Yesterday, my husband and I took our son on a walk to the park. We took our handy dandy camera with us and my husband snapped a few beautiful photos! Here are some of them :)
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Bouncing back after pregnancy is quite the challenge for any woman when doing it in a realistic way. How you took care of yourself during pregnancy usually determines how fast or effectively you will “bounce” back. But, sometimes, the idea seems inevitable and impossible. Don’t give up! Anything worth building did not happen overnight, and your transformation is no different!
Diet plays a huge role in fitness-even more so than the gym, believe it or not! What you decide to fuel your body with is ultimately what you get back into return. My goal for bouncing back after my pregnancy is to lower my carb intake, eat 6 small meals a day, and fuel with my body nothing but water or flavored water.
You can steer clear by focusing on whole grains and unrefined, unprocessed foods. Stay away from any starchy veggies such as white potatoes or white pastas, breads, rice, sweets, and sodas! Instead, aim for whole grains, whole grains, oats, and quinoa. Choose green leafy veggies and veggies filled with colors! I love potatoes and have found a healthy alternative in switching to sweet potatoes instead. If you have a sweet tooth as I do, learn to make healthy alternatives of your favorite guilty pleasures. Simple swaps such as using Splenda instead of sugar, almond or coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour, or even almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk can lead to a huge difference!
Eating several small meals a day instead of 3 large meals actually does more for your weightloss than one may think! Think of your body as a fireplace-it NEEDS wood to keep burning a fire, right? Your body is NO different! By supplying your body with 5-6 small meals a day, it keeps your metabolism roaring! It is always working at a constant motion. Also, by eating several meals you become more satisfied and you are less likely to reach in the cupboards for more food or swing by the drive-thru window.
Water is very important to losing the baby weight because it flushes those fat cells and toxins out of your system. It also keeps you feeling full in between your small meals. The best way to calculate how much water you need daily is simple! Take your body weight in pounds and divide by half. That is the number in ounces of water that your body requires at a minimum. So, if you weigh 120lbs, you will need to drink at least 60oz of water per day to supply all of your bodily functions.
Exercise goes hand in hand with diet; you simply cannot do one without the other and expect a perfect transformation. I lost 45lbs through dieting alone, but I was left skinny with zero muscle definition. Once I started weight straining, I noticed my body changing and becoming powerful. I continued strength training and cardio throughout my pregnancy and will do so after my baby is born as a part of my postpartum fitness plan. To get back to your pre-pregnancy shape, there are a few workouts and exercises that I highly recommend!
One huge workout tip-always pair cardio with strength training. Cardio will be your best friend after your give birth to baby. My favorite and most effective form of cardio is running! Take a jog with your baby in the stroller, or if you can get some alone time, head to the gym and run on the Elliptical. I also love running outside on the track and using the MapMyRun app for iPhone which tells you how many miles you run, calories burned, etc. If you are not a runner, simple jogging or even walking in the evenings will help you out more than you know. Swimming is another form of amazing cardio that won’t leave you sweaty and breathless.
Strength training for me consists of the bench press, squatting with free weights, bicep curls with barbells, and using the leg press machine at the gym (love that thing!). Start off with a lighter weight and slowly work your way up. You will notice your body adjusting to the weight as you go on. That is when you know it’s time to vamp things up! One common myth is that weightlifting will make you bulky- we do not have the genes or hormones to become bulky like men! Do not believe this myth. Other great forms of exercises that I enjoy and would be great to use postpartum are pilates, yoga, CrossFit, etc. Find what works for you.
Most importantly, to bounce back after pregnancy, you must stay motivated! I always make it a point to do my workouts first thing in the morning before anything else. It is my priority! Set your alarms, lay out your workout clothes the night before, and mentally prepare yourself for your transformation that is to come.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
(12 weeks PP)
There is no way to actually physically manipulate to tighten your skin. Your skin, depending on its elasticity, actually retracts on its own. If you have more elasticity, your skin will tighten up quicker. If you have less, than it can take some time; years, maybe even months to get back to where you were. If your skin stretched extremely beyond its means, then surgery may be the best option for you.
However, there are some great ways to build the muscle underneath the skin to give a more toned appearance.
When it comes to squatting, most people do not go low enough. Therefore, they actually do not end up completing a full squat. Think of push-ups, for example-a lot of people shy away from going all the way down because, well, it's hard and challenging. The same goes for the squat. If you do it half-assed (no pun intended), then you will not get all of the benefits intended from doing a full squat.
