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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Training: Pure Barre DVD Review

It's officially been 8 weeks (the day before Eli was born) since I attended a Pure Barre class.  I keep signing up, but I keep canceling because something comes up.  On Tuesday, I decided to finally break out my Pure Barre: Mile High 1 DVD and give it a go.  

I cannot tell you how impressed with this DVD I was.  It was just like attending a Pure Barre class.  My arms and legs were shaking afterwards.  And my legs and booty were so sore the next day!  I promise it works! 
I wanted to share my thoughts with you about the DVD...

Pros:
*It's very similar to a studio Pure Barre class, minus the $20+ per class.
*You're done in less than 40 minutes.
*The instruction is incredible.  Carrie, the instructor and owner, does it with you as opposed to just telling you what to do like most DVDs.
*You can use a chair, your couch (what I did) or a countertop as your bar.

Cons:
*You need a ball for this one.
*It does not include the bicep arm workout, abs in round back or lifting of the seat at the very end of a studio class.

I cannot wait to get a couple more DVDs and rotate through them.  If I can't make the class, I know I can definitely squeeze in a quick DVD workout.

If you've wanted to try Pure Barre, give this DVD a try! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

{Product Review} Meesh & Mia

I am a graduate of the University of South Florida and until recently, I had a very hard time finding cute, feminine USF gear to wear on game day.  So, you can imagine my excitement when Meesh & Mia asked me to review one of their apparel items from the USF Bulls line

I checked out the line and I was quite impressed with their selection and their cuteness! I liked Meesh & Mia even more when I discovered they started out because they noticed there was a lack in women's sports fan clothing.  They're on a mission to take today's latest trends and combine them with team colors and logos.   Finally someone is looking out for the ladies!

After browsing through their USF shop (complete with tops, bottoms, dresses, accessories, outerwear, etc.), this top sparked my interest and I chose it to review .  

Do you like?
The shirt is very, very soft and quite comfortable.  I love how it's high in the front and low in the back.  I ordered a small and it was the perfect fit for my 5'6" frame.  It's a perfect choice for me and I can't wait to wear it on game day!

The representative from Meesh & Mia was very easy to work with and their shipping was ridiculously fast.  They have a spring collection coming in March and they have a full NFL line coming in late Spring.  

I can't wait to add more University of South Florida gear to my wardrobe.  Stand out at your next tailgate and check out Meesh & Mia today for all of your team's latest trends!

This review is solely based on the opinion of the author of this blog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Brothers

A lot of you have been asking how Knox is doing with Eli.  Well, he's just like the rest of us.  He's in love!  
As long as Knox has been around, we've tried to socialize him with other dogs and kids.  Fred's sister has four kids so he's been around them from the time he was born or they were born.  We knew the day would come when Knox would be a big brother and we wanted him to be familiar with crying and attention being diverted to another living thing.  
When we first brought Eli home, we put him in the floor and let Knox sniff all over him.  Knox would get up with us in the middle of the night to feed him and Knox was beside him constantly. 
Now that Eli has been at home for almost two months, Knox doesn't get up in the night, but he's always around his baby brother.  Knox will come up and give Eli a kiss and then snuggle right up next to him. Not only are they brothers, but I see them being best friends! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Wonderful Weekend

Happy Monday, everyone!  How was your weekend?
I can't complain about our weekend.  We had lots going on and we had fun!

On Friday, we celebrated my mom's birthday at our house. Looks like someone became a party pooper and was worn out from the fun festivities.  Eli's Blondie brought him his very first Elmo and he's in love.  
On Saturday, I had a chance to go to the Memphis game with my friend while Fred stayed at home and watched Eli.  Fred's parents, sister and niece all came over to visit the boys.  

