Archives for October 2016

Finally Fall

Fall finally decided to show up in Mississippi this weekend. It was gorgeous and sunny Saturday and Sunday with lows in the low 50’s and highs in the 70’s. For our third year and a row, my dad took Emma Kate to the classic car show in our city and out to lunch at McAlisters. This year was the most challenging because last year she was just learning to walk and the year before she was only a month old!

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How cute is this display?

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It’s fun to walk around a free event checking out all the cars. It helps when the weather is beautiful! We are all about free things to do.

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There were rows and rows of classic cars of all different colors.

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We walked over to McAlisters and sat outside for lunch before walking over to our yogurt shop for dessert.

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Saturday night we had a fall get together with our life group from church. It was at my friends house who lives down the street, so we just walked over. We had chips and dip, chili, soup, and caramel apples. Emma Kate had a blast playing with all the other kids. I didn’t take any photos, but if you saw my Instagram story then you saw Emma Kate wipe out on some playground equipment (she was fine).

Then some friends came over and watched part of the LSU/Ole Miss game. I went to bed at 11:00 because the game didn’t start until 8:15, so it was way past my bedtime.

Sunday we went to church and then had the annual fun fest at our church. It’s a free community wide event with games, candy, and lots of fun!

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How adorable is she?!?

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We went in the bouncy house about five times, watched the puppet show, and helped with the photo booth. She slept like a rock that night!

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It was our third year at fun fest and it is something I will definitely miss when we move.

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QOTD: Do you go to any community or church fall events?

Swim Readiness: Then and Now

This post was sponsored by Speedo. Thanks for the products you sent to me and Emma Kate!

Before I had a baby, getting dressed and ready to swim was a fairly simple task. I only had to think about what I needed to do for myself, and myself alone. Oh how I took for granted those simpler times, because getting a child ready to swim is a whole different ball game! I wanted to take you through my step by step process of what it’s like now to get ready to go to the pool/water with a toddler.

The dance of the swimsuit:

First I have to actually convince my toddler to get into her swimsuit. This may or may not involve chasing, begging, wrestling, and crying (me, not her). Ok, so maybe I’m kidding a little, but once Emma Kate saw her adorable new sun shirt from Speedo, she asked me to immediately help her get it on. This sun shirt is quick drying. It also is UV50+ and provides protection from harmful sun rays. To learn more about this product, go to this page. Emma Kate was obsessed with the butterflies on it!

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The “slather”:

Putting sunscreen on a child is very, very important, but also extremely difficult. As a teenager, I worked at a local summer camp, and distinctly remember how hard it was to get squirmy four year olds to stay still long enough to coat them in the protective stuff. Inevitably, one would turn their head and sunscreen would get in their eyes, hair, etc. Thankfully, Emma Kate understands the importance of sun protection, and knows she will not get to go near the water without it, so she generally complies without too much fuss when I slather it on her.

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Swim Shoe shuffle:

We have a water table and kiddie splash pad we like to set up in the backyard. However, we quickly realized that when the concrete gets wet, it’s quite slippery. I immediately got Emma Kate some swim shoes from Speedo, and now she is much safer. They are also great for the pool or pool deck so their little feet don’t get blisters! We love the awesome colors too, and how easy it is to get them on and off with their four way stretch.

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Rules were made to be broken—er… followed:

I know Emma Kate is only two, but she had a pretty firm grasp on what is expected of her when we are near water. No running, no getting in the water without me, and always wear your swim vest/life jacket. We obey other adults and life guards and stay in the shallow water. Even at her age I feel it’s important to be consistently repetitive so she knows what is expected of her ahead of time.

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The rinse:

I always think it is wise to rinse off in the shower (most pools have an outdoor one nearby) before getting in the water. I mean, we are dealing with toddlers here, and at any given time there are five different kinds of food stuck to her face and in her hair, and we don’t want to get that in the pool.

