Gradual Changes for a Healthier Life

wellness image

2019 has thrown our family some curve balls.  I’m not going to get into WHAT those are at this moment, but it has prompted my entire family (parents and brother included) to make some changes.  As a whole, we are pretty healthy peeps.  We are all pretty active and decently aware of what is good and what is bad.  For me personally, the past year I have really cleaned up my diet.  And I would say, in the past 3 years, I’ve just made minor changes that have become permanent.  BUT, hey……I know, You know, We all know….there is ALWAYS ROOM to improve.

I’ve always been this weird nutrition researcher nut; any opportunity I can get to put my blue light blocking glasses on and hit up my friend google into a deeper dive, I’m up for the challenge.  Only now days, I have more resources, like podcasts, blogs, audio books and documentaries to supplement my nerdy-ness with.  I’m not a doctor, but I did take nutrition courses my junior and senior year at IUPUI.  I mean, for a hot minute, I thought about being an RD.  But then, you know, I didn’t.  haha.  Regardless, over the past 20 years or so, I’ve always been a sucker for nutrition information and ways to lead a cleaner, healthier and “greener” holistic life.  No, I am not and do not want to be the lady wearing hemp clothes I made myself, while harvesting my own crops and beheading my own chickens, making my own soap and cleaning everything with said said soap.  Sorry, literally, I’m laughing at loud at that last sentence because I think I just described someone I can guarantee you I will never be, unless the zombie apocalypse happens.  In which case, I’m going to MI to live with my friend Andria who knows how to DIY everything out of virtually nothing.  I’m sure we could totally set up a bunker and survive with our families in tow! haha.

I do believe, however, that there are really crappy things in our every day lives that we could clean up a bit to be healthier.  I also believe that gradual changes are everlasting in the long run and that you will feel and look better when you adopt some healthier lifestyle changes.  I completely 100% believe that beyond genetic factors, our environment, and the foods we choose can play a big role in making us sick.  On the flip side, knowing that, we can do things to prevent those diseases sometimes by taking extra time to care for ourselves and our families.

Here are some simple swaps for a healthier life:

Household:

Laundry Detergent:  Swap out the Tide for Seventh Generation or Honest Co laundry detergent.  The “fragrance” in traditional laundry detergents are horrible to put on our bodies.  Anything that breaks my kiddos’ skin out immediately when they come in contact with it, is something I don’t want in our home.

seventh generation products

Dishwasher Detergent: Swap whatever powder or liquid you use for the lemon Seventh Generation liquid dishwasher detergent.  It smells great and doesn’t have all the chemicals!

Dryer Sheets:  Instead of chemical filled Bounce or Downy sheets, I use Method organic sheets (I buy them at Target).  You can also buy wool balls and put lavender essential oils on them and toss them in the dryer.

Home Fragrance:  DO NOT USE PLUG INS!!!  Swap them out (yes, even the Bath and Body Works plug ins) for organic candles and/or a diffuser and some high quality essential oils.  It’s hard, I get it.  I love the B&BW plug ins….especially in the summer time.  But really, they are just emitting chemicals we don’t need in our body.  My favorite thing to do in the summer now is to diffuse tangerine and lemon in my diffuser.  You can grab a diffuser on Amazon for 20.00 and they last forever!  There are several Etsy shops that carry natural candles as well, and the bonus is that you are supporting a local business!

Cleaning Products:  I mean, most of these are horrific and I think most of us know the chemicals in them are horrible for us to breathe in.  I’m not an expert, but I was brought up with my parents using white vinegar to clean most things; which made me want to use natural cleaning products for the most part.  In fact, before my OCD diagnosis in 2014, I never even used Lysol or bleach products, because I was scared of Brayden breathing them in.  Since then, I’ll admit, I’ve used Lysol more than I should and bleach bathroom cleaning products more than I care to own up to.  But, little by little, I’m going back to my old ways of using natural products when I can.  I mean, life happens and people get sick, so I don’t think it’s bad to have a can of Lysol or strong cleaning products on hand for that situation.  But, for the regular routine, I’m switching to more naturally derived products.  My favorites are Honest Co surface cleaner and Seventh Generation bathroom cleaner, along with good ol vinegar.

Outside:  Please don’t use Round Up or like products to kill weeds and “treat” your lawn.  The end.

 

Foods:

Meats:  Limit red meat.  No, I did NOT say exclude it.  Just limit it.

Also, beef should be organic, pasture raised, not just grass fed.  Grass fed can actually mean a plethora of things.  Google it.

Turkey and chicken should be organic and free range, cage free.  Local is even better if you have access to it, but just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s not pumped full of antibiotics, so make sure it’s all the things listed above as well.

PS–just as a side note for ya…organic bison is actually really really good.  Keep it in mind when shopping next time for your red meat fix.

