Secrets of the Scale

For those of you who haven’t already given up on your New Year’s resolutions, you may be in the thick of a new weight loss journey like myself. Though I do not in any way consider myself an expert on anything (let alone weight loss), I have learned a few things here and there from going through a couple of successful fitness journeys in my day, and one of them is conquering the scale. That’s right, the scale. Something that has nothing- but everything- to do with weight loss.

Most people on any type of path to wellness hate the scale, and I think that’s because they don’t know how to use it. The scale is a tool just like anything else in weight loss and can be extremely motivational or discouraging depending on how you use it. But the reality is that most things on this journey, including weighing yourself, are mind over matter. So here are 6 secrets on how to actually use the scale to see the results you want.

  1. Don’t Live or Die by the Number

This is by far the most cliché of the bunch, so don’t worry, they get better. But this rule is cliché because it really is true. Whether you’re trying to make a complete lifestyle overhaul or just trying to make a few better choices here and there, the numbers on the scale really don’t mean anything, so don’t live or die by them.

2. Tell Yourself “It Doesn’t Matter”

You are going to have amazing, ass-kicking weeks and other weeks where life totally kicks your ass and your weight loss comes to a still. If you step on that flat little judgmental square and see a number that is less than desirable, it’s okay. Telling yourself “it doesn’t matter” is a great state of mind because you are reminding yourself that whether you like the number you see or not, you are going to keep going. The ultimate goal is to live a healthy life; one which doesn’t have an “end date”.

3. Weigh Yourself at Your “True Weight”

Did you know there is a “right” time to weigh yourself if you want your true weight? Your true weight is measured in the mornings after you’ve gone to the bathroom before you put anything in your system (not even water). Throughout the day between eating and drinking, your body can actually put on 1-3 pounds from where you start in the morning before you’ve had a chance to clear everything out. So skip the late-night weigh-in sessions and wait until the morning to let your body do it’s thing.

4. Don’t Weigh In Every Day

I know that with all of the hard work you put in from working out and telling yourself ‘you don’t really want that pizza, anyway’ that we would all love to get on the scale every night and see tons of progress. But realistically, seeing your weight only drop slightly (if at all) from day to day can be extremely discouraging, so try to only weigh yourself once a week to make seeing your progress a positive experience rather than a frustrating one.

5. Be Strategic

Though this might sound bizarre, the scale is a tool in weight loss just like anything else, so use it wisely. Nobody’s perfect; you are going to have days where you don’t work out and don’t eat very healthy. That’s okays, but do yourself a favor, and don’t weigh yourself the morning after those days. Again, you will only be discouraging yourself because you haven’t given your body a chance to burn any of those extra calories.

6. Set Realistic Goals

Let’s be honest, when we decide we are ready to start on this new journey, we all lay our heads down on our pillows at night with images of itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikinis dancing through our heads. You have visions of how amazing you’re going to look and how you’re finally going to have the body of your dreams when in reality, we look at ourselves day after day of hard work and see little-to-no difference in our bodies at all. And though we would all love to have those amazing ‘Biggest Loser’ moments where we drop 25 pounds in one week, true weight loss journeys are slow but steady. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making impossible goals. Just take it one pound at a time and be happy with your progress no matter how little.

I hope that this can really help some of you who are on this crazy difficult path to health. Use the scale as your friend and motivator and whatever you do, don’t quit!

XXO

Valentine’s Day Lookbook 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Whether you believe that Valentine’s Day is just another Hallmark holiday and slip into a deep, 24-hour-long depression over not being in a relationship or you count down the days like it’s your second Christmas,  it is always a good day to feel pretty. As a mom, holidays are some of the only days that I can actually put myself together and feel human for a change.

I love Valentine’s Day;  it’s a day to get dressed up and look pretty for a date night out or a cozy night in on the couch. Whether you spend Valentine’s Day with your significant other, your friends, your kids, or your dogs, it’s just a good reason to pamper yourself and rock some high heels and red lipstick in my book. So I’ve come up with 3 different outfits for 3 totally different occasions for whatever your Valentine’s plans may be!

