Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Things: Review of Popsugar Must Have Box and a Special Offer!!!

The sweeties over at POPSUGAR were gracious enough to send me one of their complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have boxes.* It was full of awesome goodies and I couldn't wait to tell you guys about :)
I apologize in advance-I snapped these photos with my iPhone because I was just too excited to wait haha! 

July's box is full of must haves for summer!


There really was a little bit of everything in this box and it was cool to see a fitness product included! I never really thought about jumping rope for cardio, but once I received this I realized that it would be such an awesome addition to my training if I'm not feeling like going to the gym. It was really light weight and the grip was nice. I think I scared the crap out of my cat Sawyer trying it out, so who knows how often I will actually be able to use it haha ;) 

Okay so I was JUST about to purchase some chevron straws off Amazon, and I'm so glad I didn't! These straws are adorable as decor and they are 100% recyclable so that is a win win!
I have yet to try Sun Bum products, but from what I read online-Sun Bum predominately sells sunscreen and they are committed to not testing on animals. Their products are vegan, gluten-free, paraben free and water resistant. I checked the website Skin Deep to see how they rank in terms of toxicity, but they didn't have these specific products listed. However, taking from what I have read  online-I'm intrigued!
I love a good summer glow, but I'm glad I will have these products to keep me safe and moisturized in the sun!


This was by far my favorite product in the box, and of course it is edible lol! There is a reason they call these coconut chips "Dang"-they are dang delicious! I cannot believe how amazing simple toasted coconut chips were! Even better-they have absolutely no GMOs and they are 100% vegan! I sprinkled some on my smoothie bowl this morning and it was divine. I highly recommend having these in your pantry or maybe with you everywhere you go ;)



I didn't snap an individual pictures of the hat, the salad servers, or the Revlon mascara (oops!) they are however included in the first photo. I loved the chevron French Bull salad servers they are really cute and easy to use. I used them this week for one of our dinner salads and I love how they bring color and uniqueness to my kitchen!

As for the mascara, I don't frequently use Revlon since a lot of their products include toxic chemicals (I recommend searching all of your beauty products on the Skin Deep database.) The mascara was also in black and I use dark brown, however I was happy to find that they sent me a full size sample!

The cute beach hat is from Miachael Stars. I had not heard of this brand before receiving the box, but I loved the hat! Hats really add not only protection on the beach, but effortless style-which is always my goal :)

Now for the fun part!

If you would like receive a Must Have Box here is what you do :)
From there Enter Code: JULY14SELECT (this code was created just for POPSUGAR Select bloggers!
This will save you $10 on a 3-month subscription!   
But hurry! This offer ends 7/31 :) 


*POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it. My reputation and principles are very important to me and I would never recommend a product that I did not support or like.

Happy Friday! I have a much needed massage today at the chiropractor :)
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New Running Shoes and Other Things


Are we seriously half way through July??? These summer days are flying by!

Running has taken over our lives and it is AMAZING! I missed it so much, and while I have had some hip and back pain, this time I'm a lot wiser. I have been rolling out, stretching, and icing my back. 

We were also in need of some new shoes. Matt and I have been saving for new shoes and on Friday we skipped our little happy butts down to Fitniche (our local running store) and purchased brand spankin new Brooks! They were expensive, but long awaited for, and worth every penny. 



Matt had been running in Nike Free Runs, and was experiencing a lot of knee pain.  Since I've been through my share of running injuries from improper footwear, I knew it was important to invest in good shoes. My Mizunos were on their last leg anyway and thank God we bought a pair for Matt. He has high arches, and apparently small bones in the front of his feet, making him susceptible for pinched nerves. He was running in minimalist shoes and his feet need extra stability! Eeeeek thank God we made the swap when we did :) 

We spent Saturday morning running the best running spot in town and it was amazing. It was beautiful, kinda cool out, and I am convinced that Brooks are the best running shoes for me. It felt like running on a cloud. I have been going to the Chiropractor for adjustments because my hip likes to get out of alignment and the adjustments have helped TREMENDOUSLY. I also have a massage this Friday that is covered by my insurance (YAY!) 

