Monday, August 18, 2014

The Challenge to Eat Clean Each Week

So my family and I just came back from San Diego. It was a great time, we spent time with family and then Nik and I went to a work conference. Since I have not been to a work event in years or a conference in years I forgot how much they want you to eat. Ok maybe they don't want you to pound food all day, but I sure felt that way.

Margaritas before dinner

Since all the food was free I was going to live it up the 5days I was there. I think I ate every hour and then would drink wine/cocktails with a huge dinner after the day was over. I gave myself the time off of working out and wanted to let myself enjoy this time to eat and drink. The thing is by the 5th day I just couldn't even think of food, but because I had stuffed myself I woke up starving even though the night before I was so full I had a hard time sleeping.

I haven't given myself that much time off to go crazy in the last few years because I was always trying to lose the baby weight, yet I almost always used to binge like that with food when on vacation. Yes I had so many incredible meals but inevitably I over did it.

It sort of taught me a lesson. I normally eat pretty decent during the week and allow myself to have the weekends off but I don't go nearly as crazy as I did in San Diego. Ultimately this way of living combined with working out has helped me slowly get back to a good shape.  I ate so bad in San Diego yet the second I came home and went back to my moderation policy meant that my habits stuck with me, which is great. I just cannot go crazy like that, it just didn't feel good. Maybe it's because I am older and I just notice things more, or maybe it is because I lead somewhat of a healthy lifestyle and 5 days in a row of bad habits it just too much. In any regard it made me think more about taking my healthy eating further.

I am a snacker by nature. I don't eat big meals, I graze all day, and have smaller lunches and dinners. But I also just snack too much. The snacks aren't always filling and yes I hit that chocolate bowl too much at work. There is always room for improvement.

I also want to see more definition from all the swimming and Bar Method I have been doing. I know it is incredibly hard for me to follow a strict eating plan but what if I started working in more protein during the week and less snacky carbs, loose some of that water weight and fat.

That is where I found the site It is pretty affordable and I do cook dinners pretty often anyways. The gist is that each week you are emailed a weekly meal plan and workout routine. Since I already like my workout schedule I am more sticking to the meal plan. I like how I have easy access to recipes, and there is no searching endlessly on Pinterest for meals for the week (which I do every Sunday). Plus the recipes look very filling, easy, and good.

I love how you can find nutrition experts (Prescribe Nutrition-which is another fabulous program), meal plans, meal delivery options (blue apron), etc online now. It makes honing in your eating habits that much more affordable and easier. I will be starting to incorporate this plan into my life over the next few weeks and I will let you know if I can keep it a habit, see results, or fall back into my snacky lifestyle.

Are there any good programs you have tried recently?

Here are some pics from Coronado where Tom was too exhausted from a fun filled day to enjoy the beach.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Great New Denim and Tee Shirt Shopping Sites and Life Lately
So I was looking through my closet the other day and realized I only had about 2 pair of jeans that sort of fit me right now. It's not like I went through a huge body change, I haven't dropped a lot of weight, but the Bar Method has helped me get back to my pre Claire state. With that said I had Claire about 3 and a half years ago and most of my jeans  I purchased in 2009 when I got married. Needless to say they seem dated to me. The jeans I purchased last year are comfortable but sort of get that saggy butt syndrome after a while of wearing them. Now that I feel more like my old self I wanted to invest in some really good jeans. All of this lead me to DSTLD Jeans.

The back story that lead me to these jeans came from one of the best tee shirt websites out there, Everlane. You cannot beat these prices. I am a huge fan of basics and there is nothing more basic then tee shirts and jeans. Everlane is a company that has a factory in Los Angeles and delivers straight to your door from the factory. According to Everlane buying straight from the factory has its advantages:  "In traditional retail a designer shirt is marked up 8x by the time it reaches the customer. By being online only, we eliminate brick-and-mortar expenses and pass these savings on to you."

