Friday, July 20, 2018

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Today is the day!  The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is open to everyone!
As I said in my last Nordstrom post, I love this sale for so many reason.  Great items, unbeatable prices and hellloooooo Fall!  The Nordstrom sale always includes a lot of great transitional pieces that make for an easy switch from summer to fall.  The sweaters and cardigans and booties get me so excited and ready for cooler temps and crisp mornings.  A lot of items sell out quickly during  presale so today I am rounding all of my favorites from what is available now and what I might end up making a second purchase for.  No one tell my husband!

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11  

These Quay Sunglasses are still, most definitely, at the top of my list.  They weren't available in store when I went so I ordered them online.  I got them in the mail last week and they are everything.  The tortoise frames, the gold detail, the mirrored lens...everything!  If you want these, jump on them!  I know they will sell out so don't miss out on them like I did with last year's Quays.  (I'm a BIG fan of Quay's btw!)

If you buy anything from this sale, you MUST buy this Urban Decay makeup set.  This set is AMAZING!!  Three of my all time favorite products for a killer price.  I have always been a big fan of the Naked Palettes and use them almost every time I do my make up.  The setting spray, I can not live without and has lasted me forever.  The eyelid primer is just another bonus on top!  Seriously, get it!

The Nordstrom Sale always has great denim.  These Good American jeans are super sexy, great color for fall and under $100!

I finally decided to give the Zella workout leggings a try since everyone raves about them and the price just really can't be beat.  I like them!  They are high wasted and super flattering.  I got a small but could probably wear an xs.

This Rebecca Minkoff Crossbdody is the most beautiful blush color and such a great price!  I love crossbody's in fall and Rebecca Minkoff is such a great brand that has really mastered the crossbody.  Also comes in black.

I have been wanting a LED makeup mirror for a while now.  I usually end up doing my makeup downstairs so that I can keep an eye on the kids and good lighting can be hard to come by.  Rose gold and comes with a travel mirror?  Sign me up!

Just a reminder, if you see something you love, JUMP ON IT!!  Stuff sells out quick.  Nordstrom always does free returns so buy now and figure it out later.  Trust from my mistakes.  Hope you guys like everything I am loving and happy shopping!


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Thursday, July 19, 2018

5 tips to overcoming intimidation at the gym

I am here today to address the elephant in the weight room at the gym and that is intimidation.  I have come to realize that feeling intimidated at the gym is a very normal and a common feeling amongst those who join a gym and even those who have been going for a while.  I think that when it comes to working out, we are often surrounded by people who are already comfortable in that space and that can be very intimidating.  Most of you know that I decided to ditch my home workouts last week and join a gym.  I will be completely honest here and tell you that the first week was rough.  Just walking through the gym on that first day gave me major anxiety.  My heart would start pounding in my chest walking through a sea of unfamiliar gym equipment while I was surrounded by the fittest of the fit.  I felt like the gym was swallowing me and I couldn't shake it.

I left that first day feeling defeated and more than overwhelmed so I called my husband, sister and best friend (yes, all of them!) to open up about it since I knew that they had all conquered the gym in the past.  Much to my surprise, they were all like, "YES!  Gym intimidation is totally a thing!"  That's when I got to thinking, why don't people talk more about this??  It caught me by surprise how strong these insecurities can be and after talking to them about it, I took all of their advice and created a list to help with overcoming intimidation at the gym.

1. Hit the treadmill 
This was the first thing my husband told me to do and I am so thankful he did.  He has been working out and going to the gym since I don't even know when, probably early 20's if I had to guess.  Because he has been to countless new gyms, he has a system of his own and that is to go straight to the treadmills.  At the gym that we go to now, and most of the ones I've been to, the treadmills somewhat overlook the rest of the gym.  Good for people watching while running I guess?  Our gym has an upstairs and the treadmills line the balcony, overlooking all of the equipment.  His theory here is to get on the treadmill and take everything else in.  This way you can get a good feel for where everything is, get yourself adjusted and hit the equipment not as blind as you were walking in.  I stand by it!

2. Plan ahead
Because I was starting a new workout program, I looked over the exercises for the week to see what it was all about and what I would be doing.  While I was on the treadmill that first day, I noticed someone on one of the machines that I needed for my first leg day.  This was a machine that I had never used before, much less never even seen before!  I watched how they used it and seeing someone else do it before I had to gave me so much more confidence to walk up to that machine and use like I had done it before.  After realizing this, I decided to review the next workout so that while walking through the gym I 

3. Let others motivate you
This is a big one!  So many people, and not just at the gym, compare themselves to others just to end up feeling insecure, intimidated and defeated.  None of these feelings are going to work for you while trying to work out.  You have to feel good about yourself and you need confidence!  I know that isn't always easy and I too struggle with it from time to time but I always try to overcome those feelings.  I looked around my gym and do you know what I saw?  People of all ages, races, fitness levels and body shapes but the one thing they all had in common was that they were there to work out and better themselves in some way.  While there are a lot of physically fit people in the gym who can be intimidating to work out next to, let them motivate you instead.  Make goals from those people.  Whenever I see a girl in great shape, I tell myself that that's where I will be soon! 

