Workout Wardrobe Refresh…Colorful Pieces For Spring

My outfit (Fabletics) | Similar Leggings, Top

With spring officially here, I have been wanting to refresh my workout wear a bit and add a few more brightly colored, warm weather pieces. I recently grabbed this green set at Fabletics and have been looking for a few more cute spring/summer workout outfits. Here’s a few fun options I’ve found…

March Buys I’m Loving

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

One | I’m always looking for a good dupe for Skinceuticals Vitamin C Serum, and I recently came across this great alternative. It contains all of the same active ingredients and I’ve really been loving this serum.

Two | I bought some of this years ago, and just bought another jar of this affordable, hydrating eye cream.

Three | I recently got this moisturizer and I really love it. The smell is a little strange, but it is so moisturizing and works so well for my skin.

Four | Slippers are getting more wear than actual shoes these days, and I recently bought this pair. These come in so many color options and really are the perfect house shoe.

Five | I love that this cardigan looks like a structured jacket, but with a comfortable knit fabric. It’s perfect for just throwing on with jeans and a tee and instantly look polished.

Six | I just grabbed this sweet summery dress while on sale, and ended up wearing it for Easter as we had an unexpectedly warm day. I will be wearing this one all summer long.

Seven | I just grabbed this necklace in a different color way (which is no longer available), but I love this blue color. A great way to dress up the most simple of outfits.

Eight | I’ve been wanting a leopard suit and this affordable one is going to get a ton of wear this summer.

Nine | I finally caved to the hype and bought the Truff Hot Sauce. It really does live up to all the hype.

Ten | This is a really nice hair mask and it has a lovely scent.

Best Of Beauty At The Nordstrom Spring Sale

Nordstrom is having a really great sale right now and including some of my favorite beauty/skincare products which rarely go on sale! I wanted to share some of my favorite items from the sale, and these are all products I use and love.

One | This is my all time favorite concealer and a staple in my makeup routine

Two | My favorite, go-to brow pencil

Three | I love this foundation for a full coverage look

Four | This light foundation gives my skin such a dewy appearance

Five | This is a must with all the hand sanitizing these days

Six | I recently bought a few colors of this lipstick in this formula and really like them

Seven | I’ve been using this finishing powder for years and it’s my favorite

Eight | I’ve tried so many night serums, but always come back to this one

Nine | One of my favorite mascaras

Ten | This is a really fantastic eye cream

Eleven | Another eye cream I really like, and always have a jar stashed in my skincare arsenal

Twelve | Another of my favorite mascaras

Thirteen | I’ve been using this setting spray for years and it’s a go-to for me

Fourteen | I recently bought this as I’m a fan of Estée Lauder foundation, and I really like it for daily wear

Fifteen | The best lip balm, I have a bunch of these in my purse

Sixteen | The best product for getting rid of pimples overnight

Seventeen | My favorite, go-to primer

Eighteen | This is such a great exfoliator and cleanser

Nineteen | I love to use a squirt on my face as a refresher during the day, and it can also work as a setting spray

Twenty | I recently got this moisturizer and I’m surprised by how much I love it. It does have kind of an odd smell, but it wears off quickly and isn’t too potent (and I’m very sensitive to scents). It works so well I can deal with the scent, and I’m going to buy another jar while on sale.

Twenty One | This is my very favorite eyeshadow palette

Twenty Two | My favorite new scent – I just recently started wearing this and it’s the only scent I wear now

Twenty Three | A jar of this affordable eye cream is always in my makeup arsenal

Twenty Four | I’m a fan of this sunscreen for daily wear

February Buys I’m Loving

The end of February has finally arrived, and today I thought it would be fun to share a quick post of some of my favorite buys over the past month.

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

One | I’ve loved this skincare line for a long time, but just recently bought this lip balm to try for the first time. It is amazing for moisturizing lips, and I love each of the 3 scents so much that I’m so happy I purchased the trio.

Two | This candle blends two of my favorite scents – lavender and lemon. It has been bringing a little feeling of spring into my home and it’s also very affordable.

