4.30.2011

Toddler Golden gloves - tickets sold here.

No seriously..I cannot get out of my own way with this issue!  My son has always been a very easy kid.. nursed for 15 minutes tops then fell right back to sleep.. falls asleep on his own easily.. even when he's sick he's pretty even-keeled. So when I heard stories from friends about their kids hitting them I thought, 'oh my god...they are so patient..I have no idea what I would do if I was in that situation'.

First I should say that I was definitely the type of person, before having my own kid, that saw kids behaving erratically out in public I KNEW that wasn't going to be my child, because I would discipline my children.  I would not let them think that it was OK to act that way. HA! 

OK, so we're back to my kid being nice and even-keeled..  hanging out with kids at school that say, "THAT'S MINE!!" and rip toys out of his hands and he just finds another toy...  So imagine my surprise the first time I try to get him to do something he doesn't want to - put on his PJ's, Oh the horror! - and he swings his hand at me, and yell's, "NO MAMA!"..  What was my reaction the first time this happened?  To tap his hand and say, "No Will!  We do not hit!"...  yup.. I basically hit my kid and then said, we do not hit.  Dummy.  (For all looking to call protective services, I TAPPED his hand but you get the point.)

I realized that my original reaction was not the brightest, so what next?  Next I tried soft, positive reinforcement. "Will, we touch gently.  Hitting is not nice." Then he hit me again, little bugger.  So far I've tried positive reinforcement, angry face and sternly saying, "We do not hit!", Ignoring it, laughing and pretending he means to high five us (I know, ridiculous)..  Ignoring it - that usually turns into him doing it over and over until he gets a reaction, which is usually me losing it and yelling, "ENOUGH!!!"..  What did that lead to?  Him saying "enough mama!!" when he didn't like something.  Sweet.

So this started happening really 2 weeks ago which happens to be a month before he turns 2 AND when his 2 yr molars started coming in. He is still an easy kid but now when he's tired or hungry he's lashing out like this...  I'm sure this is normal but it's driving me crazy!!

So I ask...
 - what have you done that has actually worked in this situation?
 - how many days can you give your 2 yr old motrin in a row for molars coming in and overall bitchy attitude? ;-)

4.28.2011

Boot Camp Day 2 - Kind of

OK..not even kind of - I didn't go.  I woke up on time, went to get out of bed and the pain I felt in my legs...I know, out of shape loser! hahaha!  It was bad.  But I'm so scared to lose this momentum all I could picture was going today and hurting myself or something.  I know this sounds like the typical 'find and excuse to get out of going' BUT..this time it was different!  I still got up and stretched a bunch and did some sit-ups and push-ups. Which made me feel good!

The biggest part of today that I'll have to work on though?  Not getting mad at myself for not going. In the past I would have felt guilty all day but today I just keep reminding myself I did something.  I got up and did some things that made sense for me and I'm OK with that.  I'll join those great girls again on Monday.  Until then, so that the same exact thing doesn't happen, I'll do a shred video, I'll hit the elliptical,  I'll play with my husband and son outside, I'll go for a walk - I'll continue to build some endurance to prepare for Monday.  Achievable goals.  ;-)

PS - One tip: don't wear your 4 inch heals when your legs are this sore.  Seriously, you should see me walking around today - ridiculous.  

4.27.2011

Boot Camp - Day 1

My husband recently said to me, "When are you going to train for that 5K you're running in June?"... I laughed and said, "Honey, It's like 3 miles.  I don't have to train for that."

WRONG!!!!

I've already told you that I'm not really THAT overweight.. about 20lbs.  But this is what I felt like this morning at boot camp, minus the tutu and crown.


I ran a 5K years ago without training but I'm realizing now that back then I was still going to the gym 4-5 days a week hitting the elliptical and weights, yoga, even a class here and there. I was doing SOMETHING which is the exact opposite of what I've been doing lately which is... drum roll... NOTHING.  I get winded running up a flight of stairs.  I'm tired all the time.  I've even noticed that my mood is off a lot and I'm sure it has a lot to do with not working out.

