“Too Good to be True” Healthy Brownies::

I mean it, these brownies are too good to be true! They’re fudgey, chewy, decadent, and delicious. AND, they’re healthy!! You heard that correctly, they are HEALTHY! I’ve long heard about these so-called healthy brownies, but had no intention of messing up one of my favorite desserts to add…gasp…black beans. Ick!

Well, I stand corrected.

These healthy brownies are full of fiber, protein, omega-3′s; and, they’re gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, and vegan. Win-win-win!

Not only are these treats just as good as the real thing, I’m going to venture to say that they’re better in some regards.  They’re healthier (duh), but they’re also much more rich than your normal boxed brownies.  In recent years, I’ve come to really love dark, dark chocolate, so these fit the bill perfectly. And, to top it all of, they’re truly a cinch to make! I adapted my recipe from this one, so feel free to experiment as well!

What You’ll Need::

  • 1 15oz can organic black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 3 Tbsp organic coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup pure, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup raw local honey
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • optional toppings: organic, unsweetened coconut flakes, organic, raw almonds

What to Do::

1) Preheat oven to 325º

2) Grease an 8×8 baking pan with additional coconut oil

3) Prepare flax eggs by mixing 1 Tbsp flax seed meal and 3 Tbsp water, per egg and let sit for 3-5 minutes

4) Place eggs and remaining ingredients (exclude optional toppings) in a food processor (or high powered blender) and process for about 3 min, or until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. FullSizeRender

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5) Pour batter into prepared pan and add toppings, if desired

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6) Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center mostly clean.  These brownies are meant to be a little gooey, so you’ll never get a fully dry toothpick.  Watch for the sides of the brownies to pull away from the pan and cook longer if needed.

7) Allow to cool 30-minutes (torture, I know!) on a cooling rack before cutting and removing from pan.

8) Enjoy! Store in an airtight container for a few days, if they last that long because as you can see, there’s no photo of the finished product to share. Whoops!

 

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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The BEST in Workout Wear::

This post was originally published on April 24, 2013, but the items featured are STILL my all-time favs!

I am an honest person, so I’m going to honestly share something despite it feeling a little superficial.  Great workout apparel is one of the best motivators I’ve found to get me to exercise. There, I said it. The more-funtional, flattering, and colorful, the better.  I love a good pair of running shoes atop a great pair of athletic socks.  The right sports bra under a moisture-wicking tank can make all the difference. And, if you can give me a pair of running shorts with built in underwear and pockets? I’m practically in heaven! Give me the right gear and I’ve already got one foot out the door on my way to workout!

So, today I share with you the best of the best. My absolute favorite workout pieces. As you will see, I am nothing if not loyal in my ownership of Nike and Lululemon threads, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. (although, I highly recommend it) What I do suggest, however, is finding something you like, be it a brand, style, or color, and stick with it.  As silly as it sounds, master trainers suggest that wearing the right workout apparel can actually be motivating by boosting confidence and allowing you to feel more comfortable while exercising.  I can surely attest to this. I have never hated a workout more than one I did in my living room in a pair of baggy sweatpants. Those pants are meant to be relaxing and never again will they grace the presence of a workout. And, on the flip side, I feel especially flexible during a tortuous Pop Physique session when I’m wearing my favorite lulu gear.  Call me crazy, or even a product of consumerism, but it’s a proven fact in my experience.

Below are my absolute favorites. I own many of these items in various colors and prints and might be lost without them. Descriptions to follow.

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  1. Nike Lunar Glide Running Shoes: The are the best fitting shoes I’ve found for a well rounded workout. They’re great for jumping, twisting, lifting, and a little bit of running .
  2. Lululemon Cool Racerback Tank: If my budget allowed, I would have this tank in every color. It’s breathable, flattering, soft, and holds it’s shape no matter what!
  3. Nike Tech Capris: These are perfect for outdoor workouts on days that are slightly cool and bottoms that I wear for anything at the gym. Perfect for yoga, cross training, or running!
  4. Nike+ Sportwatch GPS: Now, I don’t own this one, but I did get one for my Dad last Christmas. As an avid runner, he swears by it. Clearly, it’s next on my wishlist.
  5. Nike No Show Training Socks: These socks, oh, these socks. I dread the days they’re all in the dirty laundry and I have to wear socks that don’t provide arch support. These guys stay in place, wick moisture, and feel great!
  6. Nike Pro Sports Bra: I don’t have the greatest need for support in the chest region, but I swear by this bra as do many women of all shapes and sizes. Much like the rest of the Nike lineup, this piece stays cool even when you’re hot.
  7. Nike Dash Running Short: These are those heavenly shorts with the built in underwear and pocket! All I’m saying, is don’t knock it till you try it!
  8. Lululemon Run Swiftly Long Sleeve Shirt: Living in FL, I don’t normally get a ton of use out of my winter workout wear, but this year was a cold one! I wore this top over EVERYthing and found that it kept me warm when I needed to be warm and cooled me down when I was ready.
  9. Nike Pro 2.5″ Compression Shorts: These little shorts feel like a second skin. The compression feature keeps your legs looking smooth and they move in every direction you do.

Nourish and Be Nourished::

How to Survive Traveling Solo with a Toddler::

Great Lakes!-3Piper and I just returned from our first solo trip as we jetted to Boston to celebrate my sister’s bridal shower.  It was a perfect weekend, but one that caused me lots of anxiety prior to departure.  I was certain that Piper would still hate sleeping in the pack & play, that she’d want to run up and down the aisles of the plane, and that we’d all get little sleep as our normal routine got thrown off kilter.

