*I have partnered with Banana Republic on this post. As always though, all opinions are my own. Read more here.*

Knowing how to dress for my size has always been a talent I am thankful to possess. If I were to tell you how much I weighed you would be shocked (hopefully).  I know what to play up and I know what to camoflauge.  I’m a mom of 2 and I work out daily but I’m still 35 and I have learned wearing clothing that is built well will take you further than a pair of discount pants any day.

And if you are like me and spend too much money dressing your children, leaving you behind with a less desirable fall wardrobe fund you need pieces built well and versatile. So that you can accidentally have that capsule wardrobe you have been eyeing on Pinterest.

Enter the Devon-Fit Stretch Legging from Banana Republic.  They have the most amazing stretch that will last the full day as well as the next if you so choose to do so. Judgement free zone momma. They are slimming in all the right places and do such a wonderful job of smoothing just where you need it. Not to mention they go with everything and they come in bi-stretch, velvet, leather, and denim so multiple fabrics and colors available. On a side note. They do run a size too small, so I would recommend sizing up for the perfect fit.

Besides the flattering fit, the fact that they can be worn to work, date night, errands, or PTA meetings is a plus. I love clothing pieces that are versatile. Keep scrolling to see how I style these pants for different occasions.

School Function

Off Shoulder Bell Sleeve Top/Devon-Fit Stretch Legging

Every now and then I like to throw the teachers for a loop and show up not looking like a hot mess. So I paired my Devon Fit with a white shirt and flats for a perfectly pulled together outfit. No ironing needed which is also plus.

 

Running Errands

Fedora Hat/Devon- Devon-Fit Stretch Legging

Most days I’m a t-shirt and tennis shoes girl. So these were the perfect pair with my favorite tennis shoes for those casual days around town.

 

Meeting Appropriate

Devon-Fit Stretch Legging/Trench Cape

These pants are perfect for the office. They are tailored and professional yet still trendy. Pair them with pumps and a blazer and you will without a doubt close that deal.

 

Date Night

Devon-Fit Stretch Legging/Fedora Hat

After you close that deal, grab hubs and hit the town for a date night.  Add some clunky heals and a cropped top you are ready to go. Yes this is about as cropped as I will ever go.

 

Reversible Italian Wool-Blend Poncho/ Devon-Fit Stretch Legging/Fedora Hat

Another nice thing about these pants are that they are on the thicker side so if and when it decides to get a little cooler, you don’t have to worry about wind blowing through. These would also look amazing with knee high boots for extra warmth. Don’t forget to grab this Reversible Italian Wool-Blend Poncho it comes in 6 colors and has fringe so its a fall/winter must. I am wearing it here on the grey side and you can see the blue is peaking through.

 

 

 

 

My Gym

Back in June, right as summer was starting, I quit my gym. Probably not the best time to quit the gym, seeing it’s bathing suit season and I still have toddler weight that is clingier than my actual toddler. But schedules and life was getting too hard to do it all. My hour CrossFit workout with warm up and cool down plus chats with the ladies then my commute ended up taking 3 hours of my day. As a work at home momma with no childcare, those 3 hours are precious and I can’t commit that much time to my workout.

After searching high and low for something I could do at home, I found BodyBoss Method also referred to as the Anytime, Anywhere Workout. I have partnered with them to introduce you all to this amazing workout concept. Not to mention, this 12-week program is 1/9th of the cost of my old gym membership for the same amount of time. Yes, you read that correctly. This costs less than a pair of shoes at the Nordstrom Sale or a girls night out and the benefits will far outweigh those things.

24 Mins
3 x a Week
12 weeks for the Ultimate Body

Read that again. Yes! I am literally panting on the floor after 24 mins of High-Intensity Circuits* and it beats going outside without a plan and flipping through Pinterest for something to do last minute. I’m not going to bore you with the methodology and reasoning behind working different muscle groups together for the best results, but I can tell you they know their stuff. They focus on these four types of movements you can come to expect and love:

Bodyweight Resistance Exercises

Bodyweight resistance exercises are simple, effective and free. No tricky equipment or weights are required as you use your own bodyweight as the sole form of resistance. These exercises help you strengthen your body and improve balance and flexibility. They are an excellent, all-over workout and can be done anytime, anywhere.

Plyometric Exercises (Jump Training)

Plyometrics, also known as jump training or plyos, are explosive exercises designed to build strength, speed, and coordination. In moves such as these, your muscles need to exert dynamic bursts of maximum force, over and over. The Body Boss Method incorporates plyos to help you preserve and build lean body mass, keeping your muscles toned and power-packed.

Cardio

Cardio or aerobic exercise relies on the heart to shuttle oxygen to your muscles and raises your heart rate for an extended period. It is typically performed at a moderate intensity, to enable the activity to be sustained. Cardio exercises are included in many of the HIIT circuits to help the body recovery and keep the heart pumping between the other more intensive exercises.

Unilateral Exercises

Unilateral exercises work one side of the body at a time and are ideal for improving balance and evening out any strength inconsistencies. You might not know whether you favor your left or right side, but this kind of training will quickly reveal the truth!