Dairy:  Keep it organic.  Local organic if possible.  Yes, milk delivery still exists in some places.  It’s really important to keep meats and dairy organic because of all the growth hormones, grains and antibiotics that are fed and injected into animals.  I know so many farmers and have picked their brains (would you expect anything less?) and they swear up and down the reasons for doing what they do (as far as raising beef and chickens), but I know there’s a cleaner way.  I mean, most of us have seen it and know it IS possible.  Is it traditional?  No.  Is it possible?  YES!  All I can suggest is to keep asking around.  I think if you are local, you can order from Tyner Pond in the Fortville/McCordsville area and they deliver for free!

Tyner Pond info

Fruits and Veggies:  My thought on these are to make sure to buy organic if it’s grown in the ground.  Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, root veggies etc.  I personally do not buy potatoes of any kind at our house…which is totally a personal choice.  Starchy carbs…not a fan.  But, that’s for another day and another post.  Also, I like to buy organic for all of our berries, lettuces, and apples.  Oranges, bananas, peaches, lemons, limes, pineapple, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini and avocados I usually buy non organic.  I mean, I probably should be buying organic peaches, but I don’t buy them often and when I do, it’s usually at a local orchard, so I just wash them with a natural fruit and veggie cleaner really good before I peel them and eat them.  As far as canned fruits and veggies go, I buy organic because of the coating on the insides of the cans.  I just always have, and always will.  As far as frozen fruits and veggies…I usually just buy organic green beans, corn, spinach, and berries.  I dont really buy a ton of frozen fruit and veggies only occasionally since I really prefer fresh.

 

Beauty/Hygiene Products: 

If you use nothing else organic on your body, USE ORGANIC DEODORANT!!!!!  Especially if you are a woman.  Think about it.  It’s literally right next to your boob.  With breast cancer as popular as it is in this world today, why would you not use something as natural and organic next to that area of your body, knowing it soaks into your skin/bloodstream.  My favorite brand (and I’ve tried about 5 kinds) is called Native.  I can work out, I can be outside all day….I can do all the things with it on.  I love it.

We also have always and will always use organic body wash/shampoo/conditioner.  I use Honest Company body wash/shampoo for the kids.  Yes, even my almost 11 year old uses lavender or orange vanilla body wash/shampoo, because, well, those are basically the only scents they have right now haha.  If Honest is not available, I will pick up Burt Bees.  I just have never, ever even thought about buying the boys something that’s not naturally derived.  I also use the Honest Co lavender body wash myself.  When it comes to shampoo and conditioner, I will use paraben and sulfate free brands.  Not organic, but much better than “the usual”.  Some of my favorites have been Living Proof and certain types of Biolage.  I also use some Alterna Caviar products as well.  I’ve been eyeing a new brand called Navy that I may try out soon, since their finishing spray looks like a life changer!

honest co products

When it comes to sunscreen, I will use 2 brands.  I use Rodan & Fields on myself because it does not contain the ingredient oxybenzone, which is very harmful because it’s a hormone interrupter, or vitamin A (while good for skincare, very bad for sunscreen).  While not a “natural” product, R&F sunscreen proves year after year to provide excellent coverage and protection.  The kids use Kiss My Face natural sunscreen.  It may seem strange, but there are some REALLY bad chemicals in sunscreen.  Not just bad for us, but actually bad for the ocean and little critters in the ocean.  I say no thanks to putting anything on my body that could not only harm me, but also the fish swimming around me in the ocean.  How crazy is that?  Just remember, oxybenzone.  Stay away from it.

Skincare.  I know what you’re thinking…how can you publish a post on using natural and organic items and sell a non-natural skincare line as a side hustle.  Welp kids, because it’s really super simple, Rodan & Fields Unblemish is THE ONLY PRODUCT that has worked for my acne and cleared my skin up and I’m forever grateful to those 2 superior Dermatologists that created the entire Rodan & Fields product line (there’s actually 4 main types of regimens and several other types of amazing products, I just use the acne regimen called Unblemish, for those who aren’t familiar).  Here’s the thing, I’ve looked at the ingredients in Unblemish and several other R&F products I use.  The Unblemish does not contain parabens or some of the other harmful products out there that are commonly found in most brands on store shelves.  R&F also does NOT test on animals and is considered safe by dermatologists in the USA, Canada and Australia where we have expanded our line thus far.  (PS…we are expanding to another country very soon…lips are sealed right now though).  Also, as a side note, this will probably come as no surprise, but other countries are a lot more strict on the products they use than the US…unfortunately.

The bottom line is this….while I do not owe anyone an explanation for this, I choose to explain, because I want people to know it’s very important to do your own research.  I look at it like I had spent so much time and money on natural and organic lines that didn’t work on my acne or skin tone at all.  So if I use a brand of skincare that works, and yet doesn’t contain a lot of the harmful chemicals listed out there, I’m winning; whether it says natural or organic on the label or not.  And also, have you read all of the above that I am doing, and am using organic for?  As for the kids, they don’t use a separate skincare line yet.  The Honest Co body wash/shampoo works great for their little faces right now.