Well, I’m happy to report that none of my worries came to fruition and, with some sage advice from moms who have gone before me, a little preparation, and some fantastic helpers once we arrived, we truly had the best time! In an effort to pay forward some of the wisdom I gleaned, and lessons learned, I give you my tips on how to survive traveling solo with a toddler:

1. Pack ALL of the snacks! The great news is that you can take as much food as you want on an airplane. So long as you’re flying domestically, you can pack all of the solid food you want! You’re also exempt from the 3 ounces of liquid rule if you’re needing to bring breastmilk, formula, or water for your little one to drink.  As you can see, I went all out with Piper’s favorite snacks and it really helped to keep her occupied during the flight.  I also nursed her during take off and landing which kept her ears from going bonkers from the pressure.

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2. Wear that baby out!   Little did I realize prior to having a child of my own, but there are several major airports around the country that are home to full blown playgrounds in the terminals.  We scored big time with the Kid Port at Logan Airport in Boston.  We’d just left my mom at her gate (sad!) and Piper was all but ready to melt down, so I praised the good Lord when we stumbled upon this padded child paradise.  Here’s a great round up of some other kid-friendly airports across the country.  Having flown out of Nashville, we also loved walking up and down the carpeted terminal corridors listening to great live music!IMG_9954

3. Imitate home! Did I mention that I was anxious about Piper sleeping in the pack & play? I did? Oh yes, that’s because I was pretty much convinced we’d have some big time protests from a little lady when she was put in that tiny mesh cage.  Thankfully, Jesus answered all of my (and all of my mama friends’) prayers and Piper did not mind the pack & play AT ALL.  I took the advice of several moms and made that thing as cozy as I could! I packed a crib sheet from home to make it familiar and I think that made all the difference.  I made sure to pack her sleep sack and download a great (read: free) white noise app as well and we had perfect, peaceful nights.  Thank you, Jesus!screen568x568

4. Develop new skills! Thankfully, Piper is at an age where it doesn’t take much to entertain her.  I had several moms suggest I pack some new toys, books, items for her to “discover” on the plane.  This was a key tip and I learned that the plane itself had lots of interesting ways for Piper to occupy her time! We spent countless minutes stuffing things into the on-board barf bag (is there a nicer name for that? surely there has to be, but I don’t know what it is), opening and closing the window shade (sorry guy in front of us who was trying to sleep), and reviewing the in-flight safety information card (over and over and over).  On the way home, Piper spend a considerable amount of time playing with all of the items in her new purse (thanks, Lala!), all while wearing her new glasses. flight

5. Wear that baby! This is probably my favorite tip because it makes me feel like I have a little baby again and not an on-the-run toddler.  Beyond the bonding benefits of babywearing, strapping your baby to your person at the airport makes things a breeze! You get to stay snuggled through security, you have both of your hands available, busy baby is off the ground, and you literally can’t lose sight of your little one.  I was really surprised at just how content Piper was for the entirety of our time strapped together.  To streamline the process even further, I simply checked our small umbrella stroller (free of charge) which is able to be used, and then stored, in a cinch! babywearing

I’d love to hear the tips and tricks that have worked for you and your little one(s)! This is, by no means, a comprehensive list, but I sure hope you’re able to incorporate some of the bits that worked for me the next time you find yourself traveling solo with a toddler!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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The Midas Touch::

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I am a golden girl. (I’m not a Golden Girl, although I do hope to have a friend named Blanche one day.) There’s no way around it. I love gold jewelry, gold shoes, gold nail polish, gold decor, gold paint. If it’s gold, chances are I’m a fan.

So, I was a bit shocked when I realized that I’ve gone 27 years of my life not knowing about liquid gold leaf. Truly, shocked. This stuff is so precious to my obsession, that it may as well be actual liquid gold. It’s not only golden, but it’s so luxurious that I just can’t get enough of it!

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I first purchased a $5.49 bottle of Liquid Leaf at Hobby Lobby to use for some projects I was working on for Mijanne’s bridal shower, but have since found multiple uses for it. For the purpose of today’s post, I’ll share with you my first liquid gold DIY project.

Because she is such a classy lady, we decided to throw Mijanne a sparkly cocktail party instead of a traditional bridal shower. Much to my joy, this allowed me to incorporate all sorts of golden details (more of that to come!). One such element came in the form of up-cycled candles from the dollar store. That’s right, the dollar store.  Below are instructions and photos of the finished product.

To date, this is one of my favorite DIY’s because it met the ultimate crafting trifecta: quick, cheap, and easy!

What You’ll Need::

  • Glass candle holders, or any other item you’d like to gold-ify
  • Liquid Leaf, in gold
  • Foam brush
  • Painter’s tape

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What to Do::

  1. Measure the width of the striped you’d like to paint, and tape appropriately.
  2. In a well ventilated area, use the foam brush to apply a thin coat of liquid leaf to the exposed area of your candlestick.
  3. Allow first coat to dry completely, apply second.
  4. Wait a full 24 hours for second coat of liquid leaf to dry. Remove tape.
  5. Voila!

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I also went a little crazy free-hand coating vases and planters to add a little golden light all around the house.

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So, the next time you want an easy project with a little glam, get yourself some liquid leaf and get crackin’!

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Homemade Coconut Milk::

Have you ever decideD to bite the bullet and do things “the hard way” only to be blown away by how easy the hard way actually is? If you answered “yes!”, then you are certainly not alone! You see, now that little Miss P is a year old, she is no longer getting the majority of her nutrients from breast milk.  She eats LOTS of solid foods and can actually drink “regular” milk when I’m not around to nurse.  This means I have said sayonara to the pump and have started introducing breast milk alternatives into her diet.

If you’re unfamiliar with baby nutrition, it’s important to note that baby brains need fat, and lots of it.  In fact, about 50% of calories consumed by children aged 12-24 months should be from fat.  Meaning that it’s important for little ones, whose stomachs are still relatively small in size, to receive a concentrated amount of fat until they reach 2 years of age.