So I decided I needed a routine.  Someone to expect me to show up, something that I paid for and it would be a waste to skip...  Boot camp was my answer.  I'll be going three days a week for an hour, first thing in the morning.  If I'm motivated enough I'll do the Jillian Shred Video or use the elliptical on the other mornings but right now, I'm only committing to the 3 days a week boot camp.  Why?  Because I'm typically such an extremist, so when I decide to get in shape I set crazy, unachievable goals for myself and then just quit altogether.  Seriously, my excuse for not working out, well the biggest one - cause I can find ANY excuse in the book - is that I have no time.  So why, why when I decide to get in shape do I say I'll work out 6 days a week???  I start to get an anxiety attack just thinking about it and then think, 'I can't do that..I'll start that next month.'  Viscous cycle!

Back to this morning's boot camp.  Great instructor, super nice set of women, and I was excited!  We started off stretching and doing some weight exercises with a heavy ball (should I know what the technical term for that thing is?  Just be glad I didn't say "thingy".  That's my technical term for everything.) and push ups and stuff.  I'm thinking, 'this is not that bad!!'...  Then we line up and the nice man decides we're going to start running..  just to clarify..we're not sprinting, we're running, then jogging.  I was breathing so heavy I was sure someone was going to ask if I needed an inhaler.  Then as a group, we had to push a set of bleachers across the gym..and then back.  At this point I literally say out loud, "I think I'm going to throw up.  No.  Really."

But I didn't.. and I enjoyed the rest of the class.  I have to practice not trying to keep up with all the women in class that work out all the time - at least for right now.  If I pushed myself too hard today I would be in so much pain I wouldn't even go tomorrow - so I kept at my own pace.  My legs feel a bit sore and weak right now but I love it!  I got my workout out of the way and don't have to think about it for the rest of the day and I feel great because I know that working out won't just help me lose some weight, it'll give me more energy and get me healthier. 

Another big piece of getting back to working out for me?  Our kids learn from our example and I want my kids to grow up learning that everything in moderation is good and that exercise is just a normal part of your routine.  I don't want them fighting to motivate when they're 30..I want it to be something they've always seen us do and something they've always done.

So we all know that exercising is great for us in a thousand different ways - so why is it so easy for some of us to avoid it?  So easy forget how great we feel after we've done it?

4.26.2011

Makeup - MAKE ME UP!

I used to be super lazy about makeup which also meant being super stupid about how much I spent on it.  In my younger days...ha! I'm so old.. I just said 'younger days'!  I meant early 20's when I didn't have anyone else that cared about how I spent my money.  Anyway, I'd just go to MAC, have them make up my face and then buy what they used.  WHAT?  Dumbass walking out of there $350 later.

One day I read an article that talked about what makeup you should spend your money on and what makeup you can just buy from the drugstore.  Thank goodness I read that article!!  I don't think I stuck to exactly what it said.. but mostly.

So now I always buy my mascara from CVS or Target.  I was using Maybelline's Lash Blast for the longest time but I just bought Maybelline's One by One mascara and LOVE LOVE it. It goes on perfectly, not clumpy and separates every lash.  I am a huge fan and it's only around $7 at CVS - $5.50 at Target.  I always use waterproof and apply lightly to the bottom lashes to avoid black under my eyes.  Note: I'd prefer to get fake lashes and not have to worry about this at all!  Hmm..maybe as part of a post investigation.  Stay tuned..

As far as a foundation.. I'm sure the article said this was something to actually spend on but  -  In the fall/winter months I found Revlon Colorstay works great for me.  Goes on nice and lasts through the day.  It works even better when I use a primer first like SmashBox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. You don't need to use much primer at all as it spreads very easy.  In the warmer months I don't like a lot of foundation coverage and as I get some color on my face I just don't need it so I switch to benefit Some Kind-A Gorgeous. I fell in love with it! It looks so natural, goes on so smooth and lasts.  It used to only come in one shade that suited most everyone but now comes in Lite, Medium, and Deep.  It costs $28 at sephora and I go through it in about a month or so, so I only treat myself to it for a portion of the year.  The Revlon Colorstay is about $14 at CVS and lasts me for months.

I also spend money on my bronzer/blush.  My go to year round is a NARS bronzing blush duo - Laguna bronzer and Orgasm blush.  These colors tend to work with most skin tones so they're good for winter and summer months, pale and tan.  Around $40 at sephora and last me about 6 months at least. 

Next makeup post...super easy eyeshadow application! Back up people, I'm going to try video!!!  ;-)

4.21.2011

Follow up - Hair, Shoes and Tan

Hair: It's been almost two weeks since my Express Keratin Treament and my hair looks great! (In my opinion ;-) )  It's been very quick to blow dry and it still has a nice shine and softness to it.  I can certainly tell a slight difference from the first blow dry but it's still nice. 