Makeup: I’m a big Tarte Cosmetics user.  I love their eye shadow so much, their eyeliner and Shape Tape are also a few faves.  I think Tarte may be a cleaner option, though not 100% natural by any means.  I actually want to try some eye shadow palettes from Beauty Counter though, as I think they seem pretty clean.  I think cosmetics are kind of hit and miss.  Some of the products in a line can be “safer” than others.  Again, I think it’s important to do your own research.  Don’t be fooled by words like “bare” and “clay” and “naturals” or “minerals”.  While these are all words we may associate with nature and association with nature may be “clean” and “natural”, it’s just simply not true.  Watch out for ingredients like talc.  Talc used to be very popular back in the day, but it’s very dangerous to our body.  PS, don’t use baby powder that lists talc as an ingredient either.  I think it comes down to what you feel comfortable with using because there will be probably more bad than good when it comes to cosmetics.

 

Misc Items: 

Sheets contain high levels of formaldehyde….did ya know that?  So I try to shop for organic bedding as much as possible.  Also, think about next time you have to spray for bugs outside.  I mean, I feel ya sis, I don’t want a spider infestation or bees swarming me when I walk outside either, but just do some research and see if there’s a “cleaner” way to get rid of them.

 

There ya go, friends.  Those are the main items I choose to swap for (hopefully) a cleaner, healthier lifestyle for our family.

I’m no chemist.  I can’t tell you why harmful ingredients are harmful and so common with certainty.  But, I can tell you what I’ve researched and what I’ve learned along the way; and I can also say with some certainty that no one is going to be perfect and sometimes you just have to do the best you can.  You notice that I used the word gradual in the title of this post, and there’s a reason.  If this all seems overwhelming to you, just try to change 2 things a month.  These are pretty easy changes, but they do take time to incorporate and probably a little more money.  Cheaper than doctor’s visits though! 🙂

I hope you found this helpful!  If you make different swaps, comment and let me know!  I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day, all!

xoxox

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

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Life With OCD in the Winter

Yes, this is similar to this post.  The difference is that this post deals with how winter effects my OCD.  How is that different?  Well, simply put, because more people are sick in the winter.  Since I have contamination OCD, the months of December, January, February and even half of March are brutal for me.

I’m dishing up some honesty today.  I have to say, OCD is harder for me to talk about, because it may seem like I’m not working hard enough or fast enough to work through it.  The problem is that I’ve had it for 6 years and it hit hard and fast, like most anxiety disorders.  I didn’t try therapy until 2015 and it was not the best experience.  Maybe it’s because it was my first experience with therapy, ever?  Maybe it was because my therapist and I just didn’t “mesh well”?  I dont know, but it wasn’t a great experience.  During the 9 months I was seeing her, she told me on several occasions I was too fragile to really work on the OCD.  I mean?  What had I been paying her for, for 9 months, once a week?  Then I didn’t try therapy again until this past summer (and PS, my therapist now ROCKS).  So basically, I’ve had to start from scratch, 6 years in.  So, it’s going to be harder to get over and take more time.

Every week my therapist gives me a teeny tiny task to conquer and take on.  I’m pretty competitive, so this works for me.  But when I say teeny tiny task, I legit mean tiny.

Background:  I work full time away from home, our kids are in 4th grade and Pre-K, and both in sports.  I’m an extrovert.  I’m built to be out socializing….THIS has put a damper on all of that, as you can imagine.

Typically the hardest thing for me is not being able to control my environment.  Obviously anxiety stems from not feeling safe or out of control.  Basically, it’s me in a nutshell, just worse in the winter.

This is how contamination OCD feels in the winter:

If someone is sick at work and I find out, I’ll ask a friend what it is, or how long they have been out etc.  Why?  Because that tells me to stay away from the bathroom, depending on what they have.  Asking anything about anyone’s business makes me feel ridiculous, I won’t lie.  But until I know something, my brain won’t shut off, my heart rate just keeps climbing and I start to go into early phases of panic.  We USED to have an amazing cleaning service at our office.  Now, they have cut our cleaning service down to 3 days a week and the service we have now really really, well, it’s not great at all.  This is not so much an issue I look at in the spring and summer, but is more of an issue in the winter.  Our building is of decent size and typically if someone is sick, there’s enough “room” that I still feel like I can have a little control.  We have 2 bathrooms.  For about 20 people.  Also, we have training in our building that is held several times a month, which brings in another 10-25 people that I feel like I have to worry about, since people tend to come to training sick because they feel like they can’t miss it.

What’s been happening the past couple weeks is that when someone gets sick…I tell myself “it’s OK, it’s probably nothing, just Lysol the bathroom and the printers, copiers etc.”  But once I start hearing the rumors about any type of stomach stuff happening, (stomach issues are my BIGGEST trigger) I just stay in my office, working, not drinking hardly anything until I can go home for lunch to avoid using bathrooms at work.  Extreme?  You bet.  I get it and I know what you’re thinking.  I could be at the mall and use a restroom and not think twice about it and who knows who has used that restroom 50 times before me.  Also, I’m sure I’m probably getting dehydrated, as I’m supposed to be drinking half my weight in water because of the anxiety medicine I take.  So what do I do?  I chug water at lunch and I chug water when I get home.  It’s horrible, I know.  But my brain LITERALLY has a giant red flag with flashing red lights that goes up telling me to steer clear of the work bathroom at all costs.  If we are talking bad colds or sinus infections, I’ll go in there with my wipes and not worry.  Stomach issues….nope.  I’ll do whatever it takes to try to avoid (aka control) the situation.