Of course, not all fatty foods are created equal, so that’s where my “hard way” journey begins.  When Piper turned 1, I knew that I didn’t want to move her from breast milk to cow’s milk.  Cow’s milk can be very inflammatory and after having visited the lush, green pastures of dairy farms in the UK, I just don’t quite trust the US dairy supply.  Call me crazy, but I knew there had to be some comparable alternatives.  After consulting P’s pediatricians both here in Franklin and in Orlando, I settled on trying goat’s milk first.  Well, that didn’t go over so well and Piper pretty much turned her nose up at it every time I offered.  Coming from a girl who will eat almost anything, I decided to try something else.

Enter: coconut milk.  Again, after much research, I decided that this naturally fatty alternative to mammal milk was a winner. Coconut is high in vitamins, minerals, fat, and fatty acids.  One in particular, lauric acid, is actually antiviral and antibacterial which is one of the properties that makes breast milk so beneficial and a huge reason as to why I’ve stuck it out this long in the first place.

To make a long story short, and to get to the DIY part of this post already, I found that I was pretty disappointed in the coconut milk options available commercially.  Not only is coconut milk found in the grocery store expensive, all of the options I found contained synthetic vitamins and emulsifiers, and although neither are particularly harmful in small quantities, I knew there had to be a simpler form I could feed my little one without unnecessary ingredients.  Thankfully, it only took referencing some tried and true resources to find my match!

Using the recipe provided by the Food Renegade, I set out to concoct homemade coconut milk.  And, let me tell you, it is cheap, easy, and delicious! Seriously.  It takes all of 5 minutes, from start to finish, to make a quart of the stuff and it is just SO good! The best part of all (even better than the fact that it ended up costing about a quarter of the price of the store-bought version) is that Piper loves it and I love giving it to her knowing that she’s getting lots of great nutrients without any gunk!

Below is my adjusted recipe for a quart of homemade coconut milk.  Please try it for yourself and enjoy a glass on me!HOMEMADE-2

What You’ll Need::

  • 5 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 Cups Organic, unsweetened dried coconut
  • High powered blender. I recommend this Vitamix!
  • Cheese cloth
  • Air tight storage container

What To Do::

  1. Soak your coconut overnight in 1 cup filtered water to rehydrate.  This step is optional, but will restore some of the coconuts nutritional density.
  2. IMG_9126Place coconut in bottom of blender.blender
  3. Heat remaining 4 cups of water to a simmer
  4. Pour water over coconut and blend on high for 2 minutes.blending

 

5.Strain through cheese cloth and colander into bowl or stock pot. Be sure to ring out the cheese cloth once it’s cooled a bit to get all of the remaining liquid.cheesecloth

6. Transfer coconut milk to air tight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.coconutmilk,jpg

7. Enjoy!

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Summer Skincare Essentials::

If you can’t tell by the growing number of “hotdogs or legs” photos in your Instagram feed, or the hoards of seasonal allergy sufferers in your midst, let me inform you, outright, that summer is on its way! Having moved away from the land of endless summer last year, I am actually pretty smitten with the idea of hot, long days that drag into hot nights.  The time for shorts and tank tops and flip flops and top knots is finally here!

Beyond prepping my dresser drawers for the changes that are happening, I’ve learned that skincare really changes with the seasons when you live in a climate that actually experiences them.  It seemed as if my skin never really adjusted to the dry, cold winter, so I’m doing everything I can to keep my skin happy this summer.

Below are a few of my new favorites that have been added to my old summer standbys.

Summer Skincare Essentials

 

  1. Coconut Oil:: By now, you’re likely familiar with the numerous benefits of coconut oil, but be sure to read up on them here if you’re not! I love coconut oil as a total body moisturizer, but perhaps my favorite use for it is as an eye makeup remover.  The gentle, anti-microbial oil will remove the toughest of makeup (say bye-bye to your waterproof mascara!) while nourishing your skin.  I love doTERRA’s fractionated coconut oil as it’s always in liquid form and ready for use!
  2. Honest Sunscreen SPF 30:: I find it interesting that most commercial sunscreens are full of harmful toxins when their job is to protect your skin.  That’s why I love Honest Company’s zinc sunscreen.  It shields my skin from harmful rays while protecting my whole body from harmful chemicals. Win-win! (PS-This new formula is way easier to apply than the original Honest SPF!)
  3. Neutrogena Naturals Makeup Remover Wipes:: I’ve been a long time fan of facial cleansing wipes and am pretty much obsessed with these from Neutrogena’s Naturals line.  They’re great to keep in your beach bag or by your nightstand for a no-fuss-get-clean routine. And, I love that they’re promoting environmental conservation with their #wipesforwater campaign.
  4. Beauty Counter Any Time Eye Cream:: Beauty Counter is one of those companies that just speaks to my heart.  They’re skincare, makeup, and healthy living all rolled into one! I highly recommend checking out their mission, and the crazy stats they present on toxins in the American personal care products.  Then, try this eye cream! Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than admitting that they tender skin surrounding my eyes needs a little extra TLC.  This lightweight eye cream is smooth and luxurious and just what my aging smile lines (read: wrinkles) need.
  5. Raw Honey:: You can go ahead and call me granola for this one (honey is a staple in any granola recipe, after all), but raw honey has been a secret gem in my skincare lineup.  Much like coconut oil, raw honey contains anti-microbial properties that are great for cleansing your skin.  Get a jar of the sweet stuff and you have a cleanser and exfoliant in one! Just rub a teaspoon of honey into damp skin and rinse with warm water.  You’ll swear you at a spa!
  6. Jason Age Renewal Moisturizing Cream:: Remember those smile lines I mentioned earlier? Well, I’ve officially made the switch to a moisturizer that will help my face age gracefully.  This moisturizing cream is safe for my insides, and oh-so-rich for my outsides. It’s chock full of vitamin E to help keep my skin moisturized for hours. Can’t beat that!

