell me that they couldn't do anything on the phone (no crap, I already did everything that you said to try and it still didn't work).  I now have an appointment anywhere from 1-3.

This isn't really cool.  I work from home.  So I'm camped out at Starbucks for a little while so I can get some free (or at least for the price of a venti salted caramel mocha) for a few hours of internet access.

They have free WiFi but it's slow as dirt.  I've been trying to download some files for literally an hour and I think (hope, pray) that I'll be done soon.  As soon as the download finishes I need to head back to the apartment.  Just in case they can actually get to me before 1 pm.  They put in a "priority" but who the hell knows if they will actually do anything about it.

In the mean time I'm sitting here drinking my salted caramel mocha and getting some work done.  It's not all that bad but it's not like my desk in my home office that I'm used to.

This internet speed here is awful.  534/723 MB of the download so far and it's killing me!  If it were Wednesday I could have gone to my neighbor's a few buildings away but it's not Wednesday and he's at work.

Hopefully the rest of the day goes better than the morning has so far!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Essential Oils - What they Are and How to Use Them

Ok, so you've heard about essential oils I'm assuming.  They can be used for a multitude of different things including bath products, beauty products, cleaning supplies, massage oils, diffuses and many more.

According to The Essential Oil University this is how they define essential oils.

Essential oils are the volatile, aromatic oils obtained by steam or hydrodistillation of botanicals. Most essential oils are primarily composed of terpenes and their oxygenated derivatives. Different parts of the plants can be used to obtain essential oils, including the flowers, leaves, seeds, roots, stems, bark, wood, etc.

Certain cold-pressed oils, such as the oils from various citrus peels, are also considered to be essential oils but these are not to be confused with cold-pressed fixed or carrier oils such as olive, grapeseed, coconut etc. which are non-volatile oils composed mainly of fatty acid triglycerides. Other aromatic, plant-derived oils, which technically aren’t essential oils because they are solvent extracted, include Absolutes(hexane followed by ethanol extraction), CO2’s (liquid carbon dioxide used as the solvent) and Phytols or Florosols (fluoro-hydrocarbon solvent).

Now essential oils aren't even really oils.  They don't contain the fatty acids that constitute what we call an oil.

Many oils are high in antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.  This makes them perfect for adding to your homemade natural cleaning supplies.

The Best Oils for cleaning are: Lemon, grapefruit, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, and rosemary.  My favorites are eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender.

Essential oils can greatly improve your mood as well.  Look into what each of them do to achieve your desired result.

As I get older I'm finding myself becoming more "crunchy."  For those of you who don't know what that means, in a nutshell it means that I'm trying to make my life more natural and sustainable.  I'm cooking from scratch whenever possible, cutting out most all processed foods in my diet and my son's diet, making my own cleaning products, etc.

I've started with laundry detergent and fabric softener.  If your interested to see how I made my detergent check out my post on it HERE.

Anyway, back to the oils.  I use them for my cleaning products, in old potpourri that I want to revive, bath salts, lotions and the list is endless.

You don't need a lot with the oils.  A little goes a long way.  With some preparations you only need a few drops.  My fabric softener called for 30-40 drops of oil.  That's really not a lot.  A little .5 oz bottle will last a LONG time.

For a quick reference of oils, definitions and uses click HERE.

I found this great post from Crunchy Betty, "21 Things You Should Know About using Essential Oils"

I could just tell you what she said and plagiarize of just link you to her article like I just did.

Possibilities are endless when it comes to essential oils.  All you have to do is to start experimenting!

Monday, July 7, 2014

One of my favorite bath time products

When my son was a newborn bath time wasn't always easy. In fact it was a downright nightmare unless I used one of my favorite bath time products, a bath cozy. It's essentially a bath towel that you soak and place on the baby so they don't get cold during bath time.
Below is the one that I had for JD.  He would immediately start to shiver whenever I first placed him in the tub and as soon as I took the towel off of him after.

It was always an enjoyable experience for us both if I used this.

We always had lots of fun with the bath.  Now as an active 3 year old bath time takes on an entirely different meaning.  We play, color with bath crayons and there's lots of silliness and other general happiness.

As you can see he was generally a happy baby after the bath was over.

I absolutely 100% recommend every mom (or dad) to buy one of these when they have a baby.

It's a must have for bath time for the little ones.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cool Alternative to Waxing Facial Hair

Like many other women I know I've got extra facial hair that is dark. I've been waxing or tweezing for YEARS! And I do mean years, I've been waxing my eyebrows since I was 11, that's 22 years of waxing people! My lip and chin followed not long after.

Years before I had my son, who is 3 now, I had laser hair removal on my lip and chin. Got one of those buy one area get one area deal. It worked great, until I got pregnant. Then the hormones went all whacky and the dark hair started growing back.

Not so fun let me tell you.

Anyway, there's a salon down the road from my apartment that I've had some other services done and I decided to get my eyebrows done there. I used to get them done at my nail salon or at my hair stylist. I could still get them done at my nail salon but I'm currently in the market for another hair stylist again, it's a long story for another blog post.

They are Indian so they thread eyebrows. I never had it done before. It was awesome. SO much faster than waxing. Added bonus is that my skin isn't red or inflamed afterwords, not red at all in fact, and you don't have all that gross wax residue left over from waxing. Another thing is that you don't have to worry about potentially getting burned by the wax being to hot.

I wanted to see if I could find instructions in the Internet to see if I could do my lip and chin at home. I'm more than happy to pay the $6 every few weeks to have my eyebrows done as, quite frankly, I'm not that coordinated when it comes to making sure my eyebrows are even.