When I got home, Fred and I started watching Season 2 of Shameless.  Shameless is definitely the best name for that show! 
Eli also wanted to show off his new pirate outfit to his Florida friends in celebration for the Gasparilla festivities in Tampa, Florida.  
On Sunday, Eli played and played and finally took a nap around 3pm.  He's becoming so aware of his surroundings and didn't want to miss a thing.  So, I saw this nap as my opportunity to get out and enjoy my first outdoor run of 2013.  I've definitely got the race bug now! 
So, what did you do this weekend?

images via

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to the World's Best Mom! 
She is the woman I look up to the most. She's my 5th grade teacher.  She helped teach me how to be a woman and how to always keep your values and morals close. She's taught me so much about life and has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. She taught me how to be a great daughter, friend, wife and most importantly, a mother.  Seeing her with Eli warms my heart. She is the kindest and friendliest person I know.  She is my role model and the woman I strive to be.  She is my best friend!  

Happy Birthday, Mommy!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Training: What's Next

Since before Eli, I told you guys that my next running goal would be to run the Move It Memphis 10K in February.  This was my first official 5K of my running journey last year and to complete the 10K this year would be a huge accomplishment!
Last year, I couldn't fathom running a 10K.  I watched so many people do it and wondered if I could ever get there.  I HAVE and I WILL again. 

I've been training by running 4 miles 4 times a week at the gym.  I just haven't gotten enough courage to brave the cold and go for a run outside or increase my milage to 5+ miles.  Honestly, I have a very hard time running long distances on the treadmill.  I need to suck it up and go outside!  I can't change weather, that's for sure.  

I'm also starting to think about the other races that I want to do this year.  I'm trying to figure out where I want my running journey to go. Do I want to do another 1/2 marathon?  Do I want to run a full marathon?  Or do I just want to run for fun?

Some of the other runs I'm considering are:
Valentine's Day 10k
Junior League of Memphis 5k for Kids
Zoom through the Zoo 4-miler

I now know that I can do anything I put my mind to and I will succeed.  
Do you have any races scheduled?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Little of This and a Little of That

Thank you for your sweet words about Eli's birth announcements yesterday.  I couldn't be happier with the way they turned out! 
We kicked this week off with a day trip to my parents lake house.  This was Eli's first road trip and first real outing.  He did so great in the car and was so interested at everything in the lake house.  I'm sure it'll become one of his favorite places to visit.  
Based on the recommendation from Christin,  I decided to try the Sun-Bird Szechwan Seasoning Mix and it was delicious!  Just add chicken and lots of fresh veggies and you've got yourself a delicious, easy meal!

I am OBSESSED with Piko tops!  I ordered the black and the teal ones from Kiki La'Rue and I couldn't be more pleased!  Now I need them in all colors!  They are a MUST have! 
I recently bought a Chewbeads necklace.  It's great for when Eli starts teething, pulling or really touching things.  I can still look fashionable with a baby, right?! 
How's your week going?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hello, Eli {Birth Announcement}

As you know, we welcomed Eli a little over a month ago.  And like any new mom, I was dying to send out birth announcements showing off our little boy to the world.  

Before Christmas, my friend, Melissa, came over to take newborn photos of Eli.  I was so blown away by her work and I couldn't wait to find the perfect birth announcement for the pictures.  

I searched all of my favorite stationary sites before I saw this design at Minted. It was exactly what I was looking for and the colors matched perfectly. 

{front}
{back}
I was quite pleased with how the announcements turned out.  And I will definitely be using Minted again for any other stationary we need to send! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Modgepodge

Has another week really come and gone?  I guess time flies when you're having fun or when you've had a busy week!
 Heres what's been on my mind this week...

I can't believe Eli is six weeks old already.  Time, please slow down!
Eli's shutters and chair finally came in for his nursery. I can't wait to finish putting it together and reveal the finished product!
Have you heard Justin Timberlake's new single, "Suit and Tie"?  It was more mellow than I was expecting, but I am in love.  I can't wait to hear more.  (Doesn't he look like Chuck Bass in this pic?  I had to do a double take.)

Our weather has been terrible this week, but the sun is finally shining!!!    I loathe cold wearer especially when ice and sleet are involved.  Sunny days just make me happier.
I am finally getting around to getting our house organized!  We've needed a good purging for quite some time.  My mom and Fred have been a huge help in helping me do this!!!

