Monday, June 22, 2015

an easy, yummy snack on the go!

Weekends tend to be a bit crazy in our house. Aren't they for everyone? Ha! Well, for us we seem to spend a good bit of time traveling in the car, running errands and then of course some fun activities in between, along with summer roadtrips and more. However, those times we are traveling in the car I always make sure I'm packing snacks for the road.

With my diet I have to eat every 2-3 hours, plus let's face it's I'm just hangry if I don't. But with that said, I try to keep my little one eating on the same schedule as me to keep her metabolism going and energy high. With that said, I also realize she's a child and ya know what? Kids needs a great snack that tastes good and is fun every once in awhile. I'm a firm believer of this. All within moderation! With that said we've found the PERFECT fun treat, that applies that exact rule - moderation, to it - the OREO 2 pack cookies. They are absolutely the perfect serving size for a snack on the go.
This past May OREO launched a NEW 2-pack, a convenient grab-and-go snack designed for packed schedules. Whether it’s slipped into your purse or tucked away in the glove compartment, the OREO 2-pack is perfect for a quick treat at work, running errands, carpooling to family activities or family day trips. They even offer them in Nutter Butter's :)

I'm also going to admit - I love these snack packs for myself too! With my crazy diet restrictions for my competitions I do allow myself treats here and there and I have a total soft spot for OREO's, maybe more than a soft spot actually, HA! But for me I have to try to keep things at a minimum and there really is no better way than a pack of just 2 cookies. It's the perfect way to get that sweet tooth craving under control without eating an entire pack of cookies :P
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

dating 101 - never losing sight of yourself

There comes a time in everyone's life, except for those exceptionally fortunate few that never have to endure the wonderful "game" of dating, that you must ask yourself what exactly it is about yourself that's brought you to the point you are at today within your dating life.
I dated when I was younger all throughout highschool of course, had 2 pretty serious boyfriends, then had a serious boyfriend directly out of highschool and even lived with a guy for a brief stint when I was 19. After that I met my now ex husband, married him about 4 years after we met, was married for a little over 3 years and now have been divorced for almost 3 years. Phew - that's a lot, huh?
Well, since my divorce I must say dating is just different. First things first, I'm about to be 30 and let's face it, most everyone my age is now married. I totally flip flopped with everyone because no one was married when I got married .. jumped the gun. Ha! Now, on top of the age factor, throw in the fact that I met a man just a few months after my divorce and fell head over heels in love with him. I'm talking straight out of the movies love. I've mentioned it before. Several times. Sigh. To my dismay things just have been a downright roller-coaster ride with that love story. I won't lie. He's called me his "girlfriend" for a total of 3 weeks in the total time we've known each other and the rest I've been the "best friend". Mind you - we were best friends, 100%, and quite frankly I miss that portion the most when I think of him and myself, but we also were a whole lot more than best friends. Take the long passionate kisses, the embraces, the "i love you's", the looks of "this person means everything to me", the talks of marriage in the future, even flat out discussing quirky details of a wedding, you name it - we were a couple, just without the title. It's as simple as that.
Throughout our time together we had our spats where I literally became exhausted with the lack of commitment. It was hurtful to me. I took it as a direct dig that I just never was "good enough" and that's where I was wrong. I was and am. At times we so very often forget to see ourselves as we truly are because we get lost in these "relationships" not realizing that we are losing sight of our very own selves. Now don't get me wrong, I was 100% myself the entire time and I spoke some incredibly harsh words throughout this relationship out of frustration, but I lost sight of the fact that I AM good enough and DO deserve a man that will treat me and love me as though I am his world by simply committing to me. I should never expect anything less, regardless of the love story that I am engulfed in in that very moment.
Commitment isn't necessarily a need of marriage off the bat or anything of the sort, it's simply letting someone know that they are so special to you that the thought of losing them, not having them within your life and not sharing them with anyone else would make you feel absolutely deprived and rock your world. On top of that let's just face it, it feels so good to know that someone wants you within their life in all of it's entirety. A true relationship, commitment and exclusivity.
So through my ups and downs the last few years I truly must say I have learned more than ever who I am, what I want and what I deserve. Settling for less, regardless of the mass amount of love I have for a person or how amazing it feels to be by that person, in the long run it will only cause heartache. I also imagine I've built up a pretty large wall to outside dating now and I'm not sure what exactly it will take for me to truly open back up to another man or what man will make the cut, but I will say that when I do, and I do say WHEN, I will make sure to stand by my views and never put them on the back burner for the fear of losing someone I've fallen in love with.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

a little stroke of aloe.