As for food, it has obviously consisted of tons of complex carbs. An abundance of sweet potatoes, lean protein, and bananas are usually on our grocery list. We knew that carbs were going to have to be increased since we're running and I welcomed that with both arms! My sweet potato hash and eggs are back by demand and I'm really loving where this is taking us. Matt has been taking it easy with his IT band, which is no biggie since we're waaaayyy ahead of our training schedule. 
We have both been lifting about the same amount as before, but with less sets, and I'm being very cautious working legs-focusing on quad strengtheners and laying off anything too stressful for my hips and calves.

In other news, I had a scare last week. I was at the doctor and unbeknownst to me, my blood pressure will spike when I'm nervous. My BP was 139/99!!!!! However, two days before at the chiropractor it was 128/88 still high but I also had Starbucks an hour before.

It freaked the crap out of me.

As soon as I was home, I was googling up a storm (which just scared me even more). How could this happen to me? I work out 6 days a week?!?! I don't remember the last time I had poor fatty meat? I felt so discouraged and scared out of my mind.

I spoke with some family members and while I do have a family history of high BP, my mom said her BP will spike anytime she is nervous. Even so, I've been focusing more and more on cardio, veggies, and cutting red meat more out of my diet and replacing it with extra lean turkey and mostly seafood. Most of all, I have been subbing some coffee with green tea, and focusing on decreasing stress. I'm a high strung person, so I REALLY need to focus on deep breathing. I also ordered a little bottle of lavender oil. Not just for me, but lavender may help Matt when he gets one of his head aches :)
Other than that, I don't think it is an issue. The doctor was not concerned and told me that it is common for people to get "white coat hypertension." I tend to over think, but I have to just stay calm, keep an eye on it. 

Also, I mentioned before that we were using the envelope system and becoming really strict on our budget. While it is changing our lives positively, It has been extremely hard work. Not the saving, or budgeting, but the mere thought of thinking about it all the time. I hate thinking about money, and sometimes, while I've never been a big spender, I tend to emotionally buy things on a whim. Mostly small stuff, but that is the stuff that adds up. I've been able to really re-evaluate what is important and has given me a lot of perspective. Experience is so much more valuable than "things." Saving for Paris means more to me than clothes, and though my purse's zipper is broken and a lot of my friends own Michael Kors purses, and go shopping all the time on credit cards, I just don't want those things. No judgement here, but I have really begun to realize what is important to me. I want to be financially disciplined. I grew up poor, and we scraped by pay check to pay check. That experience helped me a lot and made me a hard worker, but I don't want that for my future and I don't want my kids to think about scraping by either. I want to live by my principles and be a good steward of my money. Through saving we will be prepared. We will not be prepared for everything, but we will have a cushion for the unexpected.

Matt and I open our budget binder and excel sheet every day. We spend on paper, before we actually spend our money. We're not following a specific plan but we're taking control of our money and success and not letting it take control of us, and we're finding what works best for us. There is a big difference between want and need, and I don't need to get my nails done every two weeks. I can do them myself, and it is just as relaxing while doing it with a cup of tea. I don't need to go back to Europe but it is something we really want to do together before starting a family, so we are saving for it. A trip to Europe will be more valuable to me than a new shirt that I probably will forget about in a year.
I would rather save and spend money on running shoes for my health, then on going out to eat multiples times a week. We're not perfect and we are still learning about ways to improve, but one thing is for sure: Our marriage has really benefited from working together towards our financial goals. We are really a team now, and communication is flowing positively. 