4. Zone out
The best distraction in the gym is good music.  Make a play list, put your headphones in and turn it up!  There is nothing better for me than to workout to a good playlist that gets me pumped up and ready to kill it in the gym.  I used to do this at home to give myself a break from cartoons and kids all day and it was a nice change.  It's no different at the gym.  I let the music run through my body and just focused on that.  It took me out of my environment in a way and that was exactly what I needed to block everything else out and work out. 

5. Adjust gradually
Take the first week in a new gym to get aquatinted.  I completely underestimated how difficult working out in the gym would be and adding that to being in a new environment was a lot.  I made it to the gym 3 days for my first week and the other 2 I was flat out exhausted.  My body was drained from working it in ways that I wasn't used to.  I ended up restarting the first week of my program because I felt that I could do better now that I was adjusted to the gym and feeling more comfortable and confident being there.  I have to say, my first week compared to my second is a world of difference!  I didn't have a choice but to take my first week as I did but looking back, I should have planned to take it easy so I wouldn't be disappointed with what I was able to accomplish.

These 5 things helped me make a much smoother and confidence building transition into the gym.  What started out in defeat quickly became determination and fired up my passion to reach my fitness goals.  It takes a lot of courage to do things out of your comfort zone especially in front of other people.  Preparation is key here and having a plan going into the gym will speed up the process of getting aquatinted.
What helps you overcome intimidation in the gym? 

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Slow Cooker Honey Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Sunday's have always been a family dinner night for us.  We often get so busy during the week that a lot of our dinners end up at the kitchen island in the midst of the weekday hustle and bustle.  It's such a nice way to end the weekend, gathered around the table, talking about our favorite parts of the weekend over a home cooked meal.  Now that Loyal and I are trying to eat much healthier, limiting ourselves to one cheat meal a week, I am trying to find a happy medium between healthy and home cooked.  When we sit down on Sunday night for dinner, I don't want to feel like I'm eating grilled chicken and vegetables again.  This pork tenderloin recipe is savory and oh so tender! 
  For this recipe, I made a rub that marinates over night, creating an impact of flavor.  The honey mixed with spices and a hint of cinnamon make for a flavorful Sunday meal.  Marinating my meat overnight is something that I started doing a while back and it makes all the difference.  Once I started doing it this way, I hardly ever need a sauce to go with my meals.  Not only does this cut down on extra calories but it makes the meals so delicious! 
Sitting on top of a bed of potatoes and veggies, surrounded by sprigs of thyme, the pork will slow cook for 6 to 8 hours.  Once finished, the meat will just fall right apart.  Pork tenderloin in the crockpot is one of the most tender ways to cook pork, sealing in all the favor and juices.
The pork tenderloin is packed with sweet and savory flavor complimented by carrots that melt in your mouth.  My family isn't the biggest fans of carrots but cooked like this, they all love them.  There are so many different ways to cook pork tenderloin but the crock pot will always be one of my favorites.  The tenderness just can't be beat!
Cook time: 8 hours

Ingredients:
Pork Tenderloin
2 Russet potatoes
1 large onion
4 stalks of celery
Carrots

Marinade/Rub:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
To make the rub, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Rinse your pork and pat dry with a paper towel.  Cover the pork with rub making sure to rub it in well because the honey makes it a little more difficult to stick.  For best flavor, put pork in a ziplock bag and refrigerate over night.

Peel potatoes and carrots.  Dice all veggies leaving the pieces large.  Add to the crockpot creating a "bed" for the pork to rest on.  Before adding the pork to the crockpot, brown it on the stove top by searing it for about 2 minutes on each side.  Add to the crockpot along with a few sprigs of thyme and cook on low for 6-8 hours depending on size of tenderloin.  I usually discard everything in the crockpot except the pork and carrots.  I served this with a side salad.
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Friday, July 13, 2018

Everything I got from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Let's talk about the infamous #nsale!  Never heard of it?  Never shopped it?  That was me up until last year.  I honestly slept on this sale for the longest time and last year I finally bit the bullet and jumped on board.  You guys, it is SO GOOD.  For those who know nothing about it, Nordstrom releases all of their fall stuff in July and mark a huge chunk of it down about 30-40%.  Let me repeat, that's new season stuff for end of season prices!!!  Between clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty, home and so much more, you will find so many great items at unbeatable prices.  No one else does a sale like this and if you are looking to stock up your fall closet, now is the time.