So I mentioned long long ago how I bought a house, right? Ha! Well, since owning the home I really haven't done much to it, like I originally planned, think I also mentioned this. Anyhow - yes, I replaced the carpets, yes, I re-painted most of the home but aside from those two factors and moving my things in, buying a few furniture pieces and some art that's about it.
I have a mega list of things I want to change or work on within the house, but it's all come down to time and quite frankly money. Sigh. It's pretty dang expensive to own a home, re-furnish it AND do some projects within the house. So what I've decided to do meanwhile is to pick little things that I can do and already have most of the supplies for. My first project .. dun, dun, dun .. now I don't know if I'm going to regret this one one day when I want to move or rent the house out, but for now I'm loving the idea of it, such a pop of color that I needed. I decided to paint my pantry doors within my kitchen, from there I have some other ideas but for now I'm sticking with the painting.
nasty doors.

My pantry doors were, well, gross. The previous homeowner apparently never used the door knobs on the doors and grabbed the actual door with their hands because the doors were worn on both sides, right in the same spot as if they were grabbed quite frequently, and they looked pretty rank to be honest. Not to mention there really isn't a whole lot of color in my kitchen or house for that matter other than my kitchen mat by my sink, which is what gave me the inspiration.

The project alone was super easy and made the biggest difference within my kitchen. Blake was even able to help me with it and loved every moment of it! I'm really quite proud of our first DIY home project work and it has me itching to do some more. Before I do though I want to do one more thing with this project. I want to tackle the inside of the pantry. The inside is pretty rough from the previous owner as well. You can tell where cans were up against the walls, etc. It's just very scuffed and makes it appear "dirty" to an extent. Soooo .. what I am going to do? Well, I'm going to wallpaper it. Yes, wallpaper. Just wait, I will share soon enough :)

Meanwhile here are the before, during and after shots:
how cute is my little painter? :)
my "inspiration" rug
ignore my disaster of a kitchen. i should've cleaned up before taking it. ha!

Paint color: "Aloe" by Sherwin Williams

Friday, June 5, 2015

vacation in a bottle

Truth be told, I'm not a big drinker. You'll find a drink in my hand, once in a blue moon, and that moon has to be PRETTY blue :) However, with that said, when I do decide to have a drink my favorite time is in the summer. I don't know what it is exactly but thinking of the beach, a cold mixed drink and warm weather just sounds pretty dang appealing to me. Ha!
With all that said, I'm super picky about what I will drink, because I don't really like the way alcohol tastes typically, to be honest, but when I find a drink I love I stick with it. Recently I found Palm Breeze Sparkling Spritz and yeah .. let's just say AHHHMAZZZINNGGG. First off, I love anything sparkling - flavored water, the sun, diamonds .. hahaha .. okay, but really - I do! I don't drink soda, so anything with a bit of carbonation to me gets me excited. Then top that with a flavor that screams summer like my personal favorite, the Pineapple Mandarin Orange and it's a win in my book! It also comes in Ruby Red Citrus, which is quite delicious as well! My favorite flavor also only has 130 calories, 0g fat and 0g carbs for all my fitness friends that might ask.
Palm Breeze is a flavored malt beverage (FMB). Which basically means it’s an alcoholic drink made with a malt base, kind of like beer. And the cool part is that it’s the first drink that is unabashedly targeting women. They even are hosting several events this summer specifically for us women! All my Dallas girls check it out!
So when it boils down to my upcoming beach trip this summer for the BIG 3-0 for myself, guess what this girl is going to be drinking?! Palm Breeze. Serious.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

first-time home buying can be stressful, but it's worth it!