I have ordered 3 tee shirts and 1 tank top from Everlane and I really can attest to the quality of the fabric. $15 dollars for a tee shirt that does not stretch out, doesn't shrink after you wash it, and is soft to the touch is just ridiculous to me. I love it, I love these tee's. They do sell other products such as sweatshirts, button down shirts, as well as bags. I plan on purchasing more items in the fall when the weather cools down.  You can find all these products here:

After getting tee's at a great rate I wondered if this was a trend in the clothing industry. When I found DSTLD Jeans I was so excited because it is a very similar concept so perhaps it is a new trend! DSTLD offers designer quality jeans for only $65. Insane! Not only that you can get a free trial at home. You can order 3 different pairs of jeans, wear them for 10 days, keep the jeans you like and send back the jeans you don't like. Only then will you be charged. Seriously so amazing. I never order jeans online, I have to be in a store to try them on because all brands and sizes are different. Even the same brand I am two different sizes. The fact I can test run these is great. Hopefully they will fit and look good because they will have a client for quite some time! You can shop or try it out for yourself here:

Using a step ladder for our family shoot-Our Family the latest pic

Monday, June 9, 2014

Get Togethers Pulled Together Fast and Cousin Weekend

If you know Nik and I you know that we neglected to register for serving ware when we got married to have in our home. We weren't having that many get togethers in our apartment in Chicago so there was never really a need to have all the serving ware  it never really crossed our minds. Now however that is not the case. I love hanging out with my friends but throwing a get together is not my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong I love having people over, but I am not good at the whole presentation side.

For instance for Claire's 3rd birthday I contemplated having a birthday party at our house. After looking on Pinterest for a couple of hours I became so overwhelmed on all I needed for a party that I nixed the idea and instead we went for pizza.

But the more friends I make here in town the more I want to host small parties. I had the perfect excuse to throw a party when my sister in law came into town. She sells Beautycounter and asked if I would host a social. Naturally I said yes because I absolutely LOVE their products and how they lack dangerous chemicals. To shop her store just go to Beautycounter.

Having waited until the last minute I quickly ran over to Cost Plus to buy a few items as I wanted to make the party nice but I didn't want to go out and buy a ton of stuff. At Cost Plus I bought the table runner, and a water dispenser to hold some Strawberry Lemonade, I also picked up some paper straws. The flowers and succulents are from Trader Joe's. I have been into succulents lately  because its the only plant I have been able to keep alive. Plus they come in so many pretty colors. I bought them in small pots and when I got them home I thought they looked silly sitting on the table by themselves. Thats where those fun coffee mugs came into play.  They had the same color scheme and were decorated with pictures of our family. I used those to hold the succulents in the ugly brown pots. It gave the table another colorful element that received a lot of compliments!

I used some of the paper straws I bought at Cost Plus put some labels on them from Tiny Prints. I used those as decor for the strawberry lemonade.

The party turned out great. After we mingled around the cocktail and app table we moved to the living room where we heard the Beautycounter presentation. I was so enthralled with entertaining and listening to the presentation I forgot to take pictures with my camera. But you can get the jist from my iPhone pics.

A succulent in a personalized mug

Straws from Cost Plus, Labels from Tiny Prints

Aren't Peonies the prettiest?!

After the little party we continued with our annual cousin fun weekend! The kids did crafts that aunt Aerial purchased at Michaels and Nik and I enjoyed some wine outside before the real heat set in. Overall the party was a success, the kids had fun, and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hitting the Beach with the Family Memorial Weekend

carmel california
Memorial Weekend

Last weekend we traveled again to Carmel to have a fun beach weekend. The first day we were there though it was cold and foggy so it looked as if the dream of a warm weekend was gone. However you never know on the coast. Claire and Tom got their nice hawaiian outfits from their grandparents who had just gone on a trip there. Tom had his second experience with sand and well it just did not go very well. He was frozen on a part of the towel that no sand went near. If it touched him he would cry and want his dad to hold him. We are hoping eventually he will start to play with the sand toys. 

Naturally it was filled with wine and good food and some exercise. If you go to the coast always pack for multiple seasons. On the beach it started as a cool day then progressively got hot, and most of us ended up with sunburns on our parts we forgot to put lotion. In addition to not starting out in cooler clothing. 

Tom on his Island of Misery

Janie and Jack Shirt 

polo ralph lauren kids

I will be continuing my series on fun things to do in Carmel soon. But to get started here is my most recent post: Carmel by the Sea

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finding the Right Shirt and Tie for the Man in Your Life

Paul Fredrick
My husband wears a suit and tie to work every single day. For the most part men have it easy. They can get a few basic suit sets that will last a few years and then interchange their dress shirts and ties. He has some work headshots coming up and we were discussing ways he can wear a good shirt and tie combo that won't scream trendy. The thing with headshots is that you want to use them for years to come. At least I would think 4 years until styles drastically change and well you just get a new set.