And let me be clear…it’s NOT work (even though regular cleaning would be a little burden lifter), it’s the OCD rearing it’s ugly head, making me think things are all epic catastrophes when the truth of the matter is that it probably would be OK to use the darn restroom.

Another thing that’s hard for me in the winter?  School for the kids.  I love their schools, teachers and friends dearly, but to me it’s one giant petri dish that I don’t generally worry about until the end of November, when I start seeing and hearing moms talking about the stomach bug invading their households.  Then again usually around Christmas it makes another big comeback….then typically there’s a few weeks after Christmas (probably because kids aren’t at school) when everything is calm again, then mid January it rears it’s ugly head until early March.  I learned early on that school is definitely something I cannot control.  The kids HAVE to go.  But, I do get all kinds of panicked when the kiddos come home saying their best friends went home sick or are sick with stomach issues or the actual flu.  My brain:  wash their coats, make them take showers, Lysol their book bag, ask them if they used the same school supplies or ate after each other… Speaking of questions; I also don’t want to ask them too many questions to get their minds worried.  It’s a fine line because I know some people are more prone to anxiety than others and I do NOT want to see our kids get OCD.

It-is-exhausting.  My brain is so physically and mentally exhausted when something like this happens.  Normal logic is that all kids get sick.  It happens.  Mine have been sick this winter, with some random cold-digestive virus that felt like it lasted an eternity for Brayden. I mean, I get that everyone can get, and is allowed to be sick.  What people have to understand is that my brain sends out panic signals to my body when it is someone close to us, because typically when I find out about it, you might as well list it under “categories you can no longer control since they’ve already been exposed.”  :-/.  Most would say “why worry about it now?  If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”  Well, it would be really nice if I could think of things that way, trust me.  Instead I sit and overthink, and text my therapist for validation and text my friends just to get the thoughts out of my brain.  I mean, I’m amazingly fortunate that my friends will listen to me and try to talk me down.  That’s such a blessing.  I’m so thankful for them!!!

In general this time of year I’m just astoundingly aware more than anyone, of what my surroundings consist of.  At the grocery store, I look to see what people in front of me have on the belt….if it’s Gatorade, Sprite, Pedialyte, ginger ale or saltines—I find another lane.  Let’s break this thought process down:  all kids love Gatorade and most of them love Sprite, so why does it bother me?  Brayden drinks Gatorade all the time and it’s OK when I buy it.  But, when someone else does, along with other items like the crackers…I immediately think, stomach virus!  At the gas station, I try to use my hands as little as possible, and use antibacterial wipes afterwords.  At restaurants, I will never drink directly out of a glass.  I have to have a straw.  I also use antibacterial wipes after looking at the menu and I’m aware of everyone sitting close to me (no, not the people I’m dining with, but the table next to us or behind us) .  Are they hacking?  Are they talking about being sick?  Even when I go to my therapist’s office, I always ask her if anyone prior to me had been sick.

Family gatherings and birthday parties in the winter are also really hard for me.  I love my family and our kids’ friends dearly and I always love to see them.  We have some amazing people in our lives.  But my brain doesn’t trust that people will stay home if they are sick, and 99% of the time, it’s never our family or friends having the party, it’s other people that come to the gathering, which obviously I can’t control in any way.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been at a family function or party of some kind in the winter and good ol’ Debbie (not a real person), a mom of a kiddo who is at the party casually just throws out there that little Jenny (again, just another example) was throwing up all night, but she’s sure glad she woke up “better” this morning so she could come to the party.  Newsflash Debbie.  If your kid was throwing up 10 hours ago, they are still contagious, so thank you for bringing her here to spread it to 15 other kids who can go home and keep the gift that keeps giving alive, because we all know that 4 year olds always wash their hands and never put their fingers up their noses or in their mouths.  Or, another favorite is after your kids have been playing with a group for 2 hours, all on the same equipment by the way, one of the parents slides into the conversation and says “ya, Bobby (again, not a real person) was put on TamiFlu 2 days ago…and it made him so much better!  I’m so glad we could come today, we both needed to get out of the house.”  Are you freaking kidding me?  Your kid just tested positive for the actual flu.  Yea, TamiFlu is going to help with symptoms, but for the love of everything good and pure….why is Bobby here at Sky Zone–and also, thanks for being selfish and thinking only of yourself and how you needed to get out.  None of us had anything else going on the next 2 weeks and our schedules are wide open to be home with sick kids.  (Eye roll)  But the one that wins the most awards and literally makes me fall into an immediate panic attack is being at someone’s home for a gathering and after being there for a while, the host says “I really didn’t think we were going to be able to pull Cindy’s (another example) birthday party off, we’ve all had the stomach flu this week.  It went through the entire house and got every one of us and little Cindy just got over it last night.”  What the actual hell.  You invited 40 people to your house and you’ve all been sick for over a week and thought that was OK?  Listen, I completely get that people are really way too busy these days.  When baseball season starts, we will be living out of our cars as much as we are home, so I get it.  It’s gets worse with multiple kids in sports and activities….I get that too.  But don’t contaminate 40 people because you didn’t want to reschedule to the following weekend because your other kid had a tournament of some kind.  It should be common sense, right?  I mean, you make the best out of the situation.  You do something special at home and give your birthday kiddo his/her presents and whatever else you can do to make their night enjoyable, and you promise them a make up date.  If a make up date cant happen for some reason, then take them out for some one on one time and have a bigger party next year.