  1. Edgy and Flirty

For all of my girls out there who love a good pair of over-the-knee-boots and seldom have an occasion to wear them, February 14th was made for you. Also, if sporting pink, red, and glitter isn’t really your thing, look no further. I honestly feel most like myself in a good leather jacket, and this one is perfection. Pair those two together with some edgy,  textured pants and this outfit basically makes me feel like Wonder Woman.

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2. Casual Night Out

If you can tell by this pictures, this next outfit is actually one that I featured in last year’s Valentine’s Day Lookbook! But honestly, I love it. It’s a great option for anyone with casual plans but still wants to feel flirty. These can be traded out with flats if boots aren’t your thing, but I love the combination of the casual sweater with the button-down underneath. It’s soft and feminine and can be worn a ton of different ways!

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3. Comfy and Cozy

If your Valentine’s Day is more likely to be a night in with a good book and a warm fire, this next outfit will probably be for you. But just because you’re not leaving your house doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself. Just a pair of leggings, oversized sweater and your coziest pair of socks will be just about all you need for this lazy day attire (but having a dog to curl up with helps!).

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I hope you all enjoyed this lookbook! My style is very diverse, from heels to sweatpants, and when a holiday rolls around there are always a ton of different things that I want to wear. So if you’re anything like me and can’t decide, I hope this helps you out!

Happy Valentine’s Day, loves!

XXO

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I Didn’t Enjoy Being Pregnant and I’m Still a Good Mom

There are two types of women in this world: women who love being pregnant more than anything, and normal women. Expecting mothers are told that pregnancy makes us “glow”, which may or may not be the polite way of saying that you can see I am constantly on the verge of breaking into a sweat from forming a human life. And for some reason, being noticeably pregnant gives complete strangers the right to touch your stomach and start asking extremely personal questions such as “are you going to be breastfeeding?” while we are standing in line at Jo Ann Fabrics. Suddenly we are in a full-blown conversation about how said stranger had inverted nipples and couldn’t nurse her children, and I honestly have no idea how. Other examples of this might include:

“Isn’t being pregnant wonderful?”

Yes, feeling my baby is wonderful. Seeing their little alien-outline on an ultrasound is pretty wonderful. But when trying to sleep turns into something more similar to a knockout round from WWE, “wonderful” is not exactly how I feel. I think “exhausted” describes what I feel most days a little better.

“Don’t you just wish you could be pregnant forever?”

No. No I don’t. Actually, I already feel like I have been pregnant forever if you couldn’t tell by the bags under my eyes. I would like my body back, please, and I don’t feel the least bit bad for it.

“When are you having your next?”

I have been pregnant for approximately 3 out of the last 2 years (you heard me), and the second one isn’t even out yet. We have done our part to repopulate the earth; a boy and a girl. I can promise you, baby number three (if they existed) is the last thing on my mind right now.

“Are you getting plenty of rest?” (This one actually made me laugh out loud)

I have a toddler. A small toddler, AKA a mini-tornado. Or one of those wind-up toys that you pull the string and let them loose all over the floor. I have a living, breathing, wind-up toy that shits himself 3 times a day. “Plenty of rest” is about as realistic for me as my Hogwarts letter arriving in the mail.

Personally, pregnancy did not make me feel like a unicorn or a superhero. The best superpower pregnancy ever gave me was allowing me to go ahead of strangers in line at the grocery store because I was wider than I was tall. This used to make me question whether something was wrong with me; did I not feel the same connection that other moms felt while carrying their children? Was I detached from my pregnancy for not “ooh”ing and “aww”ing at every little kick and movement? Weren’t my maternal insticts supposed to be kicking in making me love every second of this experience? After 18 months of pregnancy (almost back to back) I can firmly say that I didn’t enjoy being pregnant and I’m still a good mom, and here’s why.

The truth is, pregnancy is exhausting. It takes away all of your freedom as a woman and a human being because your body doesn’t belong to you anymore. Everything you do and feel is determined by a tiny, bossy, acorn-sized human controlling your every move for 40 weeks. Anyone who tells you differently is most likely lying or extremely lucky and has no empathy towards what most women’s pregnancies feel like. You do not feel ‘glowing’, you do not feel like Wonder Woman; do not pass Go, do not collect $200.  But that has no reflection of my love as a mother.