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So on top of getting mommy in her cute Speedo swimsuit and cover up, (My new swimsuit has great adjustable straps on the top, and is stretchy and flexible. My cover up is super comfy and has a lightweight, cute racerback design) and getting sunscreen applied, there are a lot of other things to consider these days. I have to plan ahead, and make sure I have allowed enough time to get together everything we need for a fun and successful day in the water.

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Affiliate links are not associated with Speedo.

7 Things to Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

There are ebbs and flows in everyone’s life. The past few months have been categorized for me in one word: Overwhelming. Not always in a bad way, but overwhelming just the same. Sometimes I deal with things in a positive way, and sometimes I run around like my hair is on fire. Here are 7 of my best tips for when life gets overwhelming:

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1.) Learn how to say no: I discuss this at length in my book, but learning to say no to every opportunity, social engagement, and freelance job has helped me to feel less overwhelmed. It is simply impossible to be all things to all people, and being stretched thin does not make me a good wife, mother, or productive member of society. I would rather have a few things on my plate and do them WELL as opposed to too many that don’t get done right. One of the biggest decisions I had to make when Emma Kate was born was to step back from a management role at work that I enjoyed. It sucked but I knew there was no way I could do the extra work to the best of my ability while caring for a newborn.

2.) Prioritize: Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the things that are really important to us. If family is important to you like it is to me, then you may need to rethink some of your extra circulars so you can spend more time with them. If you really want to be able to workout more, then going to bed an hour earlier and cutting off the TV may work for you. Sacrifices may need to be made, but if it’s for something you really care about then it is totally worth it!

3.) Pray/devotion/quiet time: This is the most important one for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it is probably because I am not starting my day with quiet time and prayer. It just starts my day off right and gets me in the right mindset as I face problems and anxieties. Does this mean every day goes perfectly? Absolutely not, but I am more likely to respond more correctly when I have started my day with quiet time.

4.) Ask for help: I need to look in the mirror and say this one. I can sometimes struggle with not asking people for help. I know everyone is busy and has their own problems to deal with, so I don’t like dumping on other people or asking them to help me. Sometimes though, its necessary to get back to a good place, and I know my friends really don’t mind, and the issue is with me!

5.) Cut out the time suck: Social media is a wonderful thing, but for me it can also be a big time suck. What starts out as getting online to write a sponsored post for work, turns into scrolling through feeds for ten minutes. That’s ten minutes I could be doing so many other things, and I sometimes do this multiple times a day! I don’t know what your personal time suck is (talking on the phone? TV? video games?) and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but sometimes I know I can tend to go overboard and end up wasting precious and valuable time.

6.) Time blocking/Buy a planner: I am a very visual person, so if I have a million things to do just floating around in my head, I am bound to forget one of them and when one ball drops, several others seem to drop in quick succession! Writing things out in a planner and even going so far as to time block my day hour by house, or in thirty minute increments can help me to stay focused and on task when my mind starts to panic at all I have to do.

Related: 5 Steps to reaching your goals

7.) Release control: Oh so hard my friends. Sometimes, crappy things happen that I have no control over. I get my feelings hurt. Something happens at work that upsets me. I get sick. I have a bad night’s sleep. All of these things can be a recipe for disaster if we try to control them and spend our time worrying about things we can’t change. It has served me well in the past to take  step back and remind myself that I am not in control of everything, and that’s a good thing! I often need to stop worrying and just let it be. Let go of the tight grip I have on situations. It’s not going to change anything except to stress me out and overwhelm me.

So inhale. Exhale. Think about which of these things may help you the next time life gets overwhelming and see if it helps. I hope so!

QOTD: Have you tried any of these tactics? Did they work for you?

Body After Baby: Two Years

Note: This post is about body image, weight loss, and eating. If this may be a trigger for you, please feel free to skip this post and come back another day!