Three | I’ve been hearing good things about this brand, so I recently picked up this sleeping mask. I absolutely love the texture and scent, and it really does make my skin soft and glowy.

Four | I’m someone who is very sensitive to scents, and in looking for a new perfume to try I came across really great reviews for this one. It has a light, fresh scent that isn’t overly strong for someone sensitive like myself and I have really been loving this.

Five | I really love the look of Bottega Venetta’s pouch clutch, but I simply cannot justify $2800 for a clutch that will only get used a few times a year. This $40 option is a fantastic substitute and really looks very high quality.

Six | I recently bought this delicate wash for washing my washable silk items (like my pillowcase), and I absolutely love the light, fresh scent. It also keeps my silk items in pristine condition and they wash up beautifully with this.

Seven | I have been stalking the Nordstrom Rack site for ages hoping to score one of these blankets on sale, and I finally got one! They don’t currently have any available (they tend to go fast!), but they pop up from time to time so definitely keep your eye out. This blanket is by far the softest one we own and our entire family is always fighting over it.

Eight | Evan saw a commercial for these and begged for one for literally a month. I decided to surprise him with one as part of his Valentine’s Day gift and he absolutely loves it. The lights really are calming and relaxing and it helps him fall asleep much faster.

Nine | When I apply my skincare products, I always apply the extra from applying to my face to the back of my hands to improve the appearance of aging on my hands as well. I was looking for something I could add specifically for my hands to my routine and came across this cream. I’ve just started using it and already see an improvement in my skin’s appearance.

Ten | Covid has really made me want to up my sterilization game and sterilize everything. This phone sanitizer is great for sanitizing your phone as well as keys or any other small items. It has an aromatherapy port where you can add a little scented oil to make your items smell nice too.

My Favorite Beauty Products For Battling Winter Dryness

Dr Dennis Gross Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel Regular exfoliation is key to getting rid of dry flaky skin and allowing your moisturizers to penetrate the skin. This exfoliation treatment manages to be gentle on my dry, irritated skin while eliminating any dry patches.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 This is an Allure Best of Beauty winner for a reason. Hyaluronic acid is a must have daily product for moisturizing skin and this affordable option does an amazing job.

Mario Badescu Protein Night Crème In the harshest winter months I find that very few moisturizers can adequately moisturize my dry skin. This moisturizer is incredibly hydrating and rich and leaves my skin plumped and glowing.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil I’ve tried a multitude of oils and always come back to this one. Rose hip oil is amazing for not only moisturizing but also for calming irritated skin.

LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask For when even a great moisturizer isn’t quite enough for battling winter dryness, this mask is an amazing addition to my skincare routine. You simply put this sleeping mask on top of all of your other skincare as a final step in your nighttime routine, and wake up to impossibly soft skin in the morning.

LANEIGE Lip Sleeping Mask Chapped lips are always a big struggle for me in the winter, and this lip mask has been a game changer for me. It is by far the most hydrating lip balm I’ve ever used and keeps my lips soft all winter long.

L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream My feet are always a dry, flaky mess in the winter and this rich cream is the only thing that works for moisturizing them.

Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve With all of the extra hand washing and hand sanitizer this year, my hands have taken a beating. I keep a tube of this in my purse to moisturize my hands throughout the day.

Keihl’s Crème de Corps The holy grail of body moisturizers. I stock up on this in the jumbo sizes every year at the Nordstrom anniversary sale and my whole family uses it. It is so rich and I also love that it is unscented for the most sensitive of skin.

L’Oréal Elvive 8 Second Wonder Water I’m constantly battling dry, staticky hair in the winter months. I discovered this product over the summer, and this has been a game changer for me especially in the winter. It leaves my hair so silky, soft, and tangle free.

Essentials For A Good Night’s Sleep

This past year hasn’t exactly been a low stress year for me, and it’s safe to say my sleep has suffered this year. Evan’s strokes and Covid have certainly wreaked havoc on my life and when I’m dealing with anxiety, I have a very hard time falling asleep at night. One of my big goals this year is to try to have better sleep hygiene and really try to get eight hours of sleep every night. I’ve found that getting into a routine really does help my body wind down and give it cues that it’s time to sleep. I’ve also discovered a few items and tools that really do help me relax at night and have an easier time falling asleep, and today I wanted to share them with you.