What's on your mind this Friday?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Training: Getting Back to Working Out

Last week, I was reading Mama Laughlin's blog and she posted about something I've become very familiar with lately...mommy guilt.  

Since I didn't have a lot of time to prepare for Eli, my life changed in an instant.  Fred and I ate out all of the time, we went to ball games often and we did what we wanted when we wanted.  Life has changed, but I love this life much better.  

I've been learning how to find balance in my new life.  Because I am home with Eli, I don't get out much especially with the flu and the cold weather.  When I do get out to run errands, I just want to rush home to be with him.  

Before Eli, I was a running machine.  Two half marathons in two weeks and Pure Barre classes weekly.  It took me a couple of weeks after Eli was born to really try and get to the gym and even find the motivation to lace up my shoes and run.  I was going to start back to Pure Barre this week, but the stupid ice storm came through.   

I've recently started going to the gym anywhere from between 5am and 6am (depending on Eli's feeding schedule) and then back home in time for Fred to have enough time to get ready and get to work.  Fred has been so supportive in me getting up and going to work out.  He knows I need that hour to clear my mind and have a little "me" time.

At first I felt guilty for leaving my baby at home for an hour.  I felt guilty for leaving Fred home alone with him knowing he was going to have to get up and go to work all day, but after about the first week, it all changed.   

I realized that I am doing something that will help me to be a better mom and a better wife.  When I feel better about myself, others don't have to sit and listen to me whine about missing running or those extra pounds that I've added.  I want Eli to grow up learning that health and wellness are important and fun.  When he gets a little older, I can't wait to take him for runs in our jogging stroller.

I find that my one hour not only helps me physically, but it also helps me mentally.  I think about Eli non-stop on my run and when I get home (and shower), I can't wait to kiss and love on him.  But, a better me makes for a better mom for Eli.

Always remember, it's important to take time for yourself no matter what.    

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends

Thank you for all of the wonderful tips you ladies provided about meal planning.  I found them so useful and so easy to incorporate into my life.  You guys made it really sound easy.
I was also pleased to hear that I wasn't the only one who struggles with this, so I decided to share with you a few of my favorite suggestions I received...

Kristin says:  I've found that having the ingredients for 4-5 different dinners works well.

Tamara says:  I try to carry over ingredients to at least two meals - like if I buy carrots, celery, onions... I'll try to make chicken pot pie one night then maybe chicken noodle soup the next.

Lia says: I like to have at least 3 tentative meals. That way I can switch them up on days that I'm in the mood for that cuisine!

Carol says:  With my new schedule I started putting my workouts on my calendar, and at the top of the day I plan out my meals on Sunday for the week.

JMc says:  If I'm planning for the week I plan 7 meals. Then I can make those 7 meals any day that week but I know I have at least enough ingredients for that. Then on Tuesday night I can decide to make a chicken dish on Wednesday and thaw meat. I don't have to totally plan that far ahead. Usually anything with fresh veggies gets prepared at the beginning of the week so nothing goes bad. Toward the end of the week we may have more canned or frozen veggies mixed into the meals. It takes time to really get a good rhythm.

Lindsey says: CROCK POT!!! It is a life saver on the nights that are busy. I like to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot and then shred the meat and freeze it in different bags for different meals. It's cooked and ready to thaw when you need it.

Allison says:  Every Sunday I sit down and make a meal plan for the week. I scour pinterest and use recipes I already have and love. A lot of times I look for recipes that don't call for a lot of new ingredients as then I tend not to make them since I have to buy 100 spices, oils, etc.

Kendall says: Mostly it's taking the time once a week to plan it out. I've also identified a few meals that I can make easily as long as I have a few basic staples on hand (so I make sure I've always got them for when I'm in a pinch and haven't made any menu plans)!   Click here for her guide.

Laura J says:  I think it often depends on how accessible the grocery store is (or how many trips you are comfortable making). My grocery store is literally around the corner, so I usually have various proteins in the freezer, but make a trip for veggies and other little things every 2 days. That way, I don't buy 2 tons of veggies on a Sunday only to have them all spoil by the time Saturday rolls around.