Does this sound judge-y?  Maybe.  To me, it’s common sense and being considerate to other people.  If our boys dont feel well, I make it a point to text who ever is hosting the event and tell them what’s going on.  Also, if our kids have a fever or have had any stomach issues….they don’t go anywhere.  At all.  Brock and I both work outside the home, so is it a pain when they have to be home….yes.  But ya know what, we took on the responsibility of having kids……soooooooooo….you do what needs to be done.  My parents are close and watch Mason when he’s not in Pre-K, BUT, if the kids are sick, it’s me that has to take off work 90% of the time, because I really don’t want my parents to get whatever it is that they have.

Anyways, I’m going to hop off that soap box…..but now your eyes are opened up (maybe) to how I feel when I’m at these events/places if they fall during flu season.  As bad as I want to be there celebrating…..as bad as I want to be around my friends at the party, this is what runs through my mind.

You guys have NO idea how badly I want to be the mom who just doesn’t care about what might be around the corner and let the kids go do their thing.  Don’t take it wrong though, our kids get to do what they want for the most part, I’m just leery of these types of things during flu season.

So what’s the “cure”?  How do I “get over” this?  Well for starters, with as much as I’ve put up with over the past 6 years, if you say something to me along the lines of “you’ll be fine”, or “just get over it”, I legit may slap you.  Don’t you think if it was that simple, I would have done it by now?  The real answer here is a combination of things.  Like other types of anxiety, the first line of defense (at least for me) is therapy and anxiety medication.  In my experience, having the tools from a therapist has helped the most, along with getting the right types of medicines for my body.  Not all anxiety medicine is created equal, trust me.  I feel like I’ve tried just about everything to get some relief, and the simple and true fact is that it will take a while to control.  Control is the key word here.  As I’ve mentioned before, anxiety happens when you feel like you can’t control your situation, so, if you can learn how to control your thoughts, body functions and feelings in the particular situation, you can control your anxiety and not let it control you.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Nope!  Our brains are the smartest, yet dumbest organ in our bodies.  I’m not a doctor, so that may be an exaggeration haha.  But, as powerful as the brain is, and as much as it controls in our body everyday and as much as we cannot live without it…..you can retrain your thought processes.

It takes A LOT of time and effort to change a thought pattern, but it can be done.  This is why it’s so important to see a therapist.  They basically can give you a toolbox full of tools to help in certain situations.  Whether that tool is mindfulness (a practice of being present that is a lot harder to grasp than most think), counting backwards, rephrasing the thought, meditation, distracting yourself or a plethora of other tools, it’s good to have a plan of when to use what tool and how to practice getting good at the tool of your choice.  This stuff (for lack of a better word) doesn’t just magically come to someone after trying once.  Meditation takes time to learn.  Mindfulness was one of the key tools in helping me through panic disorder this past summer.  I thought “I’ve got this, it’s a piece of cake, I listen to these videos and learn how to do it and once I know what to do, I’ll whip it out when I feel panicked somewhere.”  I can tell you that did NOT happen that way.  It took me TWO MONTHS to learn how to literally put everything in my brain aside and focus on the speaker and what they were trying to teach.  Like anything else, you have to get good at it and yes, it takes time.  I’ve said it 50 bazillion times….how everything takes time.

That being said, that’s where I’m at.  Better than last year, but definitely not out of the woods.  Actively working on retraining my brain.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I would guess I probably have another year of hard work to get through to learn how to really control the OCD thoughts.  I’m good with that.  Really.  As long as my friends and family closest to me know I may ask weird health questions during flu season, without taking offense, we can all get through this together.  And I mean, there may be a time when these panicked thoughts are completely gone and then all of a sudden 2 years from now come back.  In fact, I’ve heard it happens more often than not.  The difference between now and then is that I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned to completely transform/reshape the situation and think about it differently.