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

One | A few months ago I purchased this silk pillowcase and I don’t know why I didn’t buy one sooner. It has helped diminish breakouts, I wake up with smooth hair, and it feels so luxurious. There are certainly pricier versions out there, but this one is fantastic for the price.

Two | Any light peeking in really disturbs my sleep, and a mask ensures total darkness. And of course, another luxurious silk option.

Three | I’m really particular about pajamas and I don’t sleep well in anything that isn’t comfortable and breathable. These are my absolute favorite pajamas and have several pairs.

Four | This sleep spray really helps me relax, and it just takes a small spritz on my pillows along with some deep breathing to help me fully wind down.

Five | This might sound a little weird, but one thing that really helps me relax is doing some jade rolling in bed. After I’ve applied all of my skincare I like to lay down and close my eyes and do a little facial massage/jade rolling. It really helps me relax and calm my mind.

Six | A warm bath with relaxing bath bombs is a great way to prepare my body for sleep.

Seven | I started taking melatonin recently and it’s done wonders for my sleep. I find that 10mg is the perfect dose for me.

Eight | I cannot sleep at all without white noise and a noise machine. It filters out all of the other noise in the house and helps calm my mind.

Nine | My weighted blanket is wonderful for easing my anxiety and promoting relaxation.

Ten | I’ve not tried this lotion yet, but it’s on my list to order. It has melatonin and lavender in it, has rave reviews, and it’s under $5.

My Go-To Hair Products

My Go-To Hair Products

Being a busy mom, spending lots and lots of time caring for and styling my hair isn’t really realistic, but that’s not to say that I don’t want my hair looking its best! Having healthy hair with a minimal routine is actually doable with just a few hair essentials. Today I wanted to share some of my tried and true hair products that are staples in my simple hair care routine!

GoToHairProductsOne | Two |ThreeFour | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

One :: A good sulfate free shampoo is a must, and this is my absolute favorite. It makes my hair so soft and also protects my color.

Two :: This conditioner is not only so incredibly moisturizing, but it also leaves my hair almost completely tangle free (which as my hair is very tangle prone this is super impressive).

Three :: I don’t curl my hair every day (avoiding using heat on my hair every day helps keep it healthy), but when I do want to style it this curling iron is great. It gives me such smooth curls that really last.

Four :: This is the holy grail of hair oils. I’ve tried several others and they all leave my hair feeling limp and greasy. This one leaves my hair soft and smooth without any greasy residue.

Five :: Every mom must have a good dry shampoo in her beauty arsenal. This one does a great job of freshening up second (or third) day hair.

Six :: This dries my hair super quickly, plus it also uses negative ions to prevent frizz and maintain shine.

Seven :: My hair tangles incredibly easy, and this brush is an absolute lifesaver for me. It easily and painlessly removes all tangles without damaging my hair.

Eight :: I don’t use hairspray regularly, but when I do this is my go to. It doesn’t leave my hair crunchy or sticky, and I love that its unscented.

Nine :: I’ve heard that you should always put a leave in conditioner in your hair to keep it as healthy as possible. What I love about this one is that it also includes a thermal protection as well to protect from heat when styling.

Ten :: This leaves my hair feeling so incredibly soft, smooth, and shiny without weighing it down.

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How I Lost 20 Pounds (And Kept It Off)

For the 5th and final week of my wellness series, I wanted to talk about something that is always a pretty hot topic at the start of any year; and that is weight loss. And today I’m going to share how I lost 20 lbs of baby weight I was struggling to lose for several years – that I finally lost last year (and have kept off!).

When I had my first son almost 9 years ago, I admit I was really concerned about how my body would change and if I would be able to lose the baby weight. To my surprise, the weight really just melted off. And then some! I ended up being about 5-10lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight simply by running and nursing. It really was so easy I expected it to be the same with my 2nd. However, after having my youngest, I struggled with getting rid of the last of the baby weight. I would fluctuate about 10-20lbs above my pre-baby weight. Blame it on being older perhaps, but for the first time in my life I really felt I didn’t have control over my weight and wasn’t exactly sure how to get back on track.