Shoes: Of the three pairs of shoes I mentioned in my DSW post I love them all.  The kelly & kate Jaylyn wedges were so comfortable in Miami and go with anything!  I got the Snake material and the patent leather each for $49.95.  I wore one pair out all night (8pm - 3:30am) on our Opa night and my feet never hurt once. 
The black pumps were $35 and totally worth it. They have a 3 3/4 inch heel but don't feel like it at all.  I don't think I'd go for a long walk in them but I've worn them to work 3 times this week with no problem.

*Picture quality isn't great as I'm in a cube using my phone!

Spray tan: Still pretty good after a solid week.  I've touched up legs and arms with my spray at home to keep the color and there are some spots on my neck that are spotty but I spray there to even off and I'm good to go.  I'd definitely wear a sleeveless shirt if it were warm enough or a skirt with no nylons if that is any indication to you.  

Chicken and Steak Fajita recipe..so good

 I currently have 12 cookbooks.  I love cookbooks.  But guess what I do when I need a recipe for dinner.  I go online.  I enter whatever food I happen to be feeling like, add "recipe" to the end and hit Google!  So next to my 12 cookbooks I also have folders full of written recipes and printouts.  It's a mess.  If anyone has a good way to organize written or printed out recipes please share!

Point is - we were having another couple over for dinner a few of weekends ago and I was determined to use my cookbooks to find a recipe for us.  Fajitas caught my eye immediately.


I should tell you I could probably eat mexican food every day of my life...especially fajitas.  My go to was always the Old El Paso fajita seasoning packet recipe.  I'd get a large onion, a couple of green peppers and a package of boneless chicken breast and whip this up with some low fat sour cream and hot sauce.
I've never been a huge 'make it from scratch' cook.. I'm more of a 'what's quick, easy and tastes good?' type.  Soo, my side of choice is usually a microwave rice packet...best one so far is Uncle Ben's Santa Fe Whole Grain Rice.



Not this time!  I was doing it up right for our dinner guests.  I've attached the recipe below as an image so it's easy for you to print.  A couple of notes:
 - the recipe doesn't call for peppers and onions.  I just added them.  I made an additional small amount of the marinade and used it to cook the peppers and onions separately.
 - it calls for 4 lbs of flank steak and 6 chicken breasts. Fatty. ha! I mean it does say it makes 20 fajitas but for the four of us (and there were leftovers) we used 1.25 lbs of flank steak and 4 boneless breasts.
- directions are to grill it.  I just cooked the meat and peppers and onions on two frying pans on the stove.

We all devoured it!  Oh..and yes.. I used the microwave rice still.  Oh just try it..



4.19.2011

Spray tan: Salon or DIY or both..

I went for my first salon spray tan before my wedding in 2007 and that's when I fell in love.  For $30 I all of a sudden had this great tan, which we all know is like losing 5 lbs immediately, it was the perfect shade, and it lasted for a week!  I brought a can of Neutrogena Spray Tan to my honeymoon and did touch ups to keep it through the entire trip. 

I've tried before to go from pasty white to DIY neutrogena spray before but unfortunately having absolutely no base really shows any mistakes you may make when spraying on your own.  My two preferred methods are:
  • For events or trips: getting a salon spray tan (I've had great experiences at Laschi Hair Salon in Reading and Spa Ni'joli in Methuen) and then maintenance with the lotion and spray as needed.
Getting a salon spray tan - what you need to know:
  1. Booking your appointment: You'll feel sticky for the 6 hours you have to wait to shower, and you can't get wet or even sweat really, so you need to decide the best time of day for you.  I prefer to get a late appointment so I sleep through all that waiting and then just shower in the morning.  
  2. Prior to your appointment: When you shower that day you should exfoliate as best you can and then DO NOT apply moisturizer.  If you have to, use a moisturizer with water as it's first ingredient.
  3. Going to your appointment: wear lose fitting clothes that you don't care about getting dirty.  The tan will rub off on your clothes but it washed right out of the white sweatshirt I so brilliantly wore last time.  I don't wear a bra or underwear in...I probably could but I just don't want much rubbing up on the spray.
  4. At your appointment: If you're skin is very light, I wouldn't go darker than medium when they ask.  If you have more of a darker skin tone then you can probably whatever level you like.
  5. What to expect: the picture set below takes you through it..You walk in with no tan.. You leave feeling sticky.  When you look at your legs, you'll think, "Oh no, it's not dark enough." - don't worry!  As you can see in the pic on the bottom right, by the time you can shower (no sooner than 6 hrs after spray) you look almost orange - don't worry about that either! When you shower the extra tan will just wash off and you'll be left with a nice glow. Alway have a can of spray tan for when you get home in case you need any touch ups - you shouldn't but it was raining when I went last week and my damn wet umbrella hit me in the face when I closed it.  