The sale started yesterday for Nordstrom Cardholders and will open to the public on July 20th.  I learned the hard way last year that a lot of the good items sell out long before they are even available to the public (some sell out the very first day!) so I ended up getting a card halfway through the pre-sale last year and it was so worth it.  You also get points per purchase that add up to $20 rewards.  I love getting those!

Alright let's dive right into everything I loved and everything I got. 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

I tried my best to limit myself this year but it's just so hard.  I wish I could have bought alllll of the things!  My top 3 items this year are the Quay sunglasses (2), mules (3), and cardigan (9).  I ended up getting 2, 3, 4 (in two colors), 5, 9, 10 and a pair of Zella leggings that I am still deciding on.

1. Sam Edelman Knee High Boots - This is the time to buy fall boots!  Always a great selection in this department.

2. Quay French Kiss Cat Eye Sunglasses - These caught my eye and couldn't fly into my cart fast enough!  Perfect for fall and $40.  (The Quay sunglasses from last year sold out. These probably will too.)

3. Steve Madden Studded Mules - I saw these in the catalog and loved them immediately.  There are a little out of my comfort zone but once I saw them in person, I knew I had to have them.  I do love all of the suede ones as well.  I was initially deciding between these and the grey. (Pictured on me above)

4. BP. Raw Edge V-Neck Tee - This was one of the most popular items last year! It sold out QUICK and stayed sold out.  I missed out on the white last year so I definitely got that this year as well as this pretty green color.  I do want to say that this tee is only $11!! With that being said though, I want to be super honest here.  It's not the best quality.  I'm not saying I don't like it because obviously I bought 2, but it's an $11 tee that's appropriately priced. (Pictured on me above)

5. BP. Raw Edge Scoop Neck Tee - Same thing as above but a long sleeve version.  These are a great price and perfect for stocking up in more than one color.  I went with black in xs.  Super tight in the sleeves.

6. Top Shop Pajama Joggers - Right up my alley and look so comfy!

7. Tory Burch Reversible Wrap Watch - I didn't get a watch this year but if I were in the market, I do love this one!  The under side is olive green.  So good for fall!

8. J.Crew Tipped Short Pajama - I love pajama sets and this is a great price for J.Crew!

9. Stitch Curve Hem Cardigan - This sweater is hands down one of my favorite purchases.  It's super soft and fits amazing!  It does run a little big so size down if you want more of a fitted look.  I got the color Pink Cedar in an xxs. (Pictured on me above)

10. Exposed Seam Sweater - I love this sweater.  I wasn't sure how it would fit because it is an oversized look but I loved it.  It looks good both untucked and with a half tuck.  I got the Heather Berry which is a really pretty mauve in person (color looks a little off on my screen).   

11. Nordstrom Pave Stud Earring - These are absolutely stunning and a fantastic price!

12. Lucky Brand Wedges - With fall right around the corner, Nordstrom really brings it in the wedge department.  I could do an entire post just on shoes!  These are definitely top of my list. 

A few other things to take advantage of with this sale:
Denim - so many options from designer to reasonably priced
Shoes - booties, over the knee, mules...all of the fall vibes
Beauty - La Mer.  $400 off!  If you use this, stock up now!
Jewelry - Michele watches, diamond earrings, etc. Great prices!
Fall/winter coats - again, new season items at end of season prices
Baby items - if you are expecting, check out their car seats, baby gear, etc
Handbags - you will find items that rarely go on sale! 


Hope you guys liked my pics for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!  If you don't have a Nordstrom Card, I highly recommend getting one even if you only use it for the sale every year.  I rarely shopped at Nordstrom before last year and now I do all the time.  Hope you all have a great weekend and happy shopping!

Anniversary Sale Part 2
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

It's time to commit!

Ok guys, I'm getting real with you today.  When it comes to diet and exercise, I know what I need to do and I make the necessary changes but what I struggle with is commitment.  Committing to staying consistent with my diet and giving 100% to working out has proven to be very difficult for me.  I can usually stay consistent with working out but the problem here is diet.  I am here today to admit to myself, and everyone else I guess, that I am a yo-yo eater.  I can do great Monday through Friday but once the weekend hits, I give in to too much.  I am forever stuck between living the fit life and living for all the food!  I had a realization last week and I saw first hang exactly how bad I yo-yo.  Right before my birthday I decided that it was time to get down to business and really make some solid changes.  I started fresh on Monday, ate super clean all week, worked out every day and by Friday I had lost 4 pounds!  I was so proud of myself that it gave me all the momentum to maintain what I was doing throughout the weekend and I did.  For the first time, I felt like I made more progress than I ever had by finally beating the cycle of ending up right where I started, every. single. Monday.  But!  My birthday was the next week, followed by 4th of July the following week and I totally fell off.  It was defeating.  On the bright side though, I am now very aware of what the problem is, what challenges I face and what I need to do to overcome them.