I did keto for a period of time. I was able to lose 10lbs, but then I plateaued. I found myself obsessing over macros & the number of carbs I was eating in a day…and yet the scale wasn’t budging. I finally got burned out & I ended up going off keto. I did keep most of the weight I had lost off until last winter. We had a pretty cold & yucky winter last year & I just was feeling a bit of seasonal affective disorder. As a result, I wasn’t running & definitely splurged on treats over the holidays. I ended up gaining almost 10lbs back, and was determined to finally take control of my weight & be down to my pre-pregnancy weight for summer.

When we were living in California, a friend of mine had been struggling with losing her baby weight & started the Dukan Diet. (The diet was really popular at the time because supposedly Kate Middleton had done it for her wedding). My friend’s results were jaw dropping. She lost SO much weight and looked like a completely different person. I remembered her success with the diet and bought the book and cookbook – and I started right before Easter last year.

Within 3 1/2 months of being on Dukan, not only did I reach my weight loss goal of 20 lbs, I actually exceeded it and ultimately dropped 25 lbs and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. And not only have I lost the weight, I have kept it off even through the holidays and having periods where I’ve definitely indulged (I just make sure to get back on track! This diet has been amazing for me, and today I wanted to share this secret to my weight loss success.

What is the Dukan Diet?

The Dukan diet was started by a French physician (Dr Dukan!) who wanted to come up with a plan to help his patients who were struggling to lose weight. This diet has four phases, with the first two being very strict. But once you obtain your goal weight (or “true weight”) you are able to slowly incorporate other foods back into your diet, and eventually go back to eating whatever you choose, but must follow a few simple rules for the rest of your life. This diet centers around lean protein and limits fats and carbohydrates. Because protein is so filling, you are able to consume small amounts of calories and feel incredibly full. (Although there is NO required calorie counting or limit to how much you can eat!) Protein is also harder to break down so your body burns more calories as well simply by digesting.

The length of time for each of the phases of the diet are individual to each person and how much they want to lose. You can go on their website and fill out a profile where they will tell you how long to do each phase for. They will also help you figure out what your “true weight” is – which I think is important so that you aren’t setting unrealistic and unhealthy weight loss goals for yourself.

Phase 1: Attack

This is the strictest, but also shortest phase of the diet. This can be anywhere from 1-7 days depending on how much weight you have to lose. I believe mine was originally recommended to be 3 days, but I actually ended up doing 5 simply because I wasn’t finding it to be too difficult. The attack phase is “pure protein” and you will eat nothing but lean protein from a list of approved foods during this time. However there is no restriction on how much you can eat. You are also required to eat oat bran daily for fiber and continue to do so through all stages of the diet.

Phase 2: Cruise

In this phase you can incorporate almost all vegetables back into your diet (with the exception of starchy, high carb things like corn, beans, potatoes, etc). However it is recommended for maximum weight loss to only eat vegetables every other day, or on a 5:2 plan (vegetables + protein 5 days a week, and 2 days of pure protein). This is entirely up to you to choose depending on what works for you and your weight loss goals. For the first few months I did 1:1 to really lose as much as possible. After the first few months I followed more of a 5:2 schedule. You are also allowed nonfat/low-fat dairy including milk, yogurt, and cheeses.

Phase 3: Consolidation

In this phase you are getting your body acclimated to accepting your true weight and are focused on maintaining. The length of this phase should be 5 days for every pound lost. (For me this was 125 days – a little over 4 months). You are allowed protein and vegetables every day (except 1 day a week should be a designated pure protein day), as well as 1 serving of fruit, 2 pieces of bread, and 1 serving of full fat cheese a day. You are also allowed 1 carb meal a week (e.g. pasta, beans, potatoes) and 1 cheat meal a week for the first half of this phase, and you can increase to 2 carb meals and 2 cheat meals a week in the 2nd half.