It’s important to me to be brutally honest on this blog.  I want people to empathize with the struggle.  I want people to know that even outgoing, social people like myself can be affected, as badly as they do not want to be affected.  As much as they want to be at events with their friends in January having a blast, they are instead thinking that there may be sick people there and be home upset with themselves, for thinking these things and not going.  I want people to know if you are in the same boat, you aren’t alone.  Lastly, I want people to know it’s something you can get a hold of in due time with hard work.  You will always have an ear ready to listen with me.

Friends, be kind to everyone.  I say it all the time.  You never know what they are walking through.

xoxo

Mary

 

Loves Lately

Hello lovelies!

I’m coming to you today from my semi-completed office.  I say semi complete because I probably should put up some kind of curtain or blind so the creepy peeps don’t slooooowly drive by the window anymore when I’m on the treadmill at night.  I literally hate curtains so much (I recently took down the ones in my living room and have been on a search for something that’s decently tolerable…and by that, I mean a valance of some kind that’s coastal without being floral)

hello sprigRE

Anyways, happy spring everyone!  It doesn’t really FEEL like spring in Indiana, but whatevs…at least I know we are over the hump that is stupid winter.  I wanted to share some of my everyday faves with you all!  I’m going to blow right past the fact that I haven’t posted since last June and just try to immediately do better.  I think the reason I suck at keeping up with this is because I want to keep this blog really pretty and let’s face it…to keep it really pretty you need to hire someone that knows what they are doing, to make your blog designs and pages.  Oh and I don’t have a DSLR camera, so that’s also an issue.  But, for now, I’ll work with what I have….

FAVES:

So lately I’ve been using and loving these AWESOME products!!!  These are products I use 3-5 times a week, and some I use every single day.  I wouldn’t steer you wrong…these products give RESULTS you can actually SEE!

Product 1:  Thieves oil by Young Living

thieves-with-lemons-min

I use Thieves every night with some coconut oil on both our boys’ feet.  Supposedly it helps boost immunity and fights off the germs.  With my OCD, Thieves just kind of brings a calm feeling to me, knowing I’m helping to boost my kids’ immunity and ward off any of the bad germs they probably pick up at the petri dish we call school.  Young Living actually carries an entire line of Thieves products now, because of the popularity of this magical oil.  I also use the Thieves spray as well at my office.  Bonus: it smells like cinnamon and everyone compliments the smell of my office.  Where to get it: if you are interested, please email me HERE and I can get you a discount!

Product 2: Urban Decay’s Shadow Box

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I’m so weird about eye shadow!  I love certain brands, and Urban Decay is certainly one of them.  I love this box because it’s not huge and the colors are so fun!  My favorite colors to wear are Baked Cowboy and Smog and I love highlighting with Bordello.  Where to get: Sephora or Ulta.

Product 3: Rodan and Fields Lash Boost

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You know how there are all these products that “claim” to do certain things and never do?  Or, my personal least favorite saying ever “could promote” or “studies show this product COULD”….you get the idea.  So anytime I try something that makes claims to move mountains, I’m a skeptic.  Enter Lash Boost by Rodan and Fields.  Game changer.

I’m not kidding when I say I saw actual results in 5 days.  Typically, they say you will see a big result after the first 4 weeks, then a bigger result at 8 weeks and the max result at 16 weeks.  This magic clear serum that you put on your lash line at bedtime must be laced with Miracle Grow.  I cannot stress it enough…if you ever want to use a product that actually produces REAL RESULTS, go get you some Lash Boost.  Don’t spend the money on lash extensions or continue buying the false lashes to glue in….get Lash Boost.  Where to get it: Product Link or send me an email HERE and I’ll give you my discount!!

Bonus: each tube is a 60 day supply, but my tubes last about 90 days because after the first 4 weeks, I use it every other day. 🙂

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Product 4&5: Rodan and Fields Sunless Tanner + Microdermabraison Paste

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You guys….I’ve tried a loooooooooooot of self tanners.  I’ve tried the cheapest and the most expensive, the organic and the not so organic and just about everything in between.  I fell in love with Rodan and Fields Sunless Tanner ….and as if I didn’t think anything could make it work even better, I started using it with the Rodan and Fields Microdermabraison paste.  They are like the best dynamic duo ever.  The micro paste makes skin so freaking soft, I can’t even explain it!  It seems like in the winter time, everyone is so covered up and I never think to use sunless tanner.  But, now that spring is here, I have been using it 3 times a week and I love it so much!  No streaks, no patches, no “orange” look.  Silky smooth color that melts right into your skin seamlessly.  1 bottle will last you several months and there is even a 60 day empty bottle money back guarantee on all the products sold by Rodan and Fields.  (Applause, ladies!)  Where to buy: Email me HERE and I’ll give you my discount!