I know it may seem a little odd to do a body after baby post so long after giving birth, but for me personally it has taken this long to really feel good about myself. I wanted to be sure other women know that if it doesn’t happen in 3, 6, 12 or 18 months, IT’S OK. Slow progress sticks around better for me anyway as opposed to a quick fix, and I much prefer lifestyle changes instead of “diets”.

For a quick refresher before we dive into the now, let’s take a look at what I looked like one month postpartum below:

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and then again six months postpartum below:

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and now (2 years postpartum) below:

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Also here’s a shot from the day I had Emma Kate (9/24/14), and then from August of this year:

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When I was 12 months postpartum, I was one pound over my pre pregnancy weight, so I weighed 151. At the time I was happy with that, but what I didn’t realize then was that I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant…so getting back to my pre pregnancy weight still wasn’t my “happy weight”. I wanted to be stronger and have more muscle. I wanted to feel better, to be the best mom I could be.

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I am now sitting at 143 pounds, so I have lost eight pounds since probably about mid June (yes I sat at 151 from last September until this June, fluctuating a pound or so here and there). So what changed? Well, a couple of things.

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(The above photo was taken on day FOUR of eating out at restaurants for every meal. If only I had been able to take photos at the beginning of the trip!)

1.) I amped up my workouts. I was doing bootcamp 3-4 times a week and running 1-2 times a week while resting 1-2 days. It just wasn’t giving me results as fast as I would like, so I moved up to bootcamp 5 days a week and running once a week, sometimes twice. I also started running stadiums on Wednesday mornings before class. Some weeks I do take off two days, but I aim for only one day of full rest. My current schedule looks something like this:

Sunday: OFF

Monday: Boot camp

Tuesday: Boot camp

Wednesday: Stadiums and sprints at the track, HEAT class (like Orange theory)

Thursday: Boot Camp

Friday: Boot Camp

Saturday: Long run

As much as I enjoy racing and will continue to do so, it just isn’t working for me right now to run tons and tons of miles to get faster for longer distances. I would much rather be strong than fast, so it is what it is.

2.) I cleaned up my eating. I seriously loathe counting calories, but knew I at least needed an “idea” of how many calories I was eating in a day, so I counted calories for a week or so (as well as macros) just to get a good starting point. What I realized is I don’t get enough protein, and I was eating too many carbs and fats, as well as overall calories. Lots of snacking folks! After counting on My Fitness Pal, I felt like I had a firm grasp on my hunger cues, and about how much I needed to eat a day to still be able to workout hard and not feel weak.

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So what happened? I started eating foods that filled me up more to fuel my tough workouts instead of empty calories. I stopped eating late at night, and I was just more mindful in general. Do I still eat candy and drink alcohol? Heck yes! But for example…if I know I’m going out with friends that night, I am more careful during the day and the day before. It’s seriously all about planning ahead and meal prep these days, and it really does pay off (I talk about meal prep more in my book!)

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing that I could SEE my muscle more in my arms, abs, and legs. It was under there the whole time, it was just hidden. Smile

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I have been able to go up in weight when doing a lot of exercises, and I don’t tire out near as easily. It’s such a good feeling to be able to add that 25 pound plate at the squat rack, or use heavier dumbbells for bicep curls or kickbacks.

The beginning of November marks one year of boot camp, and if you look back and read my 12 month body after baby post, you will see I was just about to start boot camp and had a “we’ll see what happens” attitude towards it. Never did I think I would end up falling in love with it and making great friends at my gym.

I started really PUSHING myself at boot camp this summer, in spite of having been going since the end of 2015. I began not just doing the bare minimum, but really pushing myself to my limits and taking it seriously. I work out way too hard to ruin it with a bad diet or injury, so I am more careful with everything I do now. I have lost fat, gained muscle, and still managed to lose weight in the process. I honestly am not as concerned about the number on the scale though. I just want to feel good in my clothes, and have energy and confidence.