Phase 4: Stabilization

Now that you have reset to your new true weight – you are allowed to eat as you like! But you must continue to have one pure protein meal a week, oat bran daily, and get 20 minutes of exercise a day. (Dr Dukan recommends that you take the stairs instead of the elevator). Now…that said…I personally don’t think one can truly just go back to eating whatever and expect to maintain their weight. I think you must continue to practice portion control/moderation, and still choose to continue to eat healthy most of the time focusing on lean protein, veggies, and fruits. I typically stick with primarily lean protein and veggie options during the week, and will have healthy carbs on days I’m doing longer runs. I allow myself whatever I want on weekends and special occasions (in moderation!).

My Keys To Success:

I think the key to my success with the diet comes down to a few things. One – I really like the foods and like eating this way, so it doesn’t feel difficult to me. Although this way of eating has been great for me, I don’t believe in “one size fits all.” I think it is so important to find a plan that you are willing to commit to that works for your lifestyle. There are so many diets out there, and it will be very hard to be successful if you don’t feel that a particular diet is a good fit for you. If you are liking the foods you are eating – it certainly makes it a whole lot easier to stick to the plan! Also, I am someone who can definitely get “hangry” and really dislike feeling hungry and deprived – and this diet is so incredibly filling.

Although not required, I did choose to count my calories and track my foods for the first 3-4 months of the diet, simply so I could get a better handle on portion sizes and what my calorie intake needed to be to lose and maintain. This also helped me continue to be successful as I phased out of each phase of the diet. I have read many times, that people who track their intake, are typically much more successful in losing weight. I very much believe this to be true, as it helped keep me on track and accountable when I had to write everything down. I used the My Fitness Pal app to track and I also use a food scale to measure portions.

Incorporating intermittent fasting has also helped me tremendously. I have always been someone who hates eating in the morning & after hearing for years that it’s bad for you…I’m feeling a little validation that intermittent fasting is now being seen as a good thing! I don’t believe in forcing yourself to eat just because it’s “meal time” and prefer to just eat when I’m hungry. Most days I don’t want to eat until anywhere between 11am and 1pm. I also typically quit eating by 7pm so I shoot for around 16 hours of fasting. On the rare occasion I’m hungry, I don’t force myself to stick to this schedule, but most days I find this really easy to do.

Remember stalls or even slight weight gain is normal. Through the first few months of the diet, I had periods where my weight loss would stop for a week or more, or even go up a few pounds! In the very beginning it is easy to want to weigh daily and obsess over the scale. I really pushed myself to not get frustrated when this would happen, and stopped weighing even weekly. I now only weigh every 2 -3 weeks or so – as this gives a more accurate picture of what is really going on, rather than day to day fluctuations.

I continued to exercise but cut back during the strictest part of the diet. I completely stopped doing longer 7+ mile runs once I started the diet, and just did slow leisurely 3-4 mile runs 3-4 days a week (in addition to biking with the kids and other light activities). I switched my focus more to eating healthier and not looking at exercise as a way to burn calories – but as a way to further my health and overall well being. 

What I found most challenging:

There were a few things I have found challenging about the diet in the early phases. The biggest was dealing with going out to eat. Most restaurants do not offer low carb and low fat options, so eating out can be hard to stick with the diet. Your best bet is a breakfast place with a veggie omelette – or somewhere that has a salad with fish or grilled chicken, and a light dressing on the side. In a pinch I requested lettuce wrapped burgers or sandwiches as well – and most places will accommodate you. And when you end up someplace that nothing seems diet friendly…just do the best you can and get the healthiest option possible. Even if it’s not an ideal Dukan meal – one meal isn’t going to derail your progress!

Another thing to note – this diet requires a lot of planning and cooking. I do think this diet would be a challenge for someone who doesn’t like to cook as most restaurant food just will not be Dukan friendly. I don’t like eating the same things over and over, so I do like to experiment with new recipes periodically to ensure I don’t get bored. I also like to make sure I have Dukan friendly snacks on hand for when I get hungry, so I don’t reach for junk when I’m starving and haven’t properly planned.