Melissa Jo says:  I always try to keep some different proteins in the house, most of the time I repackage them into '1 meal' portions in freezer bags, label them and freeze until needed. I also stock up on the bags of frozen veggie medlies. Bird's eye normally is the best quality. Keeping pantry staples around works for quick throwing something together like a bag of stuffing cubes, "cream of" soups, different seasoning packets, sauces and chicken broth.

Jamie says:  I make it my mission to cook Monday-Thurday and that's it. If I do more, great, if not, I've met my goal for the week.

Emily says:  One thing we like to do before we grocery shop is try to make a plan for the entire week - and we shop to that plan. It helps us stick to what we've planned and that way we aren't spending $ on things that don't go with our plan.

Kelsey says:  I usually pick out about 5-8 meals we really like and buy the stuff to make each meal 1-3 times that month. Any time that month that something sounds good I will have the items on hand. We eat a lot of chicken and salmon so those are always in the freezer. I only buy fresh produce weekly! I usually have meals as follows weekly.......1 Mexican dish, 2 pasta dish, 3 soup (now that it is colder), 4 chicken with side like salad and carb, 5 Fish with sides.

Leah says:  I love the May Book menu planner. They have a menu on one side and grocery list on the other. I plan my meals on Saturday or Sunday. I try to make 2 new meals a week and the rest that are tried and true from Simply Made with Love. I always do at least 2 crockpot meals. I try to reuse ingredients for multiple meals.

Meghan says:  On the weekend, I plan out our meals for the week, which is usually 3-4 meals that make a lot of leftovers. Then I make a list and we shop once a week. Once in a while, one of us has to go to the store for something, but that's pretty rare. If I know I have a busy week, I'll make a big batch of soup or pasta that we can have for a few days and then supplement it with fresh veggies.

I hope these wonderful suggestions will help you too!  Now, I'm ready for the grocery store!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's for Dinner?

Since working from home and being at home with Eli, I'm trying to do better at cooking dinner and making weekly meal plans.  This is something that I've always struggled with.  I mean, how am I supposed to know what I want to eat on Wednesday when it's only Saturday?
Before Eli, I did good to cook once a week.  We'd sometimes go a month without a home cooked meal, but now, family dinners are very important to me.  I want Eli to grow up with some home cooking and I want him to learn that you can eat healthy, yummy things.  

I always find myself scouring the internet for yummy new recipes and trying to find quick, easy, healthy, yummy meals for our family.  It's not always so easy.  

So, this week, I decided to make sure that I have chicken, pork, fish and ground beef on hand at all times.  That way, I can thaw out the meat for whatever meal I find and I won't be asking Fred to stop by the store on his way home.  

I may not be "meal planning" 100%, but I'm taking baby steps. 

Do you have any tips for meal planning? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Golden Globes: Ladies in Red

Awards season is finally upon us and I'm loving the fashion! Did you happen to catch the Golden Globes last night or just the red carpet? I thought the best color of the evening was perfect for the red carpet because it was RED!!! 

Jennifer Lawrence looked stunning in her red gown and she looked fabulous for having the flu (something she told Ryan Seacrest).
Jennifer Garner was also beautiful in her ruby red dress.  It's just a perfect jewel tone for her skin.
Claire Danes never disappoints and this red number looked great on her!  I can't believe she has a baby younger than Eli!  She looks drop dead gorgeous!
Naomi Watts looks beautiful in this dress!  It's a great color on her!
Zooey Deschanel is just as cute as a button and I love her red gown!
Two of my other favorite looks came from Jessica Alba in peach and Julie Bowen in blue!  These two ladies always look ravishing! 
What were some of your favorite looks of the evening?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Randoms

It's Friday and I feel like telling you about the random things I'm thinking about today...