I found this site: Organic Headshots which have some great tips on making your headshot look natural and classic.

I came across Paul Fredrick as they have some great combinations of ties and dress shirts that are very classic in nature. I love the look above as well as some of these below. They recently launched their summer collection and there are some great light weight pieces in there for the man in your life. I had a hard time looking at men in suits in the summer while living in Chicago because it just looked painfuly stuffy and hot. So obviously lightweight fabrics are the way to go. Also you can't get a better deal then 3 shirts for $169!

Paul fredrick

You can find all their new summer shirts here: Paul Fredrick

Monday, May 19, 2014

Learning How to Dress well with Clinton Kelly. Macy's Style Show

clinton kelly macys dress for your body
Of course the most important picture of the day is blurry

Have you ever wondered if you were dressing right for your body type? I always do. I always try to accentuate areas I am happy with and disguise areas that well I'd naturally rather hide. Some fashion trends I love on other people I know for a fact won't work with my body type. I also know some basic rules of putting a nice outfit together. I know how to dress my age. I know how to play up the accessory.  I know how to put touches on an outfit to move it from day to night, which I use most when I travel so I don't have to pack as much. 

I also love Clinton Kelly. I watched What not to Wear all the time on TLC while it aired and loved the advice he and Stacy gave to these chosen women who had no idea how to dress their bodies. It also reminds me of living in San Francisco having a lazy Sunday with my roommate/best friend watching marathon sessions with wine. 

I honestly took the advice Clinton and Stacy gave their "clients" on the show when I went shopping myself. It stuck with me even in the chubby aftermath of having two kids almost back to back and extremely slow weight loss.  Since having kids and getting back to a somewhat more comfortable figure I notice that I carry my weight all over rather then my hips and legs like I did when I was younger (teens and 20's). That's where seeing Clinton Kelly's show at Macy's in Fresno, CA came into play.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Carmel-By-The-Sea Recommendations: Part I: Relax and Eat Lunch

bloody mary aw shucks

Recently my parents opened up an office in Carmel by the Seam (they live in town part time). Since they have opened the office they also rented the apartment above it for anyone to use while said person goes to Carmel to meet clients. That being said we have sort of taken it upon ourselves to go out once a month as opposed to going every 3 months and staying with my parents. Because we go so often I not only wanted to jot down places I love for my own record, but also to share with anyone who may go there for the first or second time. I am by no means an expert on Carmel because obviously I am not a local but we do a lot in town and are constantly trying new places and I just have grown to really love it there.

The apartment my parents have is tiny but cozy and we can let the kids run around and not be afraid they are going to break something fancy. We often go with the kids however for our 5 year wedding anniversary Nik and I went by ourselves while his mom watched the kids at home.

As you would imagine the places we visited without our kids varied from when we go with our kids.  But I thought I could bring some insight into where to eat and drink, where to enjoy a night out, and great places to relax as I have gotten to know the town pretty well.

Read on for some of our favorites:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Sun kissed Makeup That Doesn't Make You Look Overdone

A couple of weeks ago I came home to a package from Influenster. Inside was the Mary Kay Sun Kissed make up collection. I couldn't have been more excited.

I have never used Mary Kay products except for their eye make up remover which is the best remover I have used. (reminds me I should buy some). In any regard I received a blush, bronzer, gel eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, translucent powder, and a cream eyeshadow.

I have used all the products for a couple of weeks now and what stands out most to me is the mascara, blush, gel eyeliner, cream eye shadow, and bronzer. Well actually those are the products I have been using most although I love everything I received.

Lat weekend we attended a fundraiser here in town and I used the gel eyeliner, black mascara, bronzer and blush for the event. The eyeshadow in the picture below is RMS, which is another fave, I wrote about them here: RMS Beauty Review

mary kay makeup
Dress JCrew Factory, Necklace: Stella and Dot, Purse Stella and Dot Jacket: Target, old

I am a very fair person and I feel like some bronzing powders either go on extremely dark or barely show at all. Mary Kay's gives me such a natural glow without looking fake. The mascara and gel eyeliner make my eyes just pop, and the blush had a great shimmer to it that complimented the overall look. The photo above was taken with my iphone without any enhancements to the photo.