Here’s a few helpful tools that helped me get started with Dukan!

DukanOne | Two | Three | Four |  Five | Six

If you would like more information, be sure to check out the Dukan website linked here.

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Cold Weather Running Gear

facetune_12-01-2020-19-19-31Coat (Lululemon, similar) | Leggings (Fabletics, similar) | Gloves | Headband | Shoes

Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you have to take your workouts indoors! I personally hate working out inside and prefer to be outside running. And even if it’s snowy and cold, as long as I’m dressed for the weather I find running outside in the winter to be pretty enjoyable! Today I wanted to share some of my cold weather gear favorites as well as some other highly reviewed items I’m eyeing.

Base Layer Shirt

This top from Lululemon is my favorite cold weather shirt. It is really warm and also moisture wicking. Here’s also a few others that look really good.

RunningShirtsOne | Two | Three

Vest

For milder winter days (or spring/fall) I find a vest to be the perfect layering piece. I do get too hot quite easily, and a vest is much more breathable than an actual coat.

RunningVestsOne | Two | Three

Coat

Once the temps dip lower (especially on snowy and/or windy days) it’s time to break out a warm down coat. My favorite is the one I’m wearing above which is Lululemon’s Down For A Run Pullover. It is a few years old and is not currently available, but they do have a really similar coat.

RunningCoatsOne | Two | Three

Leggings

On more mild winter days I can wear pretty much any leggings, but for the coldest days the key is to go for fleece lined leggings. The pair I’m wearing above is from Fabletics – they are really thick and fleece lined and are my favorite cold weather pair. Unfortunately these are several years old and I’ve not seen them come back into stock, but I just ordered this pair from Lululemon and I’m really excited to try them out!

RunningLeggingsOne | Two | Three

Gloves

Running with cold hands is no fun at all, so gloves are super important. I have and absolutely love this pair from Lululemon (also pictured and linked below) – they are tech gloves, but have a waterproof flap that turns them into mittens for extra warmth if you need it. They are on major sale too!

RunningGlovesOne | Two | Three

Headband or Hat

My ears get terribly cold running in the winter, so covering them is a must. I have several fleece headbands that typically work just fine, but if temps get really low, then a beanie does a better job of keeping you warm and prevent you from losing too much body heat.

RunningHatsOne | Two | Three

Socks

My feet typically stay pretty warm when running (even in the snow!), but if you struggle with cold toes you may want to consider wool running socks. Wool socks are key to keeping your feet warm (it’s all I wear when we go skiing!). A good pair of moisture wicking socks is also a good option.

RunningSocksOne | Two | Three

Extras

The trails near my house are kept pretty clear, but these cleats would really come in handy for icy areas. Also with daylight hours being shorter in the winter, a headlamp can come in handy for being able to squeeze in runs when it’s dark out. And even though it is cold, don’t forget sun protection!

RunningExtrasOne | Two | Three

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My New Favorite Hairstyle – Meghan Markle Inspired Messy Bun

My New Favorite Hairstyle – Meghan Markle Inspired Messy Bun

I am a creature of habit when it comes to my hair and tend to get stuck in a rut. I also don’t find most up-dos to be particularly flattering on me (I have a large forehead!) and severely pulled back styles do me no favors. However, with the heat wave we are currently having here in Boise I feel most comfortable with my hair up, but still want to wear it in a way that is flattering for me. I LOVE the messy bun/tendrils look that Meghan Markle frequently wears – it’s that perfect balance of chic, yet effortless. And the loose pieces combined with a bit of volume at the scalp keeps the style looking soft and flattering around the face. Best yet – it is so simple and literally takes minutes to do (and I am someone who is hopeless with creating up-dos)! Second day hair is best for creating this look as your hair will have a bit more texture and volume.

Robe // Earrings (similar) // Lipstick

Products

Hair

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six

Tutorial Video Here

I simply follow the tutorial video linked above, and just add extra bobby pins wherever I have flyaways or ends sticking out. The great thing about this style is that it isn’t meant to be “perfect” so just have fun pinning it how you like it!

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