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I want to be a good role model for my now two year old daughter, and teach her to work hard for the things in life she really wants. I want her to learn discipline, self love, and respect for her body. I want to run races with her, teach her how to lift, and help her find her passions.

To all the new mamas out there or mamas about to have babies, I know, I KNOW, it’s so much easier said than done, but you can get to where you want to be. Don’t get bogged down in a timeframe. Enjoy your baby, and get back to working out when YOU feel ready. It may take you two years, it may not. Don’t let the amount of time it took me scare you. But just know if it does take two years, that’s ok. Do the best that you can, making small changes one at a time. Make your health a priority, and please don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do it all on your own. We are all in this together, and other moms understand the best just how stressful it can be, so lean on each other. If you don’t have someone who supports you wanting to get healthy, FIND SOMEONE. In real life, online, at the gym, at church, etc. Find your people. You can do this. Be BRAVE! You can have a great body after baby!

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So what’s next for me? Sadly, this round of my beloved boot camp ends November 4th, and then I move to Tampa. I’m sure things will be up in the air for awhile until I find a new gym home. I hope I can find a new boot camp class as awesome as the one I have here, but it’s highly doubtful any group can compare. Smile I look forward to having more racing opportunities in Florida, and making new workout friends. Who knows what’s next? It will be a fun ride to find out.

QOTD: How long did it take you to get your body where you wanted it after having a baby? What worked for you? What hasn’t worked for you?

Adventures in House Hunting + a Hurricane

Last Tuesday, my friend Kelley and I left Mississippi bright and early and headed to Florida. We were going to check out homes in neighborhoods where Bobby and I are going to move, which is TAMPA! I already shared this news yesterday with my email subscribers, but figured it was time to let you guys in on it as well. 🙂 We are looking north of Tampa, to be precise. So anyway,  we drove, and we drove, and we drove. It was a gorgeous day, so it was hard to believe a hurricane was coming.

How cool is this rest stop? It has a “stretch your legs” trail!

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We finally made it to Clearwater after 10:00 at night. We stayed at the Sheraton Sand Key and really liked it. It’s right on the beach (well you have to walk out a bit but no big deal). Too bad it was chilly and overcast. It didn’t stop us from sitting out there a few hours anyway!

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We eventually ventured up to the pool before grabbing lunch and meeting with my awesome realtor.

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Our plan was to look at homes all afternoon and into the early evening since we were going to head out Thursday afternoon instead of Friday because of hurricane Matthew. We saw some great houses and neighborhoods. After awhile they just all start running together though!

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This pool was awesome but unfortunately the rest of the house was not.

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How cool is this kid’s super hero room?!?

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Loved this kitchen but the neighborhood would be way too long of a commute for Bobby.

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We even rode a golf cart in one neighborhood.

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That night we hit up a restaurant in Clearwater before turning in for the night.

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The next day we were up early again for more house hunting. The Sheraton was so awesome and let us cancel out last night and refunded us no problem because of the hurricane. It was super simple and we were so grateful.

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We loaded up my SUV and were just going to meet the realtor at the first house that morning. Well, the directions I put into my map app on my iPhone were not exactly right. They took us through these back roads and down a dirt road where we came across this gentleman. We then went down ANTOHER dirt road and Siri told us to get out and walk to our destination. OMG. I felt like we were in a horror movie where the two young girls get led down a series of winding dirt roads to their deaths. We couldn’t stop laughing!

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We finally made it back to a main road and found where we were going, but whew what a way to start the morning. We saw gorgeous new neighborhood and some model homes, and then made it out of the area heading north just as the first rain bands started.

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Someone please explain the below photo?

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We had a LOT of traffic headed up 75 to I-10, and I-10 was basically gridlocked all the way to Talahassee. What should have taken us 6 hours took well over 7, and I was over it by the time we finally got to Destin around 7:15 that evening. We very much deserved good food and drinks so we headed to Rockin’ Tacos which was delicious.