Did I miss any? I’d love to know what your go-to summer skincare essentials include!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

Mama’s Productivity Guide: Part IV-Give it Up::

It may be a little (ok, a lot) behind schedule, but I’m pretty thrilled to be rounding out my Mama’s productivity series with this last, most-important part of the productivity equation.  For those of you who have followed along, I hope you’ve gleaned some practical tips for getting more out of your every day grind.  The tools, the planning, and the preparation are all key to keeping the crazy away, but nothing is more important than what I share today.

Nothing.

You see, the reason I love scheming to be efficient, effective, and productive is simple.  I am a perfectionist.  I am type-A to a T.  I am a control freak.  I like having my ducks in a row, knowing exactly when to expect the next quack.  And that is why the finale of this series is so crucial.

I give you Mama’s Productivity Guide, Part IV: Give it Up!

Of course, I’m not telling you to give up any progress you’ve made in creating a well-planned and executed daily routine, but I am telling you to give up all of the worry and stress that comes with being a busy mama.  Give it up to God.  Hand over the big picture and hand over the minute details for there is nothing too big or too small for God.  He is in the nitty gritty with us and loves nothing more than when we trust in Him to work through us.

GIVE IT UP

I am reminded daily of how much I need to give it up and let it go, so I am certainly preaching to the choir here.  But, I can tell you from experience, when I practice this discipline of releasing control, that it is so freeing and so empowering.  When I release my worry (or “concern” as I often mask it), I am allowing for space in my emotional/mental/spiritual life that can be filled with what is Good.  What is Good in God.  What is Good in me. What is good in my family.  What is good in my home.

When I release the perfectionism that ultimately bogs me down, I am allowing for space in my emotional/mental/spiritual  life that can be filled with truth.  Truth about God.  Truth about me. Truth about my family. Truth about my home.

When I release the control that I cling so tightly to, I am allowing for space in my emotional/mental/spiritual life that can be filled with love.  Love for God.  Love for myself.  Love for my family.  Love for my home.

And don’t we all need more of what is good, more truth, and more love in our everyday lives?  I would venture to say we do.  In my mind, this is where the rubber meets the road.  We can arm ourselves with the right tools, and plan and prepare until the cows come home, but if we don’t set our minds on the big picture, it’s all for naught.

So, won’t you join me in allowing God to work through the busy-ness? Let’s hand it all over to Him, so that He may reflect the blessings of our busy lives back down on us.  One productive day at a time!   Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Piper Turns ONE | First Birthday Essentials::

IMG_6006I can’t tell you how many times I was warned that the first year of Piper’s life would fly by.  I’d attempt to give you an estimate, but it’s truly too many to count and I now know why because it is absolutely true.  The days of swaddling and sleeping in my arms are gone.  My little baby has turned into a big one year old and I am so proud and honored to be her mama and to have survived the first rear relatively unscathed!

As sweet P’s birthday approached, I finally “got” it in regards to a 1st birthday.  If you’d asked me several months ago, I’d tell you that we were going to have a plastic table cloth with the Disney character du jour on it, accompanied by a couple plastic cups and a sheet cake.  We’d keep it simple and sweet because Piper wouldn’t remember it after all.

Wellllll, I will be the first to admit that the more I’ve gotten to know this sweet girl of mine, the more I wanted to really celebrate her first year with a little handmade love.  I can’t pass up a good project, after all, and a birthday party for my little P was the perfect outlet to get crafty and sentimental and generally overwhelmed with joy.

After bouncing a few theme ideas around in my head, I settled on something girly and outdoorsy.  Piper loves being outside and it seemed like a perfect nod to her preferences and the slight woodland theme her nursery exhibits.  I started with the invitation and let it flow from there! (PS-If you need some inspiration coming up with the perfect color palette, I’d highly recommend using Coolors!)

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From there, I really just created the necessities.  If you ask me, EVERY first birthday part needs the following:

  • 1st Year Board:: Love this little shout out to all of Piper’s stats and loves. I took LOTS of inspiration from my friend Kristen at Dusty Slate Co. and created a simple board that serves as a sweet reminder of the first 12 months of Piper’s life. IMG_8657
  • Photo Booth:: This one is a no brainer for any party.  Give your guests somewhere to snap a photo or two to commemorate the special event. And, I have to point out that my Dad is responsible for those birch trees. Are they perfection, or what!? IMG_0762
  • Smash Cake:: Because I’m obsessed with human anatomy, I’ve chosen to keep grains out of Piper’s diet until her first molars have come in.  So, a traditional cake was out of the question.  What I did do, however, was combine some of her favorite foods to assemble a “cake” for her.  The cake layers were made from fresh watermelon and the frosting was whipped white sweet potatoes and frozen blueberries.  I have to admit that it turned out just as I had hoped!

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  • Year-in-Review Photos:: Cue the mama tears on this one! For Piper’s 1st year, I took a photo of her in a white onesie, on a white backdrop, as she grew another month older.  Put ‘em altogether and you’ve got one precious photo collage! It’s remarkable to see how she changed month-to-month, from a tiny newbie to a big one-year-old.

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  • Goodie Bags:: As a kid, I always looked forward to the goodie bag I’d get to take home from a friend’s birthday party, so I made sure we had a little something for our guests as a parting gift.  In keeping with our woodland theme, everyone had a paper bag of trail mix to munch on during the trek home!

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  • Food & Drink For All:: Of course a 1st birthday party is for the kids, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the adults.  I chose a variety of snacks that kids would enjoy, but definitely favored the adult palate with fruit, veggies, dips, and some sweets.  And lest I forget the smash hit “beermosa” for all those parents!