  A few years ago I cleaned up my diet, leaving room for moderated splurging of course, and began my fitness journey.  Up until recently, this plan has worked very well for me and I was able to be consistent with working out at home while my kids napped.  Lately I had been feeling like I was in need of a few adjustments.  The biggest one was that I felt like I was finally ready to join a gym again!  My schedule was getting busier and my home workouts were becoming a little redundant.  I knew that getting back into the gym would push me to take exercise (and results!) to the next level.  So I did just that!  I joined a gym and bought one of Katy Hearn's fitness plans.  I am starting with her Build a Booty program and I am hoping to do one of her challenges later this year or maybe even beginning of next year.  You guys, this has been a game changer.  This was exactly what I needed.  I am on day 4 and my legs have been more sore than they have in the past year.  Working out in the gym opposed to at home has pushed me to increase weights and work out my legs in ways that I just wasn't able to achieve at home.  I am able to complete the exercises in less time, with more impact, and I love it so far!

Katy's Build a Booty plan is 6 weeks and I am committing for that duration.  This is my starting point and I am hoping that this will be exactly what I need to make this a lifestyle change that sticks.  In order for me to really see significant changes and see what I am capable of, I need to give it 100% for the full 6 weeks.  One of the biggest takeaways with reading through this program is that she recommends one cheat meal a week.  ONE!  Loyal and I have always done a "cheat day" which usually leads to cheating over the entire weekend.  (My problem here!)  So this is it.  No more cheat day, no more weekend splurging, just one cheat meal a week for me and I am pumped about it!  

Wish me luck guys!  I will of course be back to share my progress, results and all of the things.
What helps you stay on track and commit to a healthy lifestyle?


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Friday, July 6, 2018

Blue Cheese Steak Salad

If there is one thing we love to do in the summer, it's grill out.  We fire up the grill, turn up the music and watch the kids play in the backyard while we cook dinner together.  I remember 2 summers ago, when we first moved into our house, we grilled out for the first time in our new backyard and said to each other, "nights like this are what we've waited for for so long."  It was true.  After traveling so much with my husbands job, we finally had somewhere to call home and a backyard for the kids was what we had always dreamed of for them.  Fast forward to this summer and it's a weekly ritual around here!  It's hard to stray away from the hamburgers and hotdogs that scream summer, but every once and a while I like to throw in a good summer salad to combine the best of both worlds.
I like to keep my steak salads on the simple side to really emphasize the flavor of a good cut of meat.  A grilled filet cooked to the perfect medium temperature, sitting on top of a bed of romaine and fresh summer veggies is the best way to go in my opinion.  While my husband prefers blue cheese dressing, I paired this salad with a balsamic vinaigrette to let the blue cheese crumbles compliment the filet.  

Ingredients:
Filet (or any steak you prefer)
Romaine lettuce
Roma Tomato
Cucumber
Red Onion
Sliced mushroom
Blue Cheese crumbles
Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:
Salt and pepper steak on both sides and sear it on the grill until desired temperature.  Once steak is finished cooking, set it aside to rest.  Wash and chop up romaine lettuce.  In a large bowl, combine tomato, cucumber, mushroom and red onion.  Slice steak against the grain into 1/4" strips and place on top of salad.  Sprinkle blue cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

*I didn't put measurements of each because it really depends on how many you are serving and how much of each item you care for.
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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Paw Patrol Live!

Last Sunday, we gave the kids the surprise of their little lives and took them to Paw Patrol Live!  We told them that we were going somewhere really fun and that was all they knew.  Once we arrived downtown and were walking to The Fox, we passed one of the stage trucks.  It had a huge Paw Patrol display on the side and the kids were in awe but still didn't realize exactly what we were doing.  They have always been big fans of Paw Patrol so we knew they would be amazed with the show and they absolutely were!  Their little faces lit right up as soon as they saw the stage!
The pups ran out onto the stage, one by one, and were greeting with the loudest and most enthusiastic of squeals from every kid in the building!  The Sunday show's theme was The Great Pirate Adventure where they discover a secret treasure map and set out to find the treasure.  With vibrant colors, interactive characters and a mission to find the treasure, it held all 3 of my kids attention throughout the entire show!
After the show we went to one of our all time favorite places to eat, Bar Taco.  The margaritas are always amazing, the food is outstanding and we had the most perfect patio weather to top off our perfect family day!

You can find tickets to Paw Patrol Live in your area here.
For 25% off your ticket, use code FAMILY
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