Clockwise from Top left: Pasty me before spray, After I got home, right before shower, after shower.
 

4.17.2011

Miami Trip 2011

It starts with emails back and forth full of excitement and anticipation; "100 more days!", "45 more days!"... "Where should we eat?".."I just bought a new dress!"..  There are manicures and pedicures and spray tans..  So much preparation for 2 and 1/2 days.

But the hair, nails, spray tans and new dresses are not what this trip is about for me.  This trip is about quality time I get to spend with some of my closest friends..  We drink, we eat, we beach, we pool, we shop, we nap.. we never run out of things to talk about but also enjoy the silence.  We can spend time talking about things very serious to us and then 2 minutes later are in the middle of a laughing fit about something absolutely ridiculous.  

Some highlights...
The first night we went to Taverna Opa based on recommendations from two different people.  NOT what we expected.  We walked in and there was this greek techno music BLARING.  I wish there was a picture of me as we sat because the girls said my feelings were displayed all over my face, as they usually are.  It wasn't tough to figure out as I quickly said, "I hate this place." I couldn't hear anyone talking to me, the waiter made me repeat my drink order 5 times before he heard me and so on...I just hated it.  Then, the most amazing thing happened..
VODKA plus HIP HOP equals....



...me dancing on the table. I had a few drinks, songs I knew and love to dance to came on and bam, there I was. Don't judge, that's what they do there!  Order, dance on the table, eat first course, dance on the table, second course, table...and so on.  Eventually almost all of us were up there! Oh, and the food was DELICIOUS!


The next morning, after sitting and enjoying coffee outside while people watching we went for a walk to watch the Gay Pride Parade.  These guys were from the Idaho Potato float...I mean that's what's in their shorts right? 
On a serious note, it was amazing to watch this parade.  I was most moved by the legacy float. It was filled with older couples wearing sashes that had their names and length of their relationship, for example "Al and George - 30 years"..  It was so moving to see. 


 

There was more fun, more food and more drinks but something different than the other years.. just as I counted down to my time away with the girls, I also counted down to my time home with my boys...



Do you have an annual girl's trip away?  What makes it so special to you? I'd love to hear about it!

4.14.2011

Keratin Express..Oh how I love thee

I mentioned in my first post that I got the Keratin Express at Salon Laura Michaels last weekend...  Well I just washed and blew dry my hair for the first time and I'm in love with it! (See before and after pictures below)

The process: My stylist Michael did everything he could to move his schedule around to accommodate my request to add the Keratin Express to my cut/color/highlight appointment - THANK GOODNESS!  After he finished the color and highlights he sprayed the treatment all through my hair and then did the cut.  After the cut he dried my entire head and then used a special flat iron to straighten it.  After the treatment you can't get your hair wet for 24 hrs.  From what I hear, your hair can be pretty greasy after the 24 hrs but I went Saturday to Wednesday totally fine.  I did wear a ponytail Monday - Wednesday though. 

The results: Everything I was told would happen to my hair has happened so far.  It dried quicker and is softer and shinier.  The true test will be the Miami heat.  We'll see what happens!!!

My before and after pictures. (Maybe I should have applied some makeup for the after photos! )
                                                 
BEFORE                   AFTER





4.13.2011

We need to talk....

Photo source: seibei.com
There is something we need to talk about early on in this  relationship.  I use the f word..FAT...in reference to myself in certain stories I'll tell.  For the most part I really don't mean it.  I mean I AM 20lbs overweight but it mustn't bother me that much as I've been very slow to get back in shape!

You'll also definitely hear me use terms like, "Fatty" so lets define that now: Fatty = Someone that LOVES food.  Someone that looks at a menu online before they go to the restaurant to start planning their meal.  Someone that can't imagine a get together that involved rock climbing instead of a meal and drinks.