And I am going to let you all in on a little secret. But don’t tell anyone. Want to know what separates them from the competition (is there even competition?)

The Secret Sauce

The biggest benefit of the Body Boss over other workouts lies in the afterburn effect, or what we call, the #BossEffect. After completing a BodyBoss workout, you’ll continue to burn calories for hours as the body completes a range of functions to recover from the intense exercise. You can expect to burn 100 calories or more after your workout has finished, so you will burn fat even while you sleep!

Warm Up/ Cool Down

I took a before picture and I am going to share it here along with my 2-week results as well then again at the end of 12 weeks of following the program. This is truly one of the most terrifying things I have ever done, in life. Seriously. We all know nothing on the internet dies.

I opted for the online only version and I take my computer out with me to my garage where most workouts happen if not in my living room surrounded by chaos. I love the interactive guide that allows you to hover over the exercise and see an example without ever leaving the page. So if I am unfamiliar with a movement because this is not what I am used to I can quickly learn the correct way to do it. Basically, I have my own trainer. Another thing I love about it is it includes a warm-up and a cool down. Now that I am in my mid-30s I have a harder time getting moving and need that warm-up, but when I program my own workouts I typically jump right in and that’s never a good idea.

Full disclosure I hate when people don’t smile in the before picture and here I am not smiling. I think I was planning on cutting off my head.

Please let me know if you join so we can be into this together and support each other.

Kids Love to Join in Too

 

Well orientation at my girls school was yesterday which means my family needs a wake up call in the morning. Like a slap in the face alarm clock. Summer is a time for late bedtimes, no naps, and sleeping in late (and by late I mean 7am). Then school comes out of the blue and always too soon and we need to work to get back into a routine. Which nobody likes a new routine, right?

My girls are like me and in the morning we like to chill before getting our day started. The groggily come downstairs grab their iPads and we cuddle on the couch as I watch the news or read and chug coffee. Well now that we have to be out the door and presentable for school we are going to need to put some pep in our step and streamline our mornings.

I’m all about making my life easier. Pick your battles is something I literally say 19 times a day. Not to mention I totally believe that there is something to Decision Fatigue and it’s no wonder successful people limit decisions to prevent burnout at the end of the day. So every night before going to bed, I put the Cheerios box on the table along with their bowl, silverware, napkins and a drink cup. So in the morning all we have to do it pour some milk and cereal in the bowl, grab some fruit, and a slice of bacon or sausage and we are ready to go. Not to mention at 5, Brooklyn can grab the milk from the fridge and pour it into her and Charleigh’s bowls.  If you want to start the morning out on the right foot, a 5 year old that feels accomplished and helpful can conquer the world or at least preschool.

Now some might argue that it can get boring or redundant to eat the same thing every day. But not when Cheerios  literally gives you so many options and flavors. In fact we are so #basic we just picked up the Pumpkin Spice flavor (with no artificial flavors and colors I might add) and can’t wait to mix that in our routine. We also forgo milk sometimes in exchange for yogurt. I let them sprinkle on the toppings aka Cheerios and fruit and voila, breakfast ice-cream. Shhh.

There is also something so nostalgic about feeding my girls Cheerios because not only was it their first food they were able to eat by hand as babes but I also grew up eating them. And if you asked my mom, I turned out pretty perfect. Right mom?

As a mom I know the most important meal of the day is breakfast and literally sets the pace for the whole day. It’s important that my girls get something that is healthy but still tastes good and with 1 gram of sugar and 100% whole grain oats (just like oatmeal) I know they are getting what they need.

Other Ways to Cut Corners in the Morning

  • Braids. Do it. If you have girls with long, fine hair do NOT let them go to bed without a braid or bun.
  • Lay out 3 outfit choices. Let them pick one and they feel like they have won. When in reality, you still won.
  • Lunches, pack them in the PM. It’s inevitable that something comes up you weren’t ready for. Be prepared.
  • Pack everything they need for school the next day. Forms filled out, homework, nap mats etc in car night before.
  • Limit screentime. Its amazing how much slower we all move when the TV is on.

Enjoy your morning together and enjoy the moment they arrive at school even more. You’ve got this momma!

 

 

Fall is upon us, but I’m not quite ready for crockpot meals. So I went on a #PinterestMission to find a substitute until cooler temps are upon us. One thing you should know about me and my culinary skills is that they are lacking and lazy. Yep, I said it.  It’s the end of the day and my decision making has shut off.  I want it easy and I want it tasty (while being family friendly) and I want leftovers for breakfast and lunch. Yep, told you I was lazy.

I have teamed up with Chicago Metallic Bakeware to bring you a quick and easy family favorite, stuffed peppers.  Using their “Stuff It Up Pan” you can have dinner (and breakfast and lunch) done in a flash.  Not to mention, clean up was a breeze and no peppers toppled over.