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  • Loved Ones:: This should go without saying, but no birthday celebration (especially a first birthday) is complete without the world’s best guests.  It was such a joy to see how many people just adore our little Piper Mae.  She is truly blessed to have so many people who will be loving her forever!IMG_8659

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Oh, and one more thing! Can we please just talk about the “1″ crown and tutu that my mom MADE for P’s big day!? They were pretty much the cherries on top of her sweet sundae self! IMG_3511

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

Get the Skinny::

You must believe me when I say that I never thought I would be “that” mom.  You know, the mom that gushes about being a mom, and never stops talking about the x,y, and z that goes into be a mom? Yeah, that’s the mom I never thought I’d become.  But, over the course of the last 10 months, I have realized that it’s nearly impossible to actually avoid being “that” mom.  For me, at least. I became A mom in a flash the moment Piper was born, and have slowly (but surely) become “that” mom with each passing day.

Honestly, my inclination is to cringe at the very thought of stating that publicly, but when I really think about it, I’m beyond honored to be “that” mom.  My new role, the one that I will hold for the rest of my life, is the most important role I will be given.

So, I’m diving in head first and singing it from the rooftops, but not going back on my promise of refraining from keeping the pages of Nourish all about baby.  And, I (and you, really) have Skinny Mom to thank for the opportunity! Their blog, “where moms get the skinny on healthy living” has been a great resource for me over the last year and I am thrilled to be a part of their new Resident Moms program.  I’ve been given the space to gush and discuss all things mama without feeling the pressure to hide being “that” mom.  Badge-300x300-2

I hope you’ll follow along and I promise to keep you up-to-date on my goings on over at Skinny Mom.  Below is a recap of my first month-ish as a Resident Mom. I encourage you do spend some time getting to know Skinny Mom as there are more recipes, workouts, and healthy living tips than any mom (or non-mom) could ever imagine!

  1. A brief intro to the Resident Mom program and why I chose to join!Jordan-weaver-2-copy-400x400
  2. An easy, healthy Greek inspired lunch!wrap
  3. Tips for complimenting your sweet, glowing, gorgeous pregnant friends!pregnant-women-talking-copy1-400x400
  4. An amazing breakfast recipe for nursing mamas!oatmeal-400x400

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Mama’s Productivity Guide: Part 3-The Night Before::

Welcome to Part III of Mama’s Productivity Guide–The Night Before! Due to my lack of productivity, if you’ve been following along, you’ve had lots of time to get the hang of planning for a productive week and implementing some of the supplies needed to execute successfully.  If you’re just jumping in, you can catch up on Part I (gathering the right supplies) and Part II (the planning phase) and meet us back here!

In the last post, we discussed the importance of planning and preparing for your week ahead.  We reviewed the big picture, so today I want to share a couple practical tips that will get each day off to a seamless start with just a little prep the night before. I’m what most people would consider a morning person, and because I really love my mornings, I want them to be stress-free and a chance to enjoy the happiness a fresh day brings. (Side note: I’m pretty sure every baby in the history of babies is happy in the morning, no?)

Below are my top 3 tips for setting yourself up for a glorious morning:

Fitness Trends-2

 

  • CLEAN UP! This may not be fun, or what you want to hear when it comes to preparing for a good day, but it must be done.  Studies have shown that a tidy environment can help you think more clearly and make healthier decisions, both of which come in handy when you’re a busy mom.  Beyond that, I just love the feeling of waking up to a clean house.  So, whether you have a pile of papers to organize, or a pile of dishes to clean, 20-minutes can go a long way in getting your space in order for a productive morning. And, can I please just give a shout out to my Dyson vacuum?  The thing is a work horse in a house with a big, shedding dog and I don’t know what I’d do without it.
  • STAGE YOUR BREAKFAST! This is one of those things I started doing when I starting working a serious 9-5.  It made me feel like I’d truly made it to adulthood.  And, now more than ever, I rely on the routine that my coffee maker will be ready to go the minute I wake up (mark my words, one day I will  buy a fancy one that has a timer so my cuppa is already  brewed upon waking!).  I go so far as to have the spoon, sugar, and mug in place for an easy pour.  I also make a habit of setting up my breakfast as best I can the night before.  If I’m having oatmeal, the pot filled with water is already on the stove, ready to go.  It just seems that a few minutes’ preparation at night can buy me beaucoup time in the morning, making for a smooth transition into the day with a fully fueled body!
  • PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE! This might be the simplest of all, but the most important tip for a hassle-free morning.  If you need to get out the door quickly each morning, do yourself a favor and simply set everything you need to physically get going right by the door.  Whether it’s your keys, wallet, purse, packed lunch, laptop or breast pump, it is amazing how much time you can save by having it all ready to grab as you make your exit.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone on an all-out manhunt for keys in the morning.  I’d much rather go to bed minutes later than planned in order to gather my belongings, than stress that I’m going to be late for an appointment, meeting, play date in the morning.

These simple steps have been game-changers for me when it comes to the productivity of my mornings.  On the rare night that I forego the prep, I truly regret it in the morning.  I find that once I get started on the clean-up in the evening, I have enough energy to get everything done and then some.  I’d love to hear some of the ways you harness your evening in order to enjoy your morning!

 

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Mama’s Productivity Guide: Part 2-Planning::

Congratulations! If you’re reading this post, you’ve already gathered your productivity tools and are ready to tackle the planning phase of creating a productive routine!

If I’ve taken liberties in assuming you’re prepared and/or desiring to find an attainable, sustainable level of productivity as a mama, please forgive me.  I know you’re a busy woman and I don’t mean to be pushy.  I’m simply excited that you’re here! No matter where you find yourself on the equipped/desire scale, I hope you’ll reference Part I of this series and join us back here for Part II: The Planning Phase.