No fat comments are meant to be self deprecating at all but using the word fat, to me, is just funnier than saying, "a little overweight".

I LOVE Thai, burritos, chips and salsa are a no brainer for me, and the list goes on.  I begged to buy an elliptical machine and use it a lot..OK well for a month I use it a lot, and then for 3 months I don't!  ha!  I don't know what eating only one slice of pizza even means or eating just half of my drunken noodle dish.  Unless that's all you put in front of me, then I can manage it.

I am about to start a boot camp...no really.  And I've decided to start incorporating salad as much as possible.  We'll see how it goes.  I mean until it gets to the point that I'm done having children I'm not committing to anything crazy! ;-) See, that's how a FATTY thinks.

Point is, I don't want to offend anyone when they see the word fatty in future posts or give the wrong impression of how I feel about my appearance.  I actually think I'm a pretty cute, curvy woman that just needs to start making getting healthier more of a priority in my life.

I'll keep you posted on boot camp and my salad progress..

Glad we got that out of the way! ;-)

4.12.2011

What a nice surprise!


 More and more lately I've been feeling like customer service is going out the window. I realize that the people that make my iced coffee or venti green iced tea do not get paid a lot and maybe hate their job..but you can't put on a smile?  You can't be friendly?  If you mess something up and I kindly ask for it to be fixed you can't say, "Oh, sorry about that!". So when I find a Dunk's or Starbucks with friendly people I continue to give them my business.

Yesterday I was perusing the web for some shoes and came across these fun patent leather wedges on DSW.com..which brought me to these FUN "snake skin" wedges..oh, these standard black pumps for work would be nice too...  ;-) After adding them to my 'shopping bag' I did a quick search online, as I always do, for a discount code.  (Google: dsw discount code) and found $20 off any purchase of $49!  As I attempted to enter the code upon checkout I found it didn't work.

Typically at this point I would have just given up and decided to just forget about the shoes but three pairs of shoes for $100 sounded too good to pass up.  So I called DSW..thinking great, I'll have to tell her all the names of the shoes, she'll probably have a hard time finding them..then my size, etc and this will be a 20 min call while I'm at work. I was pleasantly surprised!  The woman that answered said that coupon had been sent out to people by accident but she could still give it to me.  She then asked that I log out (I am a rewards member which I've never cared about until now..read on) so she could view my bag.  She pulled it right up and told me I'd also get free standard shipping because I was a rewards member.  When I asked what 2 day shipping was she said $14 but you get it for $7 because, again, rewards member.  I then replied, "Oh great! I'll do that.  I have a trip on Thursday and I'd love to have them by then."  Her reply? "Oh nice, we'll ship them 2 day for free - enjoy your trip!"

Overall I love this experience not only because I got 3 pairs of shoes for $104! but because this DSW phone rep was so pleasant and easy to work with AND made this order as easy as possible for me!

I've gotten shoes from DSW before that are super comfortable and I wear them forever..I'll let you know how these shoes are!!

Any of you have an experience like this to share?

4.11.2011

Well...here I am!

I have to be honest....THIS IS SCARY!  Not that I don't share almost every thought that comes into my head with all of my friends anyway but this is taking it to another level.  Now my thoughts are out there to be viewed/judged by more than just the people that love me.  BUT, this is also very exciting :-)

What to expect here?  I love to share my thoughts on my favorite, and not so favorite, products, recipes, restaurants, etc.  I've learned a lot in the last 5 years about who I am and try to grow from all of my mistakes and experiences..I'll talk about those things here too. I am always learning from the people I'm surrounded by so I want this to be more of a forum; a place where we can all share our thoughts and opinions and learn from each other.

My friends are amazing and diverse.  They don't know it yet but they will be guest blogging!  I have a couple of friends that know great places to eat and drink in the city.. A fashionista who never fails to impress with her ability to pull together an outfit.. A stay at home mom with one on the way....A mad marketer that LOVES to cook...A couple of amazing teachers... A boot camp babe that just moved from Beantown to the Denver... and the list goes on!  Each will be able to add their own flavor, whether I'm writing about them or their writing on their own.

A taste of what's to come: I just got the Express Keratin treatment this weekend so I'll be posting before and after pictures and telling you about the experience.  A yummy Fajita recipe..  Oooh! and our *annual* girls miami trip is this weekend so you'll have a recap when we get back!