I'll never forget what it felt like at the closing of my house, receiving the keys to my very first home. It was such a surreal moment that I truly will never forget. All I kept saying in my head was "I'm a homeowner, OMG, I own a home, by MYSELF!". I giggle now about it, but truthfully I'm still pretty dang proud of myself.
The road to home ownership wasn't exactly the easiest task for me, well, let me rephrase that, it was a little stressful. When I say that it really was my very own fault. I've always been a spender, I'll admit it. I like to shop, what can I say? :) Anyhow - it took me paying off and down quite a bit on everything - my credit cards, paying off loans, debt I accumulated during my divorce and establishing low revolving balances on my credit cards for a handful of months. Along with that - my shopping habits had to come to a hault. End of the world? Of course not. Tough for me, yes? Worth it? Every second of it. I now own my own home! I'm able to do little projects throughout the house at will with Blake - such as painting our pantry doors! Ha! It's the little things I tell ya :)
Homebuying doesn't have to be stressful though, it really can be super easy if you keep the bigger picture in mind! I promise. Also making sure that you are completely informed throughout the entire buying process so things go flawlessly is key. I found during my process that CapitalOne's goal was to help first-time homebuyers understand how the home loan process works, which I found extremely helpful! Buying a home is an important process, but it's certainly not a simple one either – Capital One’s new online resource lays the groundwork with a glossary of terms you should know, an overview of the loans available and more and I found these incredibly useful in the process of buying my home! Honestly, the more things you read and the more familiar you are with the terms and process of purchasing a home the easier it will be, I promise.
Here are a few tips for First-Time Homebuyers that I suggest:
  • One of the first steps is figuring out how much home you can afford. Start by sticking to the right price range. A rule of thumb is to look at houses that are 2.5 times your annual salary.
  • Ideally, your monthly housing payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of your gross household monthly income.
  • Use an online mortgage calculator to help figure out what you can afford.
  • Your financial history is important too. Lenders look at income, assets, job history, credit score, total debt and how much you’re willing to put down as a down payment.
  • The traditional estimate for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of the house, which can lower your monthly payments and avoid mortgage insurance better than a lower down payment.
  • Remember that closing costs can add to the amount you need to close your loan and take possession of your new home. Look them over carefully, because they can vary from one lender to another.
  • Mortgages come in all shapes and sizes, and which one you choose depends on a lot of variables, including your budget, the amount you can afford to put down, the interest you’ll pay and the term length. All mortgages have pros and cons, but starting with at least a top-line understanding of what’s available is important as you save for this major purchase.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

training tips for your next sporting event!

lifting weights helps strengthen the body and gives curves

Preparing for any type of sporting event whether it be a bodybuilding competition, a swim event or even a race you have to make sure you put forth your best effort in all aspects - diet, training, sleep/rest and your attire. For me my number one thing I do before doing any sort of training for a competition is stretching, this to me is getting your body ready and able to do what you want it to do at it's max capacity. So say you plan to do a 5k - I highly suggest stretching your legs each day briefly to allow your muscles to work at their full potential. From there you are allowing your body, which is of course the number one tool in any athletic venture to be able to excel and also hopefully help to prevent any muscle tears/strains!
Next up on my list of high importance for training for a race or other sporting competition event is your DIET! Now, I may come off to some a bit extreme with my diet, because well, I'm particular, however, you can do it in a manner very close to mine with a few tweaks - the important part is that you are giving your body the proper nutrition to function and be at it's highest conditioning level for the stress you intend to put on it. With running for example, you are going to burn through calories. You need extra calories and carbohydrates for an energy boost and to give you the endurance to make it throughout an entire race from start to finish. So many people shy away from carbohydrates, but truthfully, they really are your friend, it's a misconception. You just have to eat the right kinds of carbohydrates and those are COMPLEX carbohydrates.
Egg whites, hot sauce, brown rice rice cakes, black coffee, water.
What are complex carbohydrates? Well, they are slow acting carbohydrates that keep your body energized without the fast blow to your metabolism, as well as contain a good bit of fiber to keep you full longer and to regulate your digestive track. Some of my favorites are: Jasmine Rice, Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans, Organic Brown or Wild Rice Rice Cakes, Ezekiel Bread / English Muffins / Wraps, etc., etc. Make sure you are incorporating these into your diet on a daily basis, with small meals every 2-3 hours containing protein and green leaf veggies. With these items your body is surefire going to make it to the finish line of any race or competition. Also, I cannot express enough to keep yourself hydrated - with WATER.