By definition, a full squat is just below parallel, where the hip joint is lower than the knee joint. At the bottom of the squat, if you were to put a marble on your thigh, it should roll down towards your hip — not your knee. Some people can't complete full squats due to an injury or physical issue and that's totally okay. After all, not all hips and joints are the same. But, the truth is, many people do not go deep enough because they do not know any better.
Not doing full squats doesn't just come with zero benefits-they can actually cause you injury and harm your joints! The popular myth is that squatting too deeply can harm your knee joints when in actuality, squatting deeply stabilizing the joints even more. A recent study published in the journal Sports Medicine put a definitive ruling on the squat depth debate.It showed that the forces inside the ACL and PCL decrease the more the knee is bent, meaning the deeper you squat, the less pressure there is inside the knees So, no worries there!
When you squat low, you work the entire glutes-not just part or some. Studies show the gluteus maximus is over 25 percent more engaged during deep squats than when squatting parallel! Deep squats also help maintain your lower body flexibility within your hips-something we all will need as we get older.
With all of that being said, here is how you can squat a little bit lower to reap all of the wonderful benefits!
- Know Your Limits: Every single person is different with different body parts working in different ways. It is so important that you realize this before ever beginning squats. Some people just cannot squat-due to whatever reason! You may or may not be this person. If you are, then see how much you can actually do, but do not push your limits. Listen to and know your body first and foremost. Your body will lead the way and tell you everything you need to know!
- Check Your Form: Half of the time-kidding, most-people are doing it all wrong! Back hunched over, knees bent over toes, head down- big time no-no's! You can hurt yourself and do more harm than good to your body if you continue squatting with the wrong form. Here is an amazing little tip to help you improve your squat form in an instant!
- Take It Slow: Stop squatting so darn fast! I never understood why some folks squatted like they were in a race. Squatting too fast can hurt your body and make you perform the squat incorrectly since you aren't really engaging all of your muscles in a correct way. To go deep, go slow. Going slower also helps you check your form so you are more aware of your movements.
- Practice: Practice makes perfect. Keep trying until you get it. Go a bit lower and lower each day. You will get the hang of it!
Photo Source: Lean It Up
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Would you believe that most people actually perform squats incorrectly? It is true.
The #1 mistake that most people make while squatting is allowing their knees to go way over their toes upon execution. I've done it for years until I realized it was completely wrong!
So how do you know if you are doing a squat improperly?
Give yourself a little test.
- Stand up straight, with feet shoulder width apart.
- Squat down as low as you can keeping your torso straight.
- Now, check your knees. If they are way over your toes, then you need to improve your form because you could end up potentially hurting yourself-especially if you were to add any weights.
How do you learn to control your knees to squat properly?
Two words: Wall Squats!
Wall squats are the perfect way to teach someone how to squat correctly.
- Basically, you face a wall and standing 6 inches away.
- Squat down as low as you can-do not touch the wall!
- Keep your torso straight.
- Check your knees!
"How in the heck does this wall squat help me?" you might wonder.
Seeing the wall right in front of you gives you a visual reference to keep you upright and squatting with your back straight. You use the wall as your guide to mimic a perfect squat by keeping your body in line and allowing you to become more aware of your form or posture. The wall does not allow any part of your body to lean forward-as it normally would if you have been doing the squats entirely wrong. If you have been doing squats wrongly, this will actually feel weird to you. So, it may sound simple, but it has been one of the best tips I have ever received in order to improve my squats.
Monday, July 28, 2014
I have always had long hair (though I just recently had the itch to hack it all off once I gave birth to my son and, so far, I am loving it). I loved growing my hair out time and time again, but it always took so long-and I tend to be a little bit impatient at times.
I have crazy course and curly hair that is absolutely hard to manage so I tend to use a flat iron much of the time. I know-BIG no-no there. My hair lacked shine and was just so dull. So I went and researched the best and faster ways to grow your hair faster while also making it a lot healthier. And it worked!
Here are my 6 tried & true tips that helped me to grow my hair out in hardly any time:
- Eat more biotin. Biotin is a B (B7 to be exact) vitamin that is sometimes even referred to as Vitamin H. It is found in common foods such as leafy green vegetables, peanuts, Swiss chard, raw egg yolks and liver, but most wellness stores now provide Biotin in a supplement form. If you look on most Hair, Skin, & Nail vitamins, this is the main ingredient! It works by stimulating the root and hair follicles that are already growing. I have been taking Biotin capsules for years and have really noticed a HUGE difference.