Through the days my eyelids felt like they were superglued shut out of exhaustion, the emotional rollercoaster ride that makes you cry at a K9 Advantix commercial, the kind of back pain that only comes from what feels like giving a small elephant a piggy-back ride for 9 months, I have come out on the other end of 18 long, exhausting, painful months with 2 perfect children. And what I have learned is that I don’t have to like the journey to love the outcome.

So for all of the women who already have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to 9 months of beautiful, pregnant bliss (not to mention an entirely new maternity wardrobe), I am extremely happy for you. However, be aware that your reality is much more likely to consist of the same pair of pajamas three days running, picking cracker crumbs out of your nursing bra while you cry over Jim and Pam’s wedding (again).

 

Chunky Snacking Salsa

As you all may have noticed, I have been trying to keep a better eye on what I’m eating. Not as a “New Year’s Resolution” to be forgotten about by February. But now that my daughter is two months old (which I can’t even believe), and the craziness is starting to settle down, I am finally able to focus more on my health; something I have been looking forward to since the middle of my pregnancy! Finding a little time here and there to cook and work out has been so fulfilling that it makes me excited to share some of these things with you!

In order for a recipe to be a winner in my book, it has to have a few key factors.

  • It must be tasty
    • I don’t care how good something is for my body; if it has zero flavor or tastes like my toddler’s dirty diaper, I won’t eat it.
  • It must be easy
    • I would love to be the product of Ina Garten and Bobby Flay’s love child, but I have two children of my own and very little time to actually cook food. Which means I need my meals to practically make themselves. The simpler the recipe, the more likely it is I will actually make it.
  • It must be filling
    • There is nothing worse than feeling hungry 30 minutes after you’ve just eaten. And there’s nothing better than sitting down with a good snack and being able to eat as much as you want because it’s good for you! Win-win.

This salsa just happens to meet all of these criteria which makes it a staple in my kitchen. Not to mention you can eat it as a snack with tortilla chips, or whip up some rice and mix this in for a full-on burrito bowl. I love a dish that can be eaten multiple different ways! This is what I used for this particular batch of salsa, but keep in mind that you can obviously add whatever other veggies you might want (avacados, peppers, etc.) and make this totally your own! And the more you add to it, the heartier it becomes, keeping you fuller longer.

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Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • One bag of frozen steamable corn (you can use fresh, but this is easier for me- see rule #2)
  • One can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • One bunch of fresh cilantro, finely cut
  • One tomato, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • The juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Okay, now here’s where this gets a little tricky: once you have all of your ingredients cut, you’re going to put them all in a bowl and mix them all together.

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Did you follow all of that? I hope I didn’t lose you, there.

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Salsa is easy. I know that everyone can make this and it isn’t exactly a “recipe”, but it’s a delicious dish that is incredibly simple and better yet, healthy. A great staple to add into your new-year-new-you routine, and I hope you enjoy!

XXO

Houndstooth Outfit of the Day

Do you love getting dressed up? I do and always have. Those days are few and far between for me now in the throws of motherhood, but when they come along, oh how I love it. I think that my style is pretty simple, but one thing that never changes is that I have to be comfortable. I have officially traded in my Louboutin’s (I wish) for flats- at least for the next few years.

Houndstooth is one of my favorite prints. It’s classy and timeless and easy to pair with a simple white or black top that makes you look like you spent a lot more time putting yourself together than you really did.

 

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Cat Eye Sunglasses// Target

 

 

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Lips: Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick– Ricco

Accessories are a lifesaver in my world. It allows you to utilize your closet to the fullest while still being able to change up your look just by switching out a few simple things; hats, jewelry, scarves, etc. Bold lips are also another great way to change up your look if your outfit is neutral.

 

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Houndstooth Leggings// Amazon

 

 

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Riding Boots// Lauren Conrad

 

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Statement Necklace// Forever21// Similar Style

 

Cinnamon Swirl Protein Pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? Day or night they make the perfect meal and over the last few years ‘protein pancakes’ have been everywhere. It’s basically just a great way to use up some of that protein powder that’s sitting in your cupboard without having to make yet another smoothie.

