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Tummy Tightening Game Plan…

Tummy Tightening Exercise Routine

Some of you caught THIS post.  I talked a little bit about my tummy.  If you missed, let me sum it up.  I’ve had 2 babies and haven’t done one single sit up in more then 6 mos.  I go to the gym 3x a week but now that I’m older, it’s not enough.  My gut is not flabby, it’s just out there.  My theory is that my stomach muscles have not even come close to tightening since baby #2 and what is popping out could be the result of loosey goosey muscles.  There’s fat too but having stretched out muscles makes everything protrude.

Now, I must admit-I have not been watching what I eat.  I am a sugar-aholic and didn’t know how truly bad it had gotten until I spent a day analyzing every thing I ate as well as every urge to eat.  It was like a constant thought to eat something sweet.  Houston, we have a problem….

So, I’ve put a plan into action and I thought I would share it in case any of you might be in the same boat and need some encouragement or even need some ideas on how to get your plan going!

Things I’m doing to lose the bulge.

1. Tracking my food-

I love the app My Fitness Pal.  Firstly, it’s free.  Second, it’s very user friendly and will tell you exactly how many calories you need to stick to in order to lose your weight.  It even tells you at the end of the day how long it will take to meet your goals if you continue to take in the same amount of calories you did that day.  For example, I am supposed to eat around 1500 calories a day in order to drop 10 lbs.  I took in a little over that yesterday (pizza night #notsorry) and it let me know that if I continue to go over, those 10lbs would take 5 weeks to come off.

Tracking truly works.  Even if you hate it you should push yourself to do it for at least a week.  You might be surprised at how many hidden calories you are eating.  You’ll be shocked how much the calories add up every time you finish off your toddler’s nuggets or steal a handful of fish crackers!  Oh, and coffee creamer-ugh!  Plus, you need to know exactly how many calories you can eat to meet your goal and then you need to know exactly how that amount of calories looks and feels.  Trust me on this one-do it, it works.

2. 2 minute abs 2x a day-

Ok, all you fit people out there-don’t laugh at me on this one.  Like I said, I go to the gym 3x a week and do a cardio routine that hits my legs and butt but does nothing for my stomach.  I’m just really not in the mood to do more then that to be honest.  I mean, the last thing I want to do when my kids are in a nap is more exercise.

So, I came up with this plan-I watch tv.  I really like watching TV, again #notsorry.  I probably watch 2-3 different shows a day.  I decided that during each of those shows (well, at least 2 of them), I would do a quick ab routine during the show.  It’s so simple and it fits into my lazy “state of mind”.

Exercise #1 Lay flat while raising your legs to a 90 degree angle and then drop them as low as they can go without losing the engagement in your tummy.  Repeat this motion at least 10x.

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Exercise #2 Lay flat while raising your bottom upwards while legs are at a 90 degree angle.  Repeat at least 10x.

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Exercise #3 Raise your shoulders and head off the ground, placing your hands behind your head for support.  Touch your elbow to the opposite knee and alternate sides for at least 10x.

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Exercise #4 Come up on your elbows and keep your legs together and straight and draw a circle with your feet.  After each circle reverse the direction.

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I’ve only done this 1 time a day since I started so 2-3 times will come soon.  Anything is better then nothing when it comes to building stomach muscles.

You can do whatever ab exercises you want but I felt like these were a good mix to really hit the lower and middle muscles that are so compromised during a pregnancy.  I got my inspiration from THIS you tube video.

3. I’m moving my A.M. smoothie to an afternoon smoothie.

Once the girls are in their naps it’s like mommy gone wild time-On particularly challenging days, eating yummies seems so right once they’re in asleep!  I tend to really get a sugar craving around 2, so moving my smoothie helps fill me up and gives me a bit of sugar that I’m craving.  It at least gets me to dinner without doing something stupid!  I’ve got a few smoothie recipes I’m cooking up so hang in there for that future post!

Also, I replace my smoothie I had in the morning with 24 ounces of lemon water-Find the best lemon essential oil HERE.  You could also use fresh lemons!  It’s a great way to get your digestive system going in the a.m.

If you’re wondering what’s in my smoothie, HERE is that post.