- And Omega 3's. Taking fish oil capsules (or eating enough seafood) is great for hair because it makes it shinier and stronger. The natural oils that lubricate the scalp, hair and skin tend to lessen as we age. The omega-3s in fish oil capsules will help alleviate this dryness that leads to brittle hair and wrinkles. Therefore, it is also great for dandruff issues!
- Get regular trims. No, trimming your hair will not make it grow faster. BUT, they will help keep the ends from splitting and looking frayed. This gives the appearance of healthier & longer hair. When ends split and are severely damaged, they can cause breakage and that breakage travels up the hair shaft thus creating frizzy & messy hair. Trimming your hair may set you back an inch or two, but it will set you up for a nicer head of hair to come.
- Deep condition once per week. This is so important! Dry hair=frizzy hair=damaged hair. You can dehydrate that hair with an easy and simple homemade hair mask. I do it about once weekly. Sometimes, I will even do a home hot oil treatment using olive oil or coconut oil!
- Do a scalp massage! Scalp massages should be done once a night for at least 5 minutes. You can do them to yourself or you can have a friend or partner do them for you so you can relax & enjoy. Regular scalp massages stimulate blood flow to the roots of your hair, making them grow longer.
- LEAVE THE HAIR DRYER AND FLAT IRON ALONE. Or at least use sparingly. I now flat iron my hair twice a year-if that-and only for special occasions!
Are you in a bind when your little one gets congested and the bulb just does not cut it? Well, I have a solution for you!
Ladies, throw away those yucky nasal bulbs!
I introduce you all to: The NoseFrida Snotsucker aspirator. This one of a kind nasal aspirator was invented in Sweden by the good doctor himself!
It is 100% hygienic as it features disposable filters and it is super easy to use. It is invasive, gentle, and safe to baby as nothing actually is being stuck up their little noses.
The NoseFrida Snotsucker works by creating a suction within the nostril once you suck into the red tip of it.
You may think, "Well, that's just gross! What if I suck snot into my mouth?"
Well, I am so glad to tell you that it is not possible! The fact that you are using your mouth to create the suction is far more effective than any other nasal aspirator on the market.
We received our NoseFrida Snotsucker from ThanksMama.com. You may remember them when I did a review on two of their cloth diapers!
Thanksmama.com is family owned and operated natural baby store. They offer a great selection of cloth diapering products, potty training pants, swim diapers, natural baby care products, baby carriers, bibs, toys, nursery furniture and bedding, strollers and much more. They look for innovative products that are good for the baby and the environment and they never forget that most families are on a budget. That’s why Thanks Mama offers the Lowest Prices, Free Shipping on orders over $60 within USA, 90 days easy returns; Buy Safe Guarantee and Price Guarantee. Thanks Mama does ship worldwide! You can follow Thanks Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest or Google +. They host weekly Giveaways, Contests, Sweepstakes, Twitter Parties, talk about modern family fun and challenges, natural parenting and green living.
This thing was COOL. I am a bit guilty to admit-it is soooo fun to use! You never know whatcha gonna get! And the little ones feel so much better after a good snotsucking session!
I am an exclusive breastfeeder and when my son was congested, he would barely latch on because when he did, he could not breathe since his nasal cavities were clogged. I thought, "Well, shit! Now what?" That's when I remembered my handy dandy NoseFrida! So, I gave it a whirl. And the results speak from themselves:
He latched back on for a feeding and it was successful-and he could breathe again. Momma was a happy camper!
Want to see the results? One huge boogie and some snot that was keeping my baby boy from breathing-which interfered with his eating. Do I think a nasal bulb would have gotten all this? Heck no!
I absolutely LOVED the NoseFrida Snotsucker. This thing was a LIFESAVER. I am NOT kidding. Screw the bulbs-throw them all away! They only work half the time-if that-and they are so unsanitary! Nasal bulbs have a bad habit of forming mold on the inside of the bulb because it is so hard to clean and dry there. This risks contamination to your baby with each use! The Snotsucker, however, has disposable filters that are replaced to keep the aspirator completely clean after each use.
My son tolerated the NoseFrida Snotsucker very well! At first he was a bit timid and did not know what to think of it. But, I found that he liked it a LOT more than that ole bulb the hospital had given us. I would totally recommend the Snotsucker to every parent out there/ I would totally even use this product on myself.
Because, let's face it, runny & stuffy noses are just bound to happen.
So you wanna run your first 5k? But, the problem is that you absolutely HATE running. Do not worry, you are not alone!