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The next morning, we woke up to SUNSHINE! We were finally going to get some beach time. We were legit out on the beach by 7:45 in the morning, and we laid in the sun until around 12:15 when we finally packed up the car and had to head back to Mississippi.

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Hello sugar white sands! Oh how I missed you.

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It was totally worth driving in the traffic to get to Destin for a morning at the beach. Also it was nice to break up the 11 hour drive into two parts coming back.

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My friend Kelley was SO super sweet to spend her vacation time with me looking for houses and neighborhoods. She in her last year of residency at the hospital and could have been doing a million other things with her limited time off, but she chose to help me out.  I think I may have killed anyone else in the car for that long but we talked, listened to awesome playlists, and made it work. We also may have eaten at Chipotle twice. She had never been so I thought it was necessary. We had a great time and now I feel more confident as we narrow down where to live in just a few short weeks, so hopefully our house sells soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite beach? Do you like house hunting?

October 2016 Goals

Hey guys! Already into another month! I must say, even thought it’s October it doesn’t feel very fall-ish around here. We had a couple of days of temps in the 80’s, but otherwise we are still in the low 90’s with the heat index. This however hasn’t stopped me from using my pumpkin spice coffee creamer and burning my pumpkin candles!

As far as goals go, I feel like the past few months have been difficult to really discuss because I was keeping our big move a secret. But now, I can share more about my goals since the cat is out of the bag! Let’s take a look at my September goals before seeing what I want to accomplish in October:

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1.) Stick to what I have been doing: A+ I am SO proud of myself for how well I have been sticking with my workouts and healthy eating this past month. I went to boot camp 4 days a week, HEAT once a week, ran stadiums every Wednesday (except the day EK was home sick), and ran 2 out of 4 Saturdays. I have been rewarded with feeling great and losing another couple of pounds. I am down 8 pounds since the end of June! I plan to share more about this in a body after baby post that will either be up at the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

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2.) Make cupcakes for Emma Kate’s birthday: F Yall I really dropped the ball on this one. Emma Kate’s birthday was on a Saturday, so that meant I needed to bring cupcakes Friday. That week was super hard for me as we were dealing with some things having to do with our store, and I just did not have it in me to make cupcakes from scratch. I still brought treats for her class, but they were store bought. Womp womp.

3.) Start walking Bella again: B+ On the days it has been cool enough to do so, yes we have walked. As I said before, it’s still really hot here and I don’t want to burn her feet, but we walked twice this past week when the weather was nice. This will become more frequent as the weather changes!

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Oh October. You are going to be quite the challenge for me. This is going to be an odd month because I will be gone 4 days this week, and also a week at the end of the month when we take Emma Kate to Disney World, so I won’t be home as much to do things in my normal routine. But that’’ absolutely will not stop me from trying to meet some goals!

1.) Not gain weight: I am a realist, and I know it will be very difficult to lose more weight this month with two trips. I absolutely plan to indulge at Disney and on my trip week, but I also plan to keep up with my workouts, so I will be happy to just maintain this month.

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2.) Get organized for Disney: We check in the 26th but are leaving on the 25th, and other than some dining reservations and some fastpasses, I haven’t really done any organizing or preparing for our trip. I know it’s going to sneak up on me, and I don’t want to forget anything important especially since it’s Emma Kate’s first trip.

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3.) Sell our house: Yall, this is a big one. We are praying so hard about it. We really, really need our house to sell like…yesterday. I’m starting to get discouraged, because we are running out of time. I know there isn’t much I can “do” for this goal, other than pray really hard and try and spread the word. If you are looking to add to your prayer list, we would appreciate all the help we can get!

Are you trying to reach your goals but struggling to remember them or make them actually happen? Check out my FREE exercise and goal tracking printables!

QOTD: What do you do so you don’t gain weight on vacation? Do you have any October goals?