4. Build in a treat at the end of the day. 

I’m all about rewarding myself.  By the end of the day, when I’ve worked hard to keep my calories down, I like to indulge in a couple pieces of chocolate, a small bowl of sherbert or a glass of wine (or 2).  I love Ghiradelli squares because I can limit my indulgence down to 1 or 2 squares.  Plus, I buy dark chocolate because I can resist the urge to gorge better if it’s dark.  They are individually packaged which really helps.  Now, they have high fructose corn syrup and it would be nice to find a healthier chocolate that comes individually wrapped that I like as much as Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt or Dark Chocolate and Raspberry but I just haven’t.  Sherbert has less then 1/2 the fat and calories of ice cream.  Ice cream will kill your tracking and your waist line.  It’s a no-go.  I build in certain nights for wine.  Like, the Bachelor isn’t the same without wine so I know I better budget my calories on Mondays.

My biggest advice is to find a balance.  Don’t go overboard.  Do what you can continue to do for the rest of your life.  Make sure you are creating a doable lifestyle and not a crash diet.  Most of us have plenty of time before warmer weather. (unless you’re reading this from the other side of the world!)   SLOW and STEADY wins the race people!

I’d love some feedback on this.  Am I alone with the tummy bulge most likely due to stretched out muscles?  Share please!!

xx, Jenni

P.S. Have a good laugh at my exercise “videos”!!!  I’m feeling a bit regretful about those but at least you can see exactly what I’m doing!

Rhinestones and Chunky Knits…

I LOVE this outfit for several reasons…  First reason, most of it’s on sale!!  This outfit is so wearable and comfortable.  With a couple of key pieces, this outfit is hip and sharp.

THIS SWEATER is so thick and chunky.  Let me tell you, it was 30 degrees and misting while shooting this outfit and this sweater kept me comfortable!  It lays nicely and is the perfect shade of gray.  Oh and did I mention it’s on sale with an additional 40% off???  And it comes in cream and black as well.

THESE LEGGINGS are amazing.  My absolute go-to when it comes to leggings is this brand.  You really can’t skimp on leggings-the cheap ones will stretch at the knees and end up looking frumpy after a few hours of wear.  That is a seriously bad look!  Don’t be afraid of a faux leather legging-they are just as comfortable and make such a huge statement.  They bring an unexpected texture to any outfit!  Right now they are 33% off!

THIS TUNIC is the same one I wear literally everyday.  It’s only $16 and I love that it’s long enough to wear with leggings.  In fact, I’ve bought 5 in different colors!

THIS RHINESTONE NECKLACE is such a statement piece!  It literally pops off the stripes and takes this outfit from level to ehhh, to yeahhhhh!  It’s also still on sale at only $15.00!

THIS BAG is a great replica of the Celine bag.  It comes in several colors and holds A LOT.  It’s faux leather but it really is a nice quality.

Oh, and a pop of leopard never hurt anyone!

 

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Why You Should Sleep On Silk Pillows…

Skin Care and Silk PillowsHold on to your pants, wait….is it hats or pants??  Anyway, this post is super interesting!  I have known for quite a while about silk pillowcases being better for your skin and hair but I had no idea they were so beneficial!  When you think about how much time you spend a day laying on a pillow, it makes total sense to pay a bit of attention to the quality of your pillow.

Silk pillowcases are an absolute must when you are serious about taking care of your skin.  Every skin issue possible can benefit from silk pillowcases for many reasons.  First off, I had no idea that silk contains amino acids that are commonly found in face creams and hair conditioners.  Also, silk is naturally hypoallergenic and will not absorb your skin’s natural oils.  That makes sense-cotton absorbs where as silk will not only let you keep your beneficial skin oils but it will also add amino acids-WOW!

Benefits of Sleeping on Silk Pillows:

  • Silk contains beneficial amino acids.
  • Silk will not crease your face.
  • Silk is naturally hypoallergenic.
  • Will not draw moisture away from the skin or hair.
  • Helps smooth hair and combat “bed head”.
  • Silk does not collect dust mites like other fabrics, therefore easing allergy symptoms.
  • Silk is mildew resistant.
  • Comfort-Silk does not hold in heat.
  • Silk is incredibly soft.
  • Silk will not tug at your skin like cotton, therefore silk is gentler on skin.