No matter how you slice it, in order to be productive in any area of your life, you must be prepared.  That’s why I shared my must-have tools last week and I’d surely be lost without preparing to plan in order to be productive.  See how it builds on itself?? I certainly find it encouraging to know that I’m nurturing productive habits in an effort to be more productive.  It’s a beautifully un-vicious vicious cycle.

Because this cycle can keep growing and building and potential become complicated, I’ve broken down my 5 key steps to planning for a productive week.  The idea is that you do ALL of your planning in one day so as to create some margin in your week for other things.  I like to plan my week on Sunday, but you may decide Saturday work better for you.  Whatever you decide, planning can be super easy if you just commit to it.  So, let’s get right to it!2

  1. Plan your meals! This is a task with which I have such a love-hate relationship.  It can be daunting to try and figure out what the whole family will eat for the whole week, taking into consideration duplicate ingredients, weekly sale items, etc.  But, it doesn’t have to be! Last week, I shared this fun meal planning notepad. It helps me to write everything down on a good ol’ piece of paper and get a bird’s eye view of the week.  You can also try the FREE Skinny Mom Supper Club.  Just by signing up on their website, you get recipes and shopping lists for the WHOLE month, EVERY month!
  2. Getting all your shopping done on Sunday! This step goes hand-in-hand with meal planning.  It’s no fun, but it will make for a much simpler, stress-free week.  So, grab the meal plan you made and figure out what ingredients you have on hand and what you need to purchase.  Spend the extra time on the front end breaking your lists into departments.  This will help for an efficient time making your way through the grocery store.  And, my favorite tip of all: load your groceries onto the belt in the order you’d like them bagged.  Put all of your like items together so your unpacking process at home is a breeze!
  3. Schedule your workouts! There are categories of life that just HAVE to happen.  We have to feed the baby, so we have to make ends meet, so we have to work.  There is no room for “doing it later”, so why do we often settle for later when it comes to our health? This is a toughie, because it requires effort, and can often be seen as eating into our free time.  But simply put, you just have to MAKE time for exercise and commit to it.  You will have more energy for the remaining items on your t0-do list once you’ve put it some time at the gym, or walking around the block, or running the stadium stairs at the local high school.  It doesn’t matter how you decide to move, it just matters that you do it. Write it down. Make it a must.  Feel worlds better!
  4. Choose your outfits! Whether you spend your days in a boardroom or a playroom, it’s so helpful to have your outfits chosen for the entire week by Sunday night.   I have been known to waste a good 10-15 minutes in the morning trying to figure out what to wear.  It’s a terrible waste of time and something that is so easily avoided.  So, check the weekly forecast, pick out your clothes, iron them, choose accessories, and hang each outfit on it’s own hanger.  This is a great way to save some precious morning moments each day!
  5. Schedule “Me” Time! Every busy mama knows that stealing a few moments alone can be like hitting a reset button.  So, really set aside at least one full hour each week for yourself.  It can be just a few minutes each day to call your BFF on the other side of the country or an hour-long massage.  Whatever you choose, commit this time to recharge and reap the benefits of that extra energy for the rest of the week!

I would love to hear some other secrets to setting yourself up for a productive week!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Mama’s Productivity Guide: Part I-Supplies::

I have only been at this parenting thing for a little over 9 months, but my Type A personality has managed to cram a whole lot of systems, processes, and “Standard Operating Procedures” into that time span. Moms have the toughest job out there and only fellow moms can truly understand that.  In my relatively short time as a mama, I have been a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and a work-from-home mom, and I know that there are in’s and out’s of each that are glorious and challenging.

I also know that each of those challenges, although unique in personals situations, can be eased with a few key productivity methods that I’d love to share with you! These are all tried and true, and have been tested with much trial and error.  I’ve broken them down into a multi-part series for ease of absorption and implementation and hope to help my fellow mama’s get a little extra time to snuggle their little ones, or in some cases, simply take a shower. :) part1-supplies

 

Part I of the Productivity Series is: Supplies.  Before you can even being to get a handle on the never-ending to-do list that comes with the territory of being a mom, you have to arm yourself with the tools to succeed.  This planning/organization phase may just be my favorite part of being productive.  It is so important to build yourself a strong foundation and, thankfully, you just need few easy-to-procure tools to be as prepared as a Boy Scout building a fire.

Take a look at the image above.  These are my 6 MUST-HAVE supplies for a productive hour/week/day/month.  Having a generally productive life starts with having a productive day, which can’t happen without having a productive couple of hours blocked off in your schedule.  Productivity builds on itself, as will this series.

So today, I’m keeping it simple.  I’ll reference these must-haves as we move through the specifics of being productive, so here’s a quick overview.

My 6 Must-Have Productivity Supplies::