As of this week, we are completely free of credit card debt and it feels fantastic :)

We were not in tons to begin with but we were not paying it off every month like we should have been and with TONS of hard work and sacrifice and change-we paid debt off in 2 months. We still have my student loan debt but we will work on that with time. No more high interest debt :) 
It feels good, and we accomplished it together. We can truly do anything as a team <3 

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

I did it. I signed up for my first half marathon.


Yep, we actually signed up and paid to run 13.1 miles, kind of crazy eh? "We" being my husband and I! I'm so nervous excited to finally do this! My whole life I wanted to be one of those people that ran a long race like a half or full marathon, and the one race I always dreamed of racing was the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World. A race that celebrates girls and women, and lets us dress up and run for a cause and through Cinderella's Castle! 

However, as a kid and teenager with horrible asthma it was a far off dream. When I was in college I finally grew out of my asthma,  and I was finally able to run. I fell in love; running and me became instant friends. I fell a little too in love though, and within 6 months I packed on too much mileage and injured my hip-which still bothers me from time to time.

Since then I was afraid to get back into it fully, but I'm not afraid anymore.

The decision to sign up was made while I was on vacation last week. I realized that I was living this healthy life without a community of other people who was like me, and I realized I needed a challenge or a goal to work towards and I needed to start training for something. When I told Matt he just said "I'm in" which meant not only do I get to run my dream race, I get to run it with my best friend and husband. He honestly the best guy, he knew how much it meant to me, and he wanted to be beside me throughout the process <3

We have already started the Jeff Galloway method and although the race is not until February 2015, we had to sign up yesterday (annual pass holders get early registration) and registration for Disney races fill up FAST. We started out this week slowly so I could get my body back up to speed for running and my hip has thanked me. I'm having a little bit of problems with my IT band and my low back so I'm heading to the chiropractor tomorrow for an adjustment. I found out a year a two ago that my hips naturally become misaligned, so more yoga and hip strengthening is in my future! Taking it slow is really hard for me, because I just want to go full speed ahead, but doing that would inevitably cause me to injure myself-which would mean no tutu or half marathon!

I'm scared, and although tons of runners do these races all the time-it is a first for me, and I am really excited about pulling that tutu over my running gear and giving it my all. I think it will also be a great bonding experience for me and Matt. I also know a couple of friends who are running it, and my mom has already told me she is going to make signs to cheer me on :)

We signed up for a 5k here in the area, and we will probably sign up for a 10k for the fall so we can provide proof of time in order to not be in the last corral for the race. We might be crazy, and I already have jitters, but with dedication and hard work we will easily demolish this goal-together :)

I'm excited for lots of "runner's high" and, of course, I'm making Matt match the Prince of whatever Princess I choose so time for a Pinterest binge ;)

It was also my little Nora's 2nd birthday yesterday :) 

Happy Birthday my little mini panther ;)

Any tips for a first time half-marathoner?


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Friday, June 27, 2014

Discovery Cove!

I am officially on vacation!!!!!! I have now been at my job  for 3 months and this is my first week off since Christmas! Last weekend Matt, myself, my Mom and Step Dad went to Discovery Cove and SWAM WITH DOLPHINS! I have always wanted to swim with dolphins, and for the first time I was able to do it! And with our credit card miles we were able to purchase our tickets and a pass for FREE! I'm not the most avid supporter of captivity, but this was an opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do, and I was extremely happy with the care the dolphins appeared to have. It was such an amazing experience, and my appreciation for these amazing animals deepened even more. 

This is the face of pure joy lol.



The dolphin we encountered was a sweet girl named Madison! She was so friendly and intelligent. It was absolutely incredible. 



Another part of the park involved a free flight aviary where we pet and hand fed birds. I think a parrot may have fallen in love with Matt ;)

The whole day was all inclusive-meaning meals, snacks, and drinks were all included. We also were given water vests. These came in handy in the grand reef where we snorkeled in cold water with rescued stingray and tropical fish! It was incredibly peaceful. 



Life is made for experiences like this, and I'll never forget it :) 
Now time for vacation!

 

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