Here are a few more from the evening.

jcrew factory dress

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day and Palace Pets, a 3 Year Old's Obsession

Mothers Day Dinner
My children just super pumped and excited to celebrate with me

I was looking back on my blog to see if I even wrote about Mother's Day and I really haven't. But I also think this was the first year we actually celebrated it. Instead of the run of the mill brunch we decided to do a Mother's Day dinner at Campagnia, a local restaurant here that has a great outdoor patio. It is even nice to sit out on when it is a million degrees outside. (which it isn't yet). We sat out there for a while, had some wine, and relaxed. Amazingly the kids sat still, which was a miracle unto itself.  

 I had a Cesar Salad and a chicken entree and we split a bottle of Talbot Pinot Noir  and I managed to not to "bites" of my kids pizza. I did absolutely nothing during the day which I haven't done in quite some time. It was incredible, one of the best gifts really, I even caught up on some tv. So now I declare Mother's Day my new favorite holiday! Well behind Christmas and Thanksgiving.

disney palace pet
found this on my phone along with 4 other princesses

So as we dined Claire played with her Palace Pet app on the iPad. She is crazy obsessed with Palace Pets, you know the pets of the Disney princesses? I didn't know they had pets but apparently they do and Claire wants to collect all of them. Right now she has Snow White's Bunny. Claire will brush her tail and push the button so her pet talks which by the way is extremely loud.  When Claire won't go to bed at night which is a regular basis now she will crawl out of her bed and sit at her doorway in the dark and play her Palace Pet,  it's incredibly creepy but its a signal that Claire is not sleeping. We will take turns walking down the hall and find Claire sitting in the dark. Claire almost acts surprised and says "hi how's it going". We do this routine a couple times a night. 

In any regard she loves saving the pictures that she creates on the iPad with her palace pets and princesses. I guess you can add the accessories and background? Not sure. But as Claire has gotten a little older she has created this obsession with these things and she has started to ask for any toy kids play with on  commercials. Which if I remember I used to do as a kid. You know that "I must have this toy NOWWW" attitude. Yikes. 

Here are a few Mother's Day pictures. Hope you had a great weekend!

claire in carters cliff kids bar
mothers day
Deciding what to eat for Mother's Day breakfast

Thursday, May 8, 2014

That One Time I Did a Cleanse...and Survived

I hear so much about juicing these days its somewhat information overload. Don't get me wrong I do own a juicer and do enjoy my green juices, however I don't have them every day. Every time I read a blog or look on Instagram someone is making some fabulous juice which in turn makes me think "crap I should juice more". Here is back when I started Juicing Jucing Fun.

I took things a step further and decided to go for a 3 day juice cleanse from a deal I found on my favorite site. Joyus (watch the video to get more details.)

I won't lie, the cleanse was pricy (a good $200 or so). But the holidays had just ended and I felt just so blah, had gained a few lbs and wanted a clean slate to start eating better again. Plus I wanted to get rid of my sugar addiction and my nightly chocolate binge. 
The juices showed up at work and naturally all the guys in the office made fun of me but I was determined to do it. I did Urban Remedy's Signature cleanse. The first day was great, I had energy,  the juices were fantastic, and because there were 6 a day the second I felt hungry It was already time for another juice. I had no problems the first day. The second day I woke up with the worst headache and was dragging energy wise. I was moody, starving and thinking what am I doing! The headache wouldn't go away either. I grumbled through my second day angry at the world. The third day I still had a headache but I wasn't as angry. I felt ok actually. However my hunger didn't subside. That night I caved and had some veggies and hummus because I just couldn't go on. I did make it the 3 days though, hardest thing I have done with food or diet. I missed chewing my food. 
I lost a couple pounds (water weight) and did feel like I had a new start to jump back into my normal eating routine. So in that sense it helped. Over all would I do it again? Probably not. But it did get me back into juicing. And had me thinking I should open a juice bar in Fresno and charge 10 bucks for a bottle! I can dream. 
Actually now Urban Remedy has these kits you can get automatically delivered to your door with juice and snacks. This sounds more like a reset I would do once in a while then just the juice. They have partnered with Cindy Crawford to bring this to the public. Sounds interesting. Not sure if I could get away with spending $164 once a month for it though. Nik may be breathing down my neck. 
My friends who asked me about juicing I said try it once and see what you think. For me I won't do it again unless there are snacks involved, (which is now available at Urban Remedy). But I sure did feel good about myself loading up on all those vitamins after a month in December of pure junk. 
Have a good one!
Juice Cleanse
Checking out my juice stash in the garage