  1. A great day planner.  Get yourself a planner that you love.  Decide if you want spiral- or perfect-bound.  Lines or no-lines.  Tabs, pockets, stickers? The world is your planning oyster.  Find a day planner that you can write copious notes in and have at it. [Personal preference: forego digital apps.  Technology is awesome, but when it comes to be motivated to get stuff done, nothing beats a hand-written list!] My 2015 pick is the great Kate Spade gold polka dot planner. Too cute, right!?
  2. A great clip board.  This is one of my favorite tools for being productive as it serves a simple, important purpose.  As your to-do’s pile up throughout the week, you will certainly be thrown curve balls, which is where your clipboard comes in.  Do your best to collect all the curve balls and clip them where you can see them.  I do this with bills that need to be paid, grocery lists that need to me made, etc. The clipboard helps me prioritize as the must-do items make their way to it each day.
  3. A great water bottle.  This one is SO easy. Proper hydration is the easiest way to improve your health and thereby, increasing your energy.  Every mama needs energy, so you MUST get hydrated! Not sure how much you should be drinking? Diving your weight, in pounds, by 2.  Whatever that numbers amounts to is the number of ounces you should be drinking each day.  For example if you weigh 150lbs/2=75oz per day.  Get yourself a glass or stainless steel water bottle (they’re easier to clean, don’t get as gunky, and won’t leech chemicals into your water!) and drink up!
  4. A great set of multi-colored pens.  Once you start really planing your days out by the hour, you’ll want to be color-coordinated.  Not only will this make your daily agenda look really fun, but it will help you mentally compartmentalize what you need to get done! I’m obsessed with Paper Mate‘s felt pens.
  5. A great snack.  This one goes hand-in-hand with proper hydration.  I am a HUGE fan of snacking, but I often allow busyness to get in the way of eating mindfully.  Sometimes I flat-out forget to eat and find myself starving and willing to eat pretty much anything. This is a surefire way to throw your whole day off and feel sluggish.  So, find a snack that you love and have it readily available in convenient portions.  My personal favorite: raw almonds.  They’re delicious and full of protein which will help curb your appetite!
  6. A great meal planning list.  You don’t have to purchase a notepad specifically for meal planning, but I highly recommend it! Meal planning is easily the biggest time and money saver in our household, so I love having a no-brainer planning tool to help.  More on the specifics of meal planning in a future post.

So, there you have it: my must-have productivity supplies! As mentioned, we’ll get into some of the ways these tools can help you be productive in your every day life.  It’s not at hard, or draining, as it may seem.  So, take some time to get your supplies in order so 2015 can be your most productive year ever, mama!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Quickie Weekend Workout::

I get that there are brunches to be had, but what do you say, we all start our Saturday with a quickie weekend workout? The work week may be over, but your workout should stick around! It is so easy to start slacking the minute you leave work on Friday/turn off that alarm that has rudely awoken you each day/put the kids to bed and pour that big glass of red wine.

But, we’re in this healthy lifestyle thing for the long haul, right? Right!

So, let’s combat the slack with a 10-minute, super efficient interval circuit.  I promise you won’t regret it and the croissants and mimosas will taste much better after you’ve burned some serious calories!

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This is a hard-hitting HIIT circuit that should be done in a Tabata format.

Sound confusing? You can download a FULL explanation of all of the exercises here, but let me break the timing down for you a little more!

You have 4 exercises that should be repeated with the following timing until you’ve reach 2 minutes for each.

EXERCISE 1-Burpees::
:20seconds MAX effort
:10seconds REST
Repeat 4x for a total of 2 minutes

EXERCISE 2-Split Lunge Jumps::
:20seconds MAX effort
:10seconds REST
Repeat 4x for a total of 2 minutes

EXERCISE 3-Mountain Climbers::
:20seconds MAX effort
:10seconds REST
Repeat 4x for a total of 2 minutes

EXERCISE 4-Triple Pulse Squat Jumps::
:20seconds MAX effort
:10seconds REST
Repeat 4x for a total of 2 minutes

RUN::
:20second SPRINT
:10second Walk
Repeat 4x for a total of 2 minutes

Repeat ENTIRE circuit if desired and be sure to start with a dynamic warm up and cool down with a good stretch afterward. Please keep in mind that this is YOUR workout.  Go at your own pace, listen to your body, and be mindful of any limitation you may have.  The best workout is one that connects you with your body.  So, be sure to check in with it!

Cheers to the weekend!

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Love Endures::

His Love-2

This morning, being New Year’s Eve, I found myself reflecting on all of 2014 and the countless lessons I’ve learned.  I had Piper standing in my lap looking out the window as I drank my morning coffee.  I looked at her chubby cheeks, rosy from teething induced drool.  I took in the tiny hairs on her head that are just now growing past her ears, stick straight just like her mama’s.  I watched her bounce up and down waving at nothing out the window but the outdoors itself, an appreciation for which she’s already picked up from her dada.

And, as I contemplated the sweet disposition that is truly unique to her, I found myself overcome with awe; in awe of her actual existence, her creation, the perfection that she encompasses as a tiny human.  I found myself overcome with gratitude; grateful for her actual existence, her creation, the perfection that she compasses as a tiny human.  And, I found myself overcome with humility; humbled by the grace God has poured out on me as her mama.  Above all else, I found myself overcome with love; a love so deep that I couldn’t comprehend an ounce of it prior to Piper’s first breath.

From the moment she entered this world, lungs firing on all cylinders and limbs shooting out like a starfish, I’ve been given miraculous glimpses into God’s love for His children.  Having simply played small a part in God’s blessing of bringing Piper into existence, I am now able to understand a tiny speck of how wide, how long, how high, and how deep the love the Lord is for us.

As much as I desire to protect Piper’s innocence and shield her from the evil of this world, God’s protection of all humanity, through Jesus, is perfect.  More intense than my love for Piper is God’s all-enduring, never-changing, unconditional love for us.  Just as there is nothing Piper can do (come toddler tantrum, teenage rebellion, hell, or high water) to separate her from my love, so it is with God and us, His children.

His love endures. His love endures.  His love endures.

That is my big lesson for 2104.  It is one that was taught to me when I met a little baby girl and one that I will carry with me from now into eternity.

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His love endures.  His love endures.  His love endures.

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
11 and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
His love endures forever.
14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

16 to him who led his people through the wilderness;
His love endures forever.

17 to him who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
18 and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
22 an inheritance to his servant Israel.
His love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies.
His love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

 

May God bless you in the New Year and all the days of your life.
Nourish and Be Nourished::

My Baby Wish List::

There is no denying that it is officially the Christmas season! Thanksgiving is over, Advent has begun, and it’s December.  All signs, no matter whose book you’re reading, point to Christmas! That being said, you have no excuse to not start checking those shopping lists off as there are just over 3 weeks left before the big day.

