Back to YOU with Wayfair

8.18.2015

We have two more weeks of summer left before the kids go back to school. Two week, jam packed with as much activity as possible. And while I am seriously sad about summer coming to an end (the end of lazy days, the end of warm. sigh), I am also happy about getting some of my time back. Granted, my kids are old enough to be left home alone. So during the summer, I can still go to the gym or get my hair cut or run errands. But I don’t spend time doing things like I do when they are in school. I don’t spend time organizing, purging, taking on (or finishing) projects. So while I am not excited for summer to come to a close, I am excited to get into project mode!

The biggest project on my (our) plate is a basement renovation. But since that is going to take a few months, I need some instant gratification around here. One of the things that we’ve been talking about all summer is how we need to spruce up our backyard. Its not very relaxing or inviting or adult friendly, for that matter.

While our yard is tiny and is home to a giant trampoline, basketball hoop, two square foot garden beds, and a golden retriever, there’s still a few things that we can do to spruce it up. For one, I have been eyeing up getting a conversation set. It invites coziness and comfiness into the backyard. Its a place we can relax with the kids, friends, or I can enjoy some me-time during the day with a good book or have some ladies over for coffee in the morning after getting the kids off to school. I love this set from Wayfair – its exactly what I have in mind. The cushions are plump, yet the style is sleek enough not to overpower our tiny backyard.
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The bonus of having a yard sandwiched between two garages is that there’s something to anchor patio lights to. I envision a few strings of these strung across our yard. I mean, is there anything more relaxing than enjoying a glass of wine or a craft cocktail with your spouse or your friends while sitting under the lights at night?
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And speaking of craft cocktails, how about a nice set of copper mugs to add to the ambiance. My husband and I love to enjoy a nighttime Moscow Mule under the stars after a long day. My book club ladies love them too.
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I cannot wait to get working on the space – enjoying some me-time while working on it, and basking in some enjoyable me-time afterwards.

Is there anything that you have on your list to get done (or not done!) as soon as school starts and you’ve got some time back to yourself?

This post was sponsored by Wayfair. While I was compensated for writing it, all opinions are 100% my own.

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Talking Bodies

7.31.2015

Its taken almost 42 years, but I’m finally truly learning to accept my body.  I feel like I am constantly learning. Learning how exactly what I put into it affects me…affects my moods, my energy, my strength, my digestion, my sleep, and yes, my physical appearance.

For far too long, I restricted myself under the assumption that food=weight.  I’ve come to learn that the more I eat (granted, there’s more to it than that!), the better my metabolism is and the more fat I burn, resulting in my ability to build more leaner muscle.

Recently, I felt like I was in a rut. I was working out regularly, doing the strength training workouts designed to build more muscle, yet I wasn’t able to increase my weight at all. Nor was I able to shed this pudge on my hips that I didn’t like.  I knew I ate healthy, so I had no idea what I was doing wrong.  After talking with my trainer and tracking my food intake, he came to the conclusion that I was not eating enough. Especially protein. But honestly, I had no idea how to go about adding more protein into my daily diet. And macros? What were those? My head was spinning.

Enter Cara Clark Nutrition. All I had to do was fill out my detailed profile and I got a plan made for me. All spelled out to a ‘T’. Couldn’t be easier than that (unless the groceries were delivered with it. lol) I took my measurements at the start, and after 2 weeks not only did I lose an inch in my hips, but I also increased my muscle mass % and decreased my body fat % (my weight stayed the same). And now, 4 weeks later, I am starting to see more definition in my abs, as well. They’ve always been there, but there’s just been more bloat in front of them.

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I am delighted. I feel great. And in all honesty, I will say that I do splurge at times and eat things that aren’t all that great for me. Some aren’t satisfying and I know I won’t indulge again. And some are treats that I will continue to have every so often. Because life is too short not to enjoy them once in awhile, right?

During all of this, I had sort of an epiphany….why am I doing this? I mean, I know I eat healthy because it makes me feel great. And who doesn’t like to feel great? But why do I work out? I could certainly just take the dog for a 3 mile walk each day and that would suffice, wouldn’t it?  If I am going to be snatching and pressing and bear crawling and running steps and jumping rope and doing things that make me want to vomit at times, I need something fun to come from it.