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I have seen recipes for tons of flavored pancakes including pumpkin, cookies and cream, chocolate chip, etc., but these cinnamon swirl pancakes are my absolute favorite. They give your pancakes a sweetness to them without being overly chocolate-y or dessert-like. Personally, I don’t love the combination of chocolate and maple syrup (don’t shoot me, I’m not Buddy the Elf), so the subtle sweetness of cinnamon goes a long way in my book. As a bonus, they happen to be a tad bit on the healthier side when you replace some of the flour with protein powder and regular milk with almond milk!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6-8 minutes

Serving Size: Approximately 10 pancakes

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon swirl protein powder
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter (optional- this does not change the consistancy of the pancakes if you’d prefer to leave it out!)

 

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Combine them together to make your batter and pour onto a pan or griddle. Flip when your pancakes are lightly golden (about 3-4 minutes) and wait for your pancakes to cook through on the other side.

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Next, sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon on top and most importantly, enjoy! 

WARNING: seasonal berries may or may not send this dish over the top.

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These pancakes are a staple for your lazy Saturday mornings. Delicious, fluffy, and sweet, you won’t ever go back to regular pancakes again!

Happy eating!

XXO

2017; An Open Letter to Moms

Hello, friends. I am alive. To say that 2016 has been a crazy year would be the understatement of,well, my life. To recap, I was just getting adjusted to being a mom of one when I found out I was going to be a mom of two. I quit my job, became a stay-at-home-mom, spent the better part of my pregnancy looking for a house, bought a house (an ugly one at that), had a baby, and here we are. Note to self: there are still 17 days left in the year, and at this rate I wouldn’t rule anything out.

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This year has brought with it a lot of hardship and a lot of joy; peaks, valleys and everything in between. However, clearly the biggest adjustment of this year was having my daughter Bailey. Between trying to make sure that my toddler is getting enough attention, diaper changes for two, breastfeeding a newborn, not to mention all-nighters and trying to keep up with cooking and cleaning (ha!), most days I feel like I’m 47. It’s a good morning if I get up early enough to brush my teeth before my newborn starts crying. Hell, it’s a good day if I get to brush my teeth before noon!

Ultimately, I wouldn’t have it any other way; I truly wouldn’t. But on the flip side, do you know how easy it is to get lost in being a mom and nothing but a mom all the time, 24/7? The thing about having kids is that as incredible as the entire experience is, it’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in the process. Identity theft is a real thing and I’m almost positive that children were the original culprits.

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I am a 24-year-old mom whose idea of luxury is a clean nursing bra. While my peers are enjoying happy hour, I am still trying to steal sips of my 7am coffee at 8pm at night. I scroll through my Instagram feed to see toothpicks modeling the latest fashion trends while I’m trying to find the perfect “no-I’m-not-pregnant-anymore-but-yes-I-just-had-a-baby-don’t-look-at-my-stomach” t-shirt when I manage to make a prison break from my home once a month. I am far more concerned with putting my children’s outfits together than my own because my son is still in the stage of life where it’s cute to have a big belly, making it impossible for him to not be adorable. I am no longer in that stage. And though the only designer bags I’m carrying lately are the ones under my eyes and my high heels have a layer of dust on them so thick that even Cinderella would have to call in backup, I have two amazing children that I wouldn’t change for the world.

So this year, my resolution is to simply reconnect with myself; to make myself a better person, a better wife, and a better mom. I want to take control of my health by continuing to find foods that satisfy my body and my taste buds. I want to finish a cup of coffee before it gets cold (at least a handful of times throughout the year). I want to take the amazing opportunities my blog has provided for me to continue to take it to new heights. I want to strengthen my friendships and devote more time to the amazing people in my life. I want to grab a drink every now and then like a normal 24-year-old, regardless of the fact that I am far from normal. And most importantly, I want to soak up every second of my family and my children while I go on a little spiritual journey of restoring my mind, body and soul.

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you from my family to yours and may everything you wish for in 2017 come true!

XXO