Fridays are typically Taco Night for us so I decided to go with a Mexican Flare Stuffed Pepper. Another reason, stuffed peppers are my favorite is that you can easily throw a starch, veggies, and protein into them then top with an avocado or cheese and you have all your macros done in one meal. My hubs does not love leftovers so I made us each a pepper, a pepper for the girls to split, and then extras for lunch and I threw in 2 breakfast peppers all in one pan.

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Mexican Stuffed Peppers

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 medium to large peppers
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup salsa, divided
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • Can of Corn
  • Can of Black Beans
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Prep

  • 400 degree oven
  • Brown beef, draining fat. Add rice, beans, corn, and salsa when meat is browned
  • Stuff Peppers (anything left over makes for a great taco the next day)
  • Pour a little salsa over top
  • Bake 35 mins
  • Sprinkle with cheese for last 5 minutes

Breakfast Stuffed Peppers

  • 2 Peppers
  • 2 Eggs
  • Frozen Quinoa
  • Black Beans
  • Corn
  • Spinach
  • Salsa
  • Avocado

Mix frozen quinoa, black beans, spinach and corn. Stuff inside peppers (add cheese if you like). Then top with an egg. Cook time was same as with Mexican Bell Peppers. Top with salsa and avocado.

Voila, you are done and can take a break momma. Just kidding the kids want snacks.

I have been compensated by/received free product from Natures Origin for this article, but as always all opinions
are entirely my own.

I’d like to pat myself on the back for a second and say that I typically have it together.  My kids don’t look like baby models, my house  doesn’t look like a show house, we aren’t eating home cooked organic meals for 5 meals a day, and I don’t look like the blogger I portray on the internet when I wake up every morning, but we make it through the day with fun activities and do fun things. We brush our hair (most days), eat home cooked meals regularly, and I spot clean-up daily (like one spot).

With summer closing in, workload increasing, my husband’s crazy travel schedule, and my kids boycotting all naps, no one has gotten a break in a while. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. My to-do list is a mile long and I have been on a quest recently to find ways to unwind and recharge. I don’t function well in extended chaos and that’s where I have been lately.  In order to relax, clear my head, and keep-up, I’ve been relying on exercise, healthy eating, and incorporating essential oils into my daily routine

 

  • Exercise & Eating Healthy
    • I have been getting up before the kids, dog, and hubs to get my workout in. When I would wait until the afternoon or the evening, something typically came up and took precedence. Now, my mornings start better: I have a couple cups of coffee before the kids get up. I can read the internet twice and get started on emails.
    • Something happened after the birth of my second child and literally my good eating habits went out the window.Habits are hard to break, and I’m still in the process of not snacking all day and eating whole foods and drinking a ton of water. I am happy to report that I am two weeks in and I will win this battle. My brain was starving for nutrients and I already feel so much more focused and aware.

 

Screen Free Recharge Time and Quiet Time

My kids are past the age of needing/wanting naps on a daily basis but momma needs a break from them and their chaos. So I send them their rooms with books, colors, and toys. They are to play quietly in their rooms or beds for at least two hours. I try to get more but it doesn’t always happen. During this time I plug in my Nature’s Origin™ Diffuser and drop in a couple drops of Eucalyptus Oil.  I’m new to the oil world, but I’m experimenting with  eucalyptus oil to sooth my senses, rejuvenate my spirit, and refresh my balance. brain. Eucalyptus has been used in traditional Asian practices for centuries for its cooling properties and has a slightly sweet and woody
scent. Its strong aroma is clean, fresh and positive .  Hello, I’m pretty sure it was made for me, right?  So while my room is smelling amazing, I work for an hour and a half because I need the quiet to think coherently. Then the last 30 minutes I turn off all notifications and I lay on my couch or my bed and try to get a little nap in. Even if sleep doesn’t happen, it still feels amazing to recharge.

These couple very deliberate things are helping me come out of the fog. Right now with so much going on, all of which I am very excited about and so very thankful for, I need to be on my A game. A personality flaw of mine would be the inability to completely chill. But I am working on it and incorporating essential oils into my daily routine has been my secret weapon

Need a few more suggestions on ways to utilize Eucalyptus Oil?

 

Eucalyptus Oil Bath

To unwind from the day

Draw a warm bath

3 drops of Eucalyptus Oil into a TSP of carrier oil, I use Nature’s Origin™ Aromatherapy Almond Carrier Oil

Pour mixture into bath and enjoy

Hair Mask

To change dull hair to shiny hair:

50mL Nature’s Origin™ Aromatherapy Almond Carrier Oil

5mL Eucalyptus Oil Mix Eucalyptus Oil and Almond oil together in glass bottle and warm in hot water. Gently massage oil onto scalp to stimulate blood flow to hair roots and comb through hair.  Contain hair in a shower cap or wrap in clean, warm towel and ‘cook’ for 20 minutes.  Shampoo and condition normally. More than one shampoo may be required to remove excess oil.

 

Muscle Relief

You may need this after the early morning workouts.

2-3 drops of Eucalyptus Oil

1 TSP of Nature’s Origin™ Aromatherapy Almond Carrier Oil

Massage balls or something comparable to work into sore muscle groups.

I’d love to hear how you use essential oils. Share your recipe below in the comments.