So I joined adult gymnastics. Why not? I am flexible. I am strong. Hell, I just got my side crow down (hells yeah). But this combines strength, flexibility and FUN! And maybe it will help me with my coordination, of which I have none.  Maybe I can learn to do the splits…something I’ve never been able to do. Hell, I’ve never been able to do most things – back handsprings, back walkovers, front or back tucks, aerials – but I already did several of those on the tumble track! (here’s one!)  And I learned a new appreciation for my daughter’s sport…because I cannot get my kip (holy shit, that is beyond hard).  And you know what? It made me feel child-like!

What’s next? My husband and some friends and I are signed up for the Tough Mudder next month and we’ve been doing some fun obstacle course training (I conquered the ramp- video). After that, I don’t know. But I intend on keeping it fun. My exercise will fuel my fun. Maybe I’ll try Jiu Jitsu with my yellow-belt son.

 

 

 

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The perfect black jogger

7.16.2015

Athleta moved into a mall about 5 min from my house a little less than a year ago, and I’ve been loving their store ever since. Prior to their arrival, I paid little to no attention to their catalogue when it would arrive, mainly due to the price tags on the items in it. I am a bit frugal when it comes to clothing. However, once I got to touch the fabric and try on the items, I fell in love.

Specifically, I fell in love with their sports bras, the Asana tank (I have it in multiple colors…its such a flattering cut), and the City Pant. But for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to pay $80 for a pair of joggers. That was last summer. I spent months searching other stores for similar pairs and nothing fit like the City Pant did. They were all droopy in the butt or would get saggy knees, or were just generally ill fitting. I finally decided that since I still was in love with them months later, the cost was justifiable. And I bought them. And I love love love them. They are so soft and stretchy and can be worn dressed up or down. I would think nothing of dressing these up at night with some heels and jewelry and wearing them out. This particular outfit, dressed down and paired with the Athleta Essence Low Arm tank, was worn for a day out walking the dog and duckpin bowling with my kids.

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I feel the need to mention that I don’t have back fat. Even though it looks like I do. I don’t know what is going on. But I guess I am vain enough that I need to mention it.

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This post in no way is affiliated with or sponsored by Athleta. I just felt the need to express my love for their product.

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second guessing

7.13.2015

Afternoons like today make me stop and think… did we make a mistake in selling our last home. Our (much larger) home that was on an acre and a half of land. We had hills. We had fields.

 
Today, my kids did not whine for electronics. Today, they caught toads in a stream. They caught fireflies. They jumped the stream. They built a bonfire. They played on tire swings. They experienced the type of childhood I had. And it was amazing.

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But then I remembered…today would not have happened had we not moved to where we are now. We have an amazing community. So I guess we’ll just have to work a little harder at finding our adventures.

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Friday Links

7.10.2015

Whoever said that summer is chill is a complete liar. And I haven’t even overbooked my kids!

Last night, I ran an annual 5k “fun run” with some friends. I haven’t seriously run in 3 years, so I wasn’t sure how I’d do or if I could complete it. But I agreed to do it because this race kicks off a weekend street festival and you run through the city streets at night, with the lights of the Milwaukee skyline and its just awesome to listen to all the bar and restaurant patrons cheering you on. About a half mile in, I remembered why I stopped running. About 2 miles in, I thought I was going to die. Today, my knees hurt like a mofo. Yep…running sucks. Give me a hard anaerobic workout anyway. There’s even research to back me up.

Parenting a tween. Its like parenting jeckyl and hyde. One day, its freaking amazing and fun. And the next day, well, you’re researching boarding schools. Let’s just say that I can add about 50 good extra bullet points to this article.

Food for thought: Helicopter parenting is increasingly correlated with college age depression

I’ve been increasingly listening to podcasts when I’m (always) in the car. I’ve not listened to any of these, but thought this was interesting. Nine Podcasts For a Fuller Life

A great article about natural sunscreen. We made the switch this past spring break, and finally settled on some brands we love this summer (Honest Co, Babyganics, and Arbonne).

Happy Friday, everyone. Have a fabulous weekend. I am looking forward to greeting this girl on late Saturday night when she comes home from Karolyi’s Camp in Houston!!
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