Seeing as this is my first Christmas as a parent, I’ve had to take some time to think about what Piper “wants” for Christmas. As silly as that sounds, I have grandparents asking and we must oblige.  Besides, Piper has become a busy little bee who is curious about everything these days, so little toys that allow her to explore her new skills are super fun!

I’ve put together this short list of items/categories that are suitable for babies up to 2 years or so.  They’re practical for Mom and Dad, fun for baby, and within a wide range of budgets so you really can’t go wrong!

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  1. Baby Einstein ANYthing | Seriously, you cannot go wrong with Baby Einstein.  From play mats to bouncers to light-up toys and DVD’s, this stuff is amazing.  All of their toys are colorful and educational and will keep baby’s ever-changing attention span for a solid amount of time. We (read: Piper) LOVE every Baby Einstein product we’ve tried!
  2. OhJustDandy Bunny Ears Teether | My little bunny has 4 teeth already and wooden teethers have been great for her sore gums! This wooden ring teether (treated with coconut oil) has soft cotton, washable bunny ears that are filled with crinkle paper.  So, it’s one part teether, one part toy and all around adorable! $10
  3. Cahootsie Handmade Turban | Some of my sweet friends started the cuties baby accessory line and I just die for these precious turbans! All of their products are handmade with LOTS of love and include headwear, scarves, bibs, and bow ties for the most darling and dapper little ones! $12 for the Confetti Turban pictured
  4. Melissa & Doug ANYthing | Once again, you really can’t go wrong with any toys by Melissa & Doug.  They’re educational, award-winner, super fun, and there’s something for every age!
  5. Honest Company Diaper Bundle | Here’s the thing about this gift: it truly keeps on giving.  For just $80/month, you get 6 packs of diapers and 4 packs of wipes.  They’re free of harmful ingredients to keep baby’s bum baby soft and are just about the cutest under garments on the market.  If you want to be an A+ gift-giver to the parent of a baby, create an account, add your form of payment, and set that puppy to auto-ship every month. Voila!
  6. Richard Scarry Books | I just about melt each time I read “I am a Bunny” to my little P.  She and I both love it! All of Mr. Scarry’s books are adorable and it’s NEVER too early to start reading to your sweet ones.

Once again, these are gifts that Piper (read: she AND her parents) would love to receive! I’d love to hear what my fellow parents have to add to the list!

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My Mama Wish List::

Because I had so much fun making my Fitness Wish List last week, I thought I’d make a few more to share before Christmas sneaks up on us all.  This week’s is for all us mamas! I chose all of these gifts because they’re practical AND a little bit indulgent all at the same time.  Ok, I guess the dark chocolate is all indulgence, but it has anti-oxidants so we’re still being productive here, folks!  Once again, there are items on this list that fit into anyone’s budget and are all on my actual wish list this year!

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  1. Mukluk Slipper Boots | A good pair of “sweater moccasins” should be at the top of all mamas’ lists! These slippers are SO comfy, they slip on in a jiff, and have a soft leather sole making it easy to ninja your way around the house when baby is sleeping! $12-15
  2. Artifact Uprising Instagram Photo Book | These books are simply beautiful.  But, they’re also affordable and an easy way to turn Instagram into an actual scrapbook.  Every mama means to make one of these documenting her sweet baby’s life, but she sometimes gets side tracked and would LOVE for you to make one for her! She’ll probably even cry happy tears when she opens it. $18
  3. The Yellow Table Cookbook | I recently attended a lovely cookbook release party at author Anna Carl Watson’s parents home here in Nashville.  My sweet friend Hannah invited me as she knows Anna from her time living in NYC and I fell in love with The Yellow Table.  This book is seriously beautiful and the recipes simple and perfect.  $30
  4. Videri Dark Chocolate | I almost think I don’t even need to give you my reason for this one.  It’s chocolate.  I know the crew that owns Videri and they are as top notch as their confections.  Also, it’s chocolate. $8
  5. Volcano Candle | I’ve actually included this item on a gift guide once before.  But, it’s a staple. It smells clean & crisp, which every house that contains young humans can use more of, and who doesn’t want their home to smell like Anthropologie? $28
  6. doTERRA Family Physician Kit | My mother-in-law gifted this essential oil kit to me just before Piper was born and it’s been a total life changer.  From frankincense during labor to lavender to soothe teething pain, we use the oils daily in our home.  They’re safe & effective which is a double whammy every mama deserves! $167

I’d love to hear what other mamas are hoping to receive this Christmas.  Or, better yet, what you plan to give to the mamas in your life!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

My Fitness Wish List::

You may wonder why I’m already talking about my fitness wish list when we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet.  And, I know. Believe me, I know that talk of Christmas prior to Black Friday makes some people’s eyes bleed. I’m sort of one of them.

However, I also know that the Christmas season (defined here as the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas) is a busy one and people like to get their act together as soon as possible and, well, I’m just trying to help those over-achievers out! And because I’m so into helping, I thought I’d share some of my must-haves for the fitness enthusiasts in your life.

So, here are 6 items that should be on every fitness wish list.  They run the budget gamut, so there’s truly something for everyone!

BLOG_FITNESS_WISH_LIST

  1. Kind Bars |  This is an easy start! At just a few bucks a pop, these make a great stocking stuffer.  They’re my favorite, on-the-go, healthy snack made of real ingredients everyone can pronounce!
  2. Herschel Supply Co. Duffle | This bag. Oh, this bag! With numerous prints from which to choose, organized storage, and quality materials, this is the perfect bag for the gym or a weekend away. Prices range from $80