Product 6: Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation

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I haven’t ever been a huge foundation wearing kind of girl….and looking back on pictures now, maybe I should have worn it more, but to me, it always felt heavy and gross and most of them that I had used would break me out.  Granted, that was in high school and I went to the Clinique counter and the lady swore she was giving me the oil free foundation.  I’m sure it was a fantastic product for some, but I hated it.  About 2 years ago I started hunting for a foundation that would feel so lightweight that I didn’t even realize I had anything on, plus even out my skin tone.  I found it with Make Up Forever’s HD foundation.  I love it.  It’s sheer, but covers evenly and I only use a dime size portion.  If you go to Sephora, they have a tool now that will help match your skin to the perfect shade of foundation (that’s winning people).  Oh, and this is kind of pricey for makeup, it will run you about $48 for a bottle, BUT know that it will last a long time since you have to use so little product.  Where to buy: Sephora

 

Alright, so there you have it!  Those are my current tried and true favorites!  Please feel free to comment on this post with some of your favorites!!

Happy Spring!!!

 

 

 

What’s In My Bag-go ahead, snoop around

I have to admit, this post is inspired by me finally changing out handbags.  You would think a girl that was so excited to receive her new Kate Spade bag would jump at the chance to start using it.  Not this girl apparently.  It sat in the box on our flex room (otherwise dubbed the “get to it later” room) floor for over 2 weeks before I decided to set aside the time to unpack it and start using it–not because I wasn’t pumped tote it along and show it off, but just for the simple fact that I hate changing out hand bags.

Changing out hand bags, in my opinion, is like getting an oil change.  You have to do it, you have to keep them current, but dread taking the time out of your day to actually get it done.  Don’t even get me started on how much I loathe changing wallets.  I used to be the girl who had a coordinating hand bag for most clothes in my closet.  I would change them out daily and had a wide variety of sizes and types to choose from.  But then life happened.  Now….I buy the biggest hand bag I can find and throw everything I “may need” into it.  It’s like my security blanket.  Knowing I could most likely survive for quite some time on a deserted island with just the contents of my hand bag makes me feel happy.  There’s a chance I may need to talk to someone about this….

 

So let’s get to this, shall we?  Oh and just as a disclaimer, you should know that this is not everything I actually carry, these items listed below are what I consider the absolute essentials.  Let’s not forget about the items I didn’t picture here though, such as band-aids, hand sanitizer, Zicam, powder sponges, tweezers, random pacifiers, small baby toys and 3 small My Little Ponies that Brayden gave me for my birthday this past year.

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1.)  Oh, isn’t she lovely.  When Kate Spade has a sale, you take advantage.  She’s my new bestie.  I’m kind of a bag snob.  Since I carry them for so long, I buy good name brands.  You really do get what you pay for when it comes to hand bags and shoes.  Remember this.  (Like you didn’t already know!)

2.)  My Erin Condren planner.  I admit, when I first received this, I took it everywhere with me and used it non stop.  Then I went a month or two without it.  Now I’m forcing myself to keep it current because apparently “to do lists” need to come in the form of iPhone reminders, post it notes AND this planner.  My brain just can’t hold as much as it did back when I actually got 8 hours of sleep a night.

3.)  Check books!  Yes, I still write checks for certain things.  But never fear, I’m not “that girl” that holds the line up at Target for 70 ba-zillion minutes waiting for a check to go through the noisy scanner/printer contraption.

4.)  Extra Strength Midol and Ibuprofen.   I’m a girl.  You do the math.  In all honesty though, I get terrible migraines a few times a month and the midol is the only thing that even remotely alleviates the pain.

5.)  My trusty wallet!  I bought this leather Coach wallet last winter and I love it.  On top of holding so many things, it zips!  I thought I would hate a wallet that zipped originally, but now I don’t think I will ever own another wallet that doesn’t zip!

6.)  Thirty One coupon clutch, with embroidered initials—obviously. As a Thirty One consultant I had to get one of these when they first came out!

7.). MAC powder. I think this is just a girl staple. Another bonus is that it lasts forever!

8.). Compact mirror by Thirty One. They currently don’t offer these anymore but I can’t really figure out why bc who doesn’t need a cute compact? Love it!

9.) Orbit spearmint gum. Normally I chew aspartame free gum called Pur, but I ran out and I can only get it certain places. Anyways this is always my fav ‘go to’ gum if I can’t find the Pur brand.

10.) Loreal Voluminous False Lashes. I love this mascara so much! It actually does make my lashes look longer, and let’s be honest girls–isn’t that everyone’s dream?

11.). Stila lip gloss in guava and Bare Minerals lip gloss in layer cake. Two of my fav brands of lipgloss!

12.) Coach wristlet for my 600 reward cards. Every store has one now and it’s getting a little out of control. Oh but hey, if you offer one–I’m still gonna sign up—mmmk?

13.). Erin Condren pouch and a sample of her Island Fleur body butter. I am OBSESSED with this body butter and once this sample is gone, you better believe I’ll be ordering the full size bottle! Gardenia has to be one of my favorite smells in the world and that’s the main scent used in this lotion. And this adorable pouch came as a gift with my planner-so now I use it to keep lipgloss in.

I hope you enjoyed!! Have a wonderful day, all!

Xoxo

Things Having Kids Has Taught Me

* That the definition of “me time” is completely different than it used to be.