Juice Cleanse
This actually looks really good to me right now, at the time it was headache city (I am sure from withdrawing from sugar and caffeine) 

Juice Cleanse
You want a juice now mom?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Health and Fitness Strides and Life as of Late

Every week I say to myself I am going to do a blog post! And well here we are several months later. My life has been so incredibly busy lately but in a good way. I am working part time at my parents financial firm Mon-Wed learning the tricks of the trade and working on their advertising and social media. I am also still helping out with projects for my old company in Chicago Th-Fri and then again on Sundays. In between that I have been just doing a ton of work with the Junior League of Fresno. Being my first active year has been crazy busy, plus the volunteer opportunities have been incredible. My favorite so far was holding a baby in the NICU. I am an official baby cuddler! I can go anytime too, which will be nice during the summer where I won't have near as much going on.

In addition to everything I have been crazy addicted to The Bar Method of Fresno. I started going at the beginning when they opened in October and have been consistent. I started going 3 days a week and have recently moved up to 4 times a week then doing one day of cycle tabata at Copper River. Muscle really does weigh more then fat. I have only lost 5lbs but I am a size smaller and officially in my clothes from before having Claire! As in my pre Claire clothes are comfortable on me, not tight. The class is never ever easy. Sometimes I get frustrated that I am not stronger but I really think I am, I am just pushing harder. I will never be a total cardio queen again. This has completely reshaped my body. I feel comfortable again and am looking to continue going to see where it can take me. The best part is I haven't even dieted!

Speaking of diet that is a whole other topic. I haven't been dieting however, I have been reading and trying to learn as much as I can about eating clean. Not low carb, or low calorie. But examples include coconut oil in my daily smoothies (because they apparently help with thyroid issues), eating as much vegetables as possible and I have sort of cut back on meat. I still eat it but I have become really picky about where I get my meat. I have been reading too much about how bad certain types of meat can actually be. With that said I have been crazy over the weekends so my next goal is to tone it back a bit on the weekends.

Tom and Claire are doing great. They are in daycare/preschool 2 days a week and Tom has been starting to talk a lot more. He still loves wearing my big heels around the house and following his sister everywhere. Claire has been saying the funniest things lately that it's hard to keep a straight face especially when she's in trouble.

In any regard I am still here just trying to get that whole "work/life" balance in order. Here is to more blog posts!

We celebrated our 5 Year wedding anniversary and Nik wanted me to leave him here

At our annual Junior League fundraiser. 

Tom loving down the Easter Bunny

Family fun on Easter

Claire has begun to smile for the camera! Now to work on Tom

Monday, January 27, 2014

January Happenings and Budsies, a Unique Gift Idea

Yes it is January 26th, this month has flown. I started working 3 days a week full time beginning of this month and haven't had much down time inbetween. It has been one busy month! We had a great New Years down in Temecula and have had some action packed weekends in between.

One thing I did want to share is what Claire got for Christmas. If you have never heard of Budsies, they bring your children's artwork to life. It is such a unique gift idea for your kids, friends, etc...if you feel you are ever in a gift rut, I highly suggest you try them out!

 Claire always makes me draw a dog for her when we sit down to color. I am a horrific artist but since she is still trying to master the art of drawing a circle, I went ahead and submitted my gorgeous 'artwork' to Budsides and what they sent back was amazing. I was really impressed how close it was to my original drawing. Claire was so happy she now sleeps with the dog and gives it kisses. Once the kids get older I cannot wait to submit more drawings of their own! What a great way to create memories!

Below are some of our January highlights I included some pics from Temecula as well. I haven't taken too many pictures this month.  But plan to hopefully in February.

I will have an update on a juice cleanse I recently did by Urban Remedy. Details to come....Hope your first month of 2014 was great!

Claire petting her new Budsies doggie



My amazing creation! 

The cousins enjoying a run in Temecula

Tom is feeling out Claire's princess heels