In high school, I was a sprinter on our local track team and did not dare do any distance running.. until I decided to sign up for my first 5k-the annual McGuire's Irish Pub Run. Half of the thousands of people there running it had a beer in hand-at 9:30am-and the other half were dressed in costumes (my husband and I!).
The problem was that I fucking hated running, though later I enjoyed running so much, that I ran up until two days before my due date during pregnancy. I knew I had to run then, to burn off all of those chips & queso I indulged in during my second trimester.
Though, I had LOTS of fun doing it because my husband waited on my slow ass, I ran it in a horrible 45 minute-ish range and decided that I needed lots of help-and training. I could not even keep my breathing up!
So, I created a mini 5k training plan to prepare me for the next year's race. And I did it religiously.. And did a whole lot better with the next race!
Here is a mini 5k workout plan to get ready for your first race! It will condition your body to get used to running longer distances by doing a little more running each day. Then, after you have mastered the plan, try doing it faster!
It is very simple, nothing special, but gives you a good goal to start with. Each week has its own interval of running. Try to complete it once a morning. If you cannot do it everyday, then try maybe 5 times per week-3 days at the very least!
6 Week 5K Training Plan
Week 1: Run for 5 Minutes; Walk 2 minutes. Repeat for 6 sets.
Week 2: Run for 7 Minutes; Walk 90 seconds. Repeat for 5 sets.
Week 3: Run for 10 Minutes; Walk 1 minute. Repeat for 4 sets.
Week 4: Run for 15 Minutes; Walk 2 minutes. Repeat for 3 sets.
Week 5: Run for 25 Minutes; Walk 90 seconds. Repeat for 2 sets
Week 6: Run for 30 Minutes! WOOHOO! Repeat only once.
And always remember this..
Sunday, July 27, 2014
I would like to introduce you ladies to our new bestest friend, Sophie!
Sophie the Giraffe, to be exact!
She stands just 7 inches tall and comes all the way from the country of France.
Oooohh la la!
We first met Sophie when Grey was having his first tooth cut through and boy was she a lifesaver! I have heard before that this simple rubber giraffe was dubbed the "World's Greatest Teething Toy," but never realized why... until I handed her over to my son and let him play. It is in fact the best-selling teething toy around.
But, I know what you're thinking as you roll your eyes...
"$24... for a teething toy... REALLY... You gotta be kidding me..."
Sure, she is a little pricier than most teethers that you tend to find, but I am telling you-she is worth every penny and more. I even received a mini-Sophie keychain to carry around with me wherever we go-just in case he needs a good chewing session.
Upon giving Sophie to my son, his face lit up! He immediately grabbed for her and started gnawing away on her long legs. Then he would pick her up, throw her down to make her squeak. Yes, she is a squeaking toy so if you have a dog, you may want to hide this toy or it will be theirs!
My son played with Sophie for almost an hour before he got bored. And watching him teethe on it gave me such delight since no other teething toy has helped him so much! Overall, I would give Sophie the Giraffe 10 stars. We were super pleased!
Our Sophie even came with a miniature keychain version to take with us on the go whenever our son has a knack to gnaw on something!
We got our Sophie the Giraffe from Giggle.com. This site is pretty freaking awesome-they have everything to meet your baby's needs. From toys to nursery decor, from feeding supplies to bathing, you are sure to find what you need right here!
Giggle.com has their own criteria for toys and as you can see from the chart below, Sophie the Giraffe meets every single one of them!
To get your very own Sophie The Giraffe, visit Giggle.com!
Also, be sure to check out their Facebook & Twitter pages for their newest trending toys and products.
Who loves body scrubs?
I do, I do!
However, they can get expensive depending on where you purchase them from. Personally, I love making my very own!
My favorite involves my addiction: caffeine!
Whaaat? How does caffeine play into a body scrub?
The “caffeine” works on skin in three primary ways: as a vasoconstrictor, an antioxidant, and a diuretic, making it perfect for buffing your skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- 1 c freshly ground coffee
- 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 1/2 c sea salt
- 1/2 c coconut oil (olive oil works fine too as long as its extra virgin)
- In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and store in a mason jar!
- Use once per week in the shower with a body brush or just using your hands.
- Wash off thoroughly with warm water.
- 1.5 cups almond milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquefied
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 18 paper baking cups.
- Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter.
- Frost with desired frosting.
*Notes: this recipe does not rise as well as cake batter, but cupcakes are more fun anyway!