Gone are the days where Brock and I would just go out somewhere for a beer or actually go to a restaurant for a meal during the week.  Also much harder to accomplish- making a full meal with more than 10 ingredients  with sides and a dessert.  Reading a book in 2 days may not happen again for a few years; more like 2 months and that’s pushing it.  Going to the gym at any time of the night, meeting our friends who don’t have kids yet for a night out at the drop of a hat and actually having plenty extra funds every week for shopping trips to my fav stores are all things that have taken a backseat.

But you know what?  When Brock and I are 40 and sad because our boys are living their own lives, I know I will wish more than anything to have these crazy no “me time” days every day again.  Family time trumps “me time”–every time.  Memories are priceless!

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*That you will never have an organized house again.

I’m so type A and I dream of the day that I come home and sort out the mail into coupons/bills to pay/save and file containers and cook in my uncluttered kitchen with countertops that are free of paperwork and appliances.  Afterwards I would go upstairs to a room with a bed that has been made (throw pillows and all!) and a floor clean of scattered clothes.  The reality is our house is clean-but it’s normal for it to carry some load of clutter when you have kids, especially more than 1 kiddo, as I have recently learned!  I’m definitely not one to throw my hands up and say “F it!”  Part of me says “do the best you can” and the other part says “you will have the most organized house ever–when the boys are in college.”  Ha!

I feel like you should learn to be happy with a good in-between.  We are teaching Brayden to do simple things around the house.  For example, he is learning to pick up his toys in the evening, and I always stress to him that it’s important to put one toy up before getting out another.  He also knows to hang up his jacket, let the dogs out and put his dirty clothes in the laundry room.  Baby steps, I know-but I’m so very appreciative that he likes to help his momma!  He loves to help clean his play room as long as Brock or I help him and he was completely pumped about the chore chart we keep on the front of the fridge for him.

I want our boys to be helpful and mindful of why we are asking them to carry their (small) loads.  I don’t want them to grow up and not know how to clean a room, do dishes or hang up clothes.  But, at the same time I also realize Brayden is only 5 and he should get to be a kid, which is why we are only asking very simple things of him and try to make it fun along the way.

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Brayden trains with Gavin

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* That the more pets, the merrier sounds great until you start having kiddos.

Brock and I are so very guilty of this!  I seriously wish we could tell our pre-kids self that 2 animals should have been our limit, or even smarter–1!  We have boxers and if any of you are boxer owners then you know that these doggies never really “calm down” and they will act like a puppies until the end.  I personally love this characteristic about them!  However, throw some babies into the mix and things can get overwhelming fast!  Until recently, we had 3 boxers and to be honest, some days were just total chaos when Brock and I were adjusting to taking care of 1 baby, then again when we had 2.  I’m a firm believer in taking care of every responsibility you have and I don’t think you should ever take on an animal or a child without being able to pay for their care.  $75.00 per month for heartworm preventative and $60.00 per month in food is extremely manageable until you add in an extra $50 per week in formula costs and $60 per month (approximately) for diapers.  And you can’t forget all the other daily expenses like clothes, babysitting/childcare, baby gear, a major rise in health insurance costs (going from husband and wife to family plans) and several other items you have to start purchasing.  Suddenly the $200 a month in pet expenses seems a little steep.  Still, the pets are still there and depending on you, as their owner, to provide them with the best of environments and living the lifestyle they were used to living before kids.  Some days I seriously found myself saying to Brock that I wished I had 1 five pound dog that didn’t ever shed who’s only expenses per month included a $10 bag of food, a $20 flea/heartworm pill and a grooming session every other month.

Our boxers are awesome and I wish like crazy my Stella was still with us.  Our dogs love us and love our kids more than I can even explain.  My point is this:  if you plan to ever have kids one day, think about all the possible what if’s in your future before you bring a dog(s) into your family.

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(Miss you, Stella Marie!!)

* That $100 doesn’t get you anywhere these days.

This can apply to married peeps with or without kids. No explanation required! Can I get an amen!?

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*That I am capable of so much more than I ever thought.

Parenthood brings out a side of me that makes me a stronger person.  I no longer come first, my family comes first.  Whatever they need, whatever helps them thrive, whatever makes them smile; that’s what I want to give them.  I also realize that every day I’m teaching our kids.  Teaching them right from wrong, what’s good for them, how to be kind and considerate, how to have manners and even how to pray.  It’s true what they say, kids are little sponges and they are listening even when you think they aren’t.  I love watching Brayden and Mason learn by exploring the world around them.  I love watching Brayden take Mason under his wing and protect him.  It comes so natural and makes Brock and I so proud.  There is a strength that comes with knowing you are behind all of these wonderful and amazing things.  I never knew I was capable of teaching, mentoring, helping and guiding until I became a parent.  It’s pretty freaking awesome and I’m so very happy with our boys!

boys with c & cs gifts

*That you never know what this kind of happy is until you have it.

Five fingers, five toes, that toothless grin, first smiles, the chubby belly, the curls, the rolls and the perfect little ears.

This is happy, this is love…..

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mason hospital july 13

 

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