my new backpack, shorts and a protein shaker
Lastly, but kind of my favorite - dressing for the occasion. Being comfortable, having supportive and optimal shoes, packing with a backpack or camel bag that can carry some essential snacks/water on during your training or the actual event and having lightweight breathable clothing. I've been purchasing a good bit of my athletic gear lately from Zappos. My biggest purchase recently included two pairs of shoes to do my training in, a pair of breathable dry-fit shorts and a backpack to bring with me on my runs that fits me snuggly and can hold my items nicely. (oh and the best part about Zappos is that shipping is free and it's crazy fast!)

So yeah, with that said I really strongly suggest looking into your diet, stretching, your attire, sleep patterns and training techniques you are using for your next big competition or race! The more time and energy you put into YOU, the better YOU will become!
Side note - all of my friends running in the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco, CA on May 17, 2015 - Good LUCK! I wish you a safe, healthy and HAPPY run!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Father's Day Gift Guide for 2015 - What he REALLY wants!

Father's Day - it's among us! I feel like sometimes Father's Day isn't made out to be as special as Mother's Day, almost like it's slightly overlooked. Granted, I'm a mother, so I of course am like heck yeah, give me my day, ha! BUT our Dad's deserved to be just as recognized as our mothers.

I will say that my Dad is one of the hardest men to shop for, I mean what do you give a man that has everything he wants besides a trip to Fiji, right? Ha! Well, I've decided to come up with the perfect gift guide just for your Dad or your husband.

1.) Motorola DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue - From the sharpest display, to the newest, most powerful processor, to the 48-hour battery, every aspect of the DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue by Motorola exudes power and performance. This phone features amazing specs wrapped into a package of cutting-edge materials that pushes the limits on what a smartphone can do. The DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue by Motorola offers amazing speed and performance, sharp display, exceptional battery life, the latest in innovative material design and distinct style.
BEST FEATURE: Go two full days without stopping to recharge with the largest smartphone battery.
2.) Key SMART - This swiss army style key holder will create the perfect pocket organizer and minimalist keyring. Incredibly versatile with a wide selection of accessories, our Key Smart key organizers can fit up to 100 keys. The frame is crafted out of aluminum to be ultra lightweight, and the hardware is milled from stainless steel to survive anything life throws at it. Includes loop piece to attach car keys. BEST FEATURE: Compact size is smaller than a pack of gum.
3.) Nixon Ultratide - The world's first real-time surf conditions watch. An evolution in time and technology, Nixon's Ultratide is the product of extensive research and development and an exclusive partnership with Surfline that taps the power of Ultratide directly into the Surfline network. Ultratide features wireless Bluetooth® technology, to provide you with real time data; tide, wave height, swell direction, wind direction and speed, water and air temperatures, GeoLocating the closest break so you'll never not know. BEST FEATURE: The solid stainless steel case and bezel means your Ultratide is rugged, tough and can withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at it.
4.) Steven Raichlen Stainless Steel Wide Spatula with Bottle Opener - Talk about rugged. You could flip a moose with this thing—and then crack open a beer to celebrate. The long handle, wide offset blade, beveled front edge, sleek pakkawood handle, and handy bottle opener will make your Dad the Burger Meister. BEST FEATURE: Saw-tooth edge for trimming food right on the grill.
Be sure to think outside of the "box" this year and get Dad something he truly wants and loves. Happy EARLY Father's Day!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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