Silk Pillows and Skin CareAs you can see, silk is the way to go.  I’m most excited that silk won’t strip my skin of moisture.  This is so helpful for dry skin sufferers.  Keeping moisture in the skin is a huge anti aging tool.  Not to mention the fact that silk stays cool all night.  I get so hot at night and this has been a huge relief.

I hope you found this bit of information as interesting and exciting as I did!  I’m ordering another set of silk pillowcases so I can spare my skin of cotton from now on!

xx, Jenni

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This Year’s Resolutions…

New Year's Quote

I love making New Year’s resolutions.  I believe that when you clearly map out your intentions and goals, it is so much more likely you will achieve them.  Plus, there’s something to be said about the accountability factor!

2014 was a great year for me.  I would say, it was a year of progress.  My blog took some different twists and turns that I couldn’t be happier with.  My hubs and I have been in counseling for most of 2014 and have made huge strides to the marriage we want and the family we want our girls to have.  We are about to complete a 4 year old dream of adding on to our home, and I no longer feel like something is wrong with me.

Let me explain that last one….  After marrying in 2006, having our first daughter in 2008 and our 2nd daughter in 2011, I was feeling tired, too busy, disinterested in my marriage and experiencing just an overall feeling of blah.  For a long time I was hard on myself, feeling like a had a hormone issue or maybe even a chemical issue.  I started feeling like a bad wife and a disconnected mother.  Something shifted in 2014 though.  It donned on me that getting married and having kids can be a huge adjustment.  Especially having kids.  Lost sleep, screaming babies, and being responsible for a life can take it’s toll.   Sometimes a part of you has to die in order to move forward in a new and growing family.  Sometimes that can take a toll and there can be a period of listless confusion.  In 2014 I let go of thinking something was wrong with me and embraced the beautiful fact that I am part of a family that didn’t exist 6 years ago.  I’ve accepted myself and let go of being perfect and happy everyday, all day.  The fact is, kids come and a control freak like myself loses control.  You can’t plan your day down to a T with kiddos.  But you know what?  That’s Ok.  Everyone has highs and lows and I realized that as long as I am happy with who I am and am working towards or accomplishing happy, well adjusted kids and a husband who feels loved, then life is good.

I don’t know why I just shared that but I’m going to leave it, instead of cutting my ramblings that inevitably happen in every post!  I hope it makes sense to some of you and you can relate.  I really hope if you’re feeling like I was, this will encourage you to marvel over the wonder of having kids and realize it will rock your world and that’s Ok.  The season of feeling lost does pass.

Anyway, on a lighter note I thought I would share a few of my fun resolutions!  These are light hearted and fun and hopefully encourage you to make room for loving on yourself in 2015!

This Year’s Resolutions:

1. Drink more tea.  I spent some time in London growing up and let me tell you, the English are serious about their tea!  I loved the ritual of tea time.  In fact, I even had an electric tea pot in my room and a tea set in order to make myself tea while doing my homework!  My mother would scout the local antique fairs for tea sets and unusual tea pots-Ahhhh, those were the days.  Plus, after 1 cup of coffee I tend to get so jittery but I still feel like sipping on something hot.  I’m going to bring back the magic of drinking tea for myself and plan to discover new and healthy teas as well.  Who knows, I might even collect a few pretty tea pots!IMG_7318

2. Put outfits together in advance.  I started this practice about 6 mos. ago and it has helped me on so many levels.  As I mentioned in THIS post, after having kids I lost my sense of style completely.  I’m talking leggings and a stained sweatshirt 4 out of 7 days a week.  Oh and with newborns, spit up was just another accessory.  Now that my youngest is just barely out of diapers, can feed herself and sleeps through the night, I feel more like me.  I am tired of ducking through the aisles at Target, hoping and praying I don’t run into anyone I know and then inevitably running into everyone I know.  I’m better then this on the inside so my outside needs to reflect that.  Organizing outfits down to the shoes and accessories in advance will allow me to grab and go.  As a mother of young kids, sometimes you just need to be able to get out of the house without using much brain power!