There is TONS of info out there. HERE are my favorite instructions I've found.

Now a few notes about getting started.

It says to use 2' of thread. I think that, at least for me, that's to much. Around 18" or so seems to work best for me.

It does take a bit of practice to be able to yank out the hair. Once you do get the hang of it it's certainly faster than tweezing and, in my opinion anyway, faster and easier than waxing. As for the thread I seem to like just a standard all purpose thread. I've got some upholstery thread that works decently as well. The article says that the type doesn't matter so just play around with different types and just pick one that works best for you.

I didn't practice on my leg like they say to in the article as I had just shaved the other day so I didn't have enough hair there to try it out. I did just fine with the mirror on my face once I got the hang of the motion required to pull the hair out.

The big bonus of threading is that you don't have to wait for hair to be a certain length like you do with waxing. You can do it every other day if you feel like it so you never have hair on your eyebrows, lip or chin.

Sure you'll still need tweezers just like with waxing but that part is no worse than before.

Friday, June 6, 2014

30 Day Mommy Ab Challenge

So I started doing the 30 Day Mommy Ab Challenge that was posted on Being Mommy's Facebook page.  I follow them on Facebook because they have contests, photos and other fun stuff.

This is the calender that I'm following.  I've only done 5 days of it (Thursday was a rest day) but I'm feeling great.

My abs have always been strong but a little extra toning never hurts.  I'll do a variety of different things including lean muscle building protein shakes and another lean muscle building supplement.  You can see both products below.  The shakes I'll do with plain water, skim milk or unsweetened almond milk.  Just depends on my mood or if I've got almond milk in the house.

I enjoy staying fit and try to manage that as best I can with a toddler in the house.  He's 3 so running around after him and swimming in the pool (now that it's summer) helps a ton with that.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tablets - What's right for you?

So recently my boyfriend asked me what a good tablet would be for his 7 year old daughter for her birthday.  He asked me because I have an iPad mini.  I told him that he won't go wrong with a Kindle Fire.

Had it not come out when it did I would have a Kindle Fire.

I think the Kindle Fire is a fantastic tablet for the price.  It's one of the best in fact.  Apple's products are good yes but they always come at a premium price because that's just how Apple operates.

Not only is a Kindle Fire a fully functional tablet just like an iPad but it's a couple hundred buck cheaper.

Scale factor is the same as my iPad mini so that's not an issue either.  I don't like the full size iPad because it's too big in my opinion.  The Kindle Fire is a perfect size.  And it runs around $100 less than the comparable iPad.

The added bonus of the new version of the Kindle Fire HDX is the "Kindle Free Time."

You can set limits for your kids for watching videos, reading books, playing games.  It automatically cuts off when the time limit had been reached.  It's an awesome idea that the iPad doesn't have.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Make your own Bath Salts

I don't know about you but I LOVE soaking in a hot tub to take the aches, pains and bumps away after a long day.  It's always very relaxing.

This past Christmas I made a jar of bath salts for all of the women in my family as a little something extra from me.  They were a huge hit.

Here is the basic recipe.  There are many, many, many variations.  This is just one.  The possibilities are endless.  You can do just about anything.

1 part Epsom Salt
1 part Sea Salt
1 part Baking Soda (Optional)
Essential Oils (Optional)
Herbs or other additives (Optional)

Take a zip top bag and start with 1 cup or so of each of the salts.  Combine in the bag, close and combine well.  If you're using the Baking Soda (good to help with softening the skin) add it in now as well.

Once combined well add your essential oils, herbs or other additives.  Close and combine well.

The amount of oil you'll use will depend on your personal preference.  I tend to go heavier on the oils than they recommend because I like the effects of the oil.  My favorites to use are Lemon and Eucalyptus Oils.  The combo is divine.

Let the salts dry overnight in a bowl or a tray so that way once you pour them in the jar they don't stick together.

After the salts are dry you can then add whichever dried herbs you choose.  Hole herbs end to work best.  Rosemary is always a good option to go with.

Once dry, use a funnel or a piece of paper rolled up like a funnel to pour the salts into the jars.

You can make pretty labels to go with them if you'd like.  I used quilting squares to put between the lid and the screw cap of the jar to pretty them up a bit.  I also made little cards (business card size) saying what was in the jar as I already had the materials at home.  I tied the card to the jars with a pretty bit of ribbon.  Then I got small craft paper bags at the store and with some tissue paper and I had my handmade gifts to hand out.

Find everything you'll need to get started here.

I'd love to know if you make up your own and what you did so leave a comment letting me know!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Trials in Hair Maintenance

Since I moved out on my own a bit over a year ago I've had to figure out who was going to cut my hair.  The guy who was previously cutting my hair (for the previous 8 years had moved out of state on me.  I absolutely loved him.  He cut my hair and my son's hair.

He referred me to another girl whom I really loved but she wound up leaving her salon and I had no way to find her.  I tried a neighbor's ex wife who is a stylist and she charged me $50 to cut my hair and $18 to cut my 3 year olds!!!!!  I have NEVER paid that much to get my hair cut either here or in New Jersey.

Anyway, after the $18 buzz cut I decided to buy a pair of hair clippers and just cut JD's hair myself.  It's a simple buzz cut so not a big deal.  My mom is also a retires hair stylist/barber so she's going to show me how to cut his hair.

After lots of research I stumbled upon this set of clippers.  It has everything that I need and to boot it was only $36 so after 3 haircuts it's more than paid for itself.

It's easy to hold and manipulate and it serves my needs perfectly.  I'm hoping to get several years of use out of it.