Justin Timberlake announced yesterday that he's ready to release another album.  Yeah, Justin, I've been ready!  Bring it!
I'm so tired of the rain. I swear for the past few weeks it's been raining 4-5 days a week. I need the sun. But, it has been great weather for snuggling on the couch with Eli and Knox and that's what I plan on doing most of all this weekend.  
I've been craving sausage, onions and peppers since I saw this pin.  I'm not sure I can go all Paleo because this girl needs a bun!  Maybe I'll sweet talk Fred into grilling some sausages over the weekend. :)
The most used room in our house has become the laundry room. Who knew a little person could create so much extra laundry?  I'm OCD when it comes to laundry because I like to have clean clothes, but now I do laundry 2-3 times a day! 
I'm so excited for awards season! Although I haven't seen any of the movies nominated, I am just so excited to watch the celebs strut down the runway looking fabulous.  And I'm ready for the Golden Globes on Sunday! 
And I've got to finish our baby registry this weekend. We've got some sip and see's coming up and I need to get my list of wants and needs together.
What's on your mind?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Training: Getting Moving Tips

 With the 2013 New Year's Resolutions in full swing, I know many of us vowed to work out more and better our physical well beings.  Here are some simple tips that I've found help me to get motivated and to get myself in the gym...

1. Schedule it. Make a plan to work out certain days of the week.  Knowing when you have a day off or when you'll be at the gym will help you set your schedule so you make time for yourself.
2. Lay out your workout clothes and gear the night before. You'll be prepared when you arrive at the gym and they'll be no excuse.
3.  Make a plan. Do your research and make a plan for your time at the gym.  I go knowing exactly how many miles I'll run and about how long it will take me to do it.
4. Buddy Up.  Make plans to meet a friend at the gym.  A buddy helps keep you accountable.
5. Consider a workout you have to pay for. Paying for a gym membership or a specific type of workout class will help you stay accountable.  Why would anyone want to waste money in this economy?
6. Challenge Yourself. Go a quarter of a mile further on Fridays or do 20 more push ups.  You can do it.  You won't die.  
7. Take a class.  If you don't know what to do at the gym, take a class and just get moving.  Most gyms offer free workout classes to members. Try everything once.  You might find a new workout that you love.
8.  Reward Yourself.  On Wednesdays, I like to start by Subway and indulge in an egg white sandwich.  It's my mid-week reward for getting up and working out.
9. Take baby steps. Just get moving.  Start with one day a week and work up to two.  You don't need to become a gym rat overnight.
10. Write it down.  You can also keep track of your workouts with Daily Mile.  They even have a widget to link to your blog to keep you accountable.  I know it makes me feel good to see my number of workouts increase.

What tips do you have for getting to the gym? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baby Must Haves: One Month Edition

Since Eli's arrival came as a surprise, we (especially my mom) has been helping us find the baby gear that works best for us and most importantly Eli.  Here are a few of the items that have been great through this first month.  
Brica Fold 'N Go Travel Bassinet.  This is what Eli slept in for the first week of his life.  It was a lifesaver in the hotel and it was perfect for our needs.  It's easy to use and super lightweight for travel.
Chicco Pack N Play.  Since coming home, Eli has been sleeping in this.  We have it right next to our bed and he seems to do fine at night.  
Fisher Price Cradle N Swing.  When I can't hold Eli, he loves to sit in his swing. It's where he does most of his napping. 

Munchkin Wipe Warmer.  Before we got the wipe warmer, Eli would cry and scream when we changed his diaper. I swear he was saying, "No! No!" Now, he just whimpers and I think the warmer has helped.  It even has a light for those late night changings.

Aden+ Anais Muslin Blankets.  Since Eli is a winter baby, we wanted to keep him warm at night and the sleep sacks haven't been working so, we tried keeping fleece footed pajamas on him and then swaddling him tightly in these blankets and he's been sleeping so much better.  
Munchkin Drying Rack.  This drying rack is perfect for drying and storing all of Eli's bottles.  It's flexible and has so many options.    
Gripe Water. Our little one has been having some major trouble with gas and the gripe water has seemed to help. And it's a plus because it's all natural.
Sassy Mirror. Eli loves watching himself in this mirror. His eyes just get so big!

I can't wait to see how this list changes from month to month.  What were your must haves?