3. Tighten my gut.  Ugh.  So after my 2nd daughter was born my stomach muscles seemed to have hit the point of no return.  You know with the first pregnancy it usually takes a long time to show.  I remember feeling like I looked like I had a beer belly for 5 mos.  With the 2nd, I popped at month 3.  Honestly that was kind of nice but it just recently donned on me that that happens with the 2nd kiddo because your stomach muscles were probably still loose and compromised from the first pregnancy.  So now, thanks to getting on the mother of all elliptical machines 3x a week, I have toned legs and a decent backside but my gut enters a room about a minute before the rest of me does.  You can literally see my loose muscles.  I can’t even suck in because I don’t have control of those muscles!   So, one thing I really want to accomplish is tightening up those tummy muscles again.  I’m not too sure how I’m going to do it so if you have any suggestions, SPILL!

4. Enhance my skin care routine.  I’m such a “less is more” kind of person which works well in a lot of areas but when it comes to my skin, there could be a little more.  That might be hard to believe since I’m pretty much writing a beauty blog these days!  What my routine lacks is a weekly mask, more steaming, more exfoliation and a nightly skin treatment or serum.  When I was oil cleansing, I really enjoyed that ritual.  I felt like I was nurturing myself.  Plus my skin felt great afterwards.  I’ve moved on from that cleansing method for now but I would like to really get grounded into a beneficial routine for my skin on a nightly basis.

5. Take advantage of the beauty of Instagram.  Yeah, you heard me right.  I think Instagram is genius when used the right way.  Lots of selfie obsessed people have taken it over but the theory behind Instagram is so right on.  It’s point is to encourage people to live in the moment.  AH, so hard for me.  Finding beauty in everyday life and capturing it on film is so helpful to really appreciating your world while living in the moment.  I get this right about 2% of the time.  As you can see from above, I share outfits and use instagram to tell people of a new post but I would like to start sharing my “instant” moments of happy more consistently in 2015!  Check out THIS series of posts for my attempt at more living in life’s beautiful moments.

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I would love to know some of your goals for 2015 if you’d like to share!

I appreciate all of you who follow my blog so much.  It’s truly such a blessing and honor to have a voice and I never want to take that for granted!  I hope you all are blessed in 2015 and can’t wait to dig in!

xx, Jenni

The Empties…My Most Used Products of 2014

Best Beauty Products

2014 was a year of experimenting with a ton of products.  I straddled the fence between making my own products and buying natural products.  I must admit-with the skin issues I experience, I reached the end of what my DIY skin care could do.  That being said, many people have fabulous luck and see long lasting results from simplifying there beauty routine and making their own skin care.

If you’ve followed me a while, you know I battle with several skin issues that change depending on the season.  I am crazy dry and flaky in the winter but during every month of the year I deal with blackheads and bumpy texture.  My combination skin isn’t particularly out of the ordinary but it is very hard to find the right products that will purge clogs and control bacteria while not stripping the skin or oils that keep the skin supple and soft.

My go-to product lines are Eminence and Juice Beauty.  I love that they are organic and natural.  They don’t contain parabens, sulfates, propylene glycol etc., and they utilize natural ingredients to get results rather then man-made ingredients.  I’ve also discovered a few lines like Pacifica, Tarte Cosmetics and Yes to…..

My Favorites….

Tarte Amazonian Clay Gifted Mascara- It has been really hard making the switch to a natural mascara because I have used CoverGirl for literally decades.  Discovering Tarte has totally changed my makeup routine.  This mascara is amazing.   I’ve tried all of Tarte’s mascaras and love all of them, but this one is my fave.  I just love how easy it goes on.  It’s smooth, not clumpy and the brush is comfortable.  I can get a dramatic look by layering or just an everyday look with one coat.  It doesn’t smudge and lasts all day.  I emptied my first tube and ended up trying out other mascaras but now I’m ready to buy my next tube of Gifted and stick with it!

Juice Beauty Apple Peel- I have texture issues with my skin-blackheads and unidentified bumps all the time.  When I was using this exfoliating treatment, the texture of my skin started smoothing out immediately.  While it’s a peel, the stinging was not bad.  I also felt like I saw a decrease in my fine lines and wrinkles, not to mention sun damage.  It’s a go if you are looking for an anti aging treatment and/or needing to clear problem areas.  Exfoliation is an absolute must for any skin type, but if you need results in the battle against aging, this product is for you.  I definitely will be doing a whole post on this exfoliating treatment!

Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser- This cleanser is awesome.  I really felt like my skin gets a thorough cleanse.  This is a great cleanser to use in the a.m. while oil cleansing in the p.m.  It isn’t harsh, I didn’t feel super dry after and my skin just felt happy.  With so many blemish clearing cleansers, you end up over dried, sensitive and inflamed.  It was the exact opposite with this cleanser.

Eminence Stone Crop Serum- I wrote a whole post on this serum!!  Go HERE for that.  I have a few sun damage spots and really needed to fade them.  I saw results almost overnight.  I really should have continued to use this serum past my first bottle because my spots came back.  Before summer gets here, I will buy this serum again-I also want to try it on the sun spots on my hands!  The key is to use this serum in conjunction with an SPF and NEVER expose skin to the sun!  Also, this serum is incredible for hydrating the skin.  It’s a luxurious addition to a skin care routine.

Pacifica Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes- I love taking these wipes to the gym.  If I can’t wash my face immediately afterwards, these really come in handy.  I also tend to use these when I’ve had a day that I didn’t wear makeup and feel a bit lazy in the evening.  Hey, it’s better then nothing!!

Yes to Cucumbers Makeup Remover Pads- I love the smell of these!!  They thoroughly take off eye makeup quickly.   They do slightly burn if you open your eyes amidst cleansing.  Other than that, I love these pads!

Eminence Willow Bark Clear Skin Serum- During break out times i.e. P.M.S.,  I like to add this to my routine.  It doesn’t dry your skin out at all.  I think it calms down what’s going on.  It smells great and is super light.  You can wear it under a moisturizer and makeup!

Tarte BB Treatment 12 hour Primer with SPF 30- Oh my-I love this product so much.  In fact, I love it so much, I use it as a foundation.  It is so smooth, it has great coverage, it lasts and has an SPF!  It leaves the skin looking really natural and even.  It actually contains diamond dust to help give the skin a bright appearance.  Not only does it camouflage skin imperfections, it helps minimize the appearance of wrinkles and pores with active skin care ingredients.

Humphrey’s Witch Hazel-Ok, in all honesty, I used the doo wop out of this and then realized it contained alcohol.  Oops.  I always suggest you all use Thayer’s Witch Hazel because it is alcohol free.  Plus, Thayer’s has loads of options like rose, lemon and cucumber.  With Humphrey’s I added lavender essential oil and used it under my moisturizer to help balance my pH and tighten pores.  I really love witch hazel and I love that it’s so affordable!!

All of these products I used down to the very last drop!

My Favorite Beauty Products

Honorable Mentions…

Juice Beauty Oil Free Moisturizer w/ SPF 30- I really love how this moisturizer feels on my skin.  For being oil free, it really makes your skin so soft.  I love the SPF and it works really well under makeup.  I probably will purchase it again in the summer months.  The only reason it didn’t make my list is because it is thick and hard to spread on the skin.  It goes on white and pasty.  It does soak in very quickly and so the texture and whiteness is not a long term problem at all.

Eminence Probiotic Cleanser-Honestly, I think I loved this as much as the Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser-I just didn’t have my empty bottle!  Ha!  They both worked very well and calmed angry/acneic skin.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 hour Blush-I absolutely love this blush.  It is so pretty and looks flawless.  I have nothing bad to say about it.  I’ve tried several colors.  All of them look so feminine and despite my heavy hand, I rarely go over-board.  So yeah, it should probably be in the favorites list!!

Pacifica Body Butter-I love this moisturizer.  It’s an absolute must during the colder months and this product really helps soothe dry skin.  Plus, for a natural moisturizer, it is so affordable and you can usually find Pacifica at Target or Ulta!  The only downside is that the smells are very strong and while the scents come from a natural source, I question how natural these lotions really are.

So there you have it, my favorites list for 2014!  If you have any questions about the products listed above or have products you think I should try, leave your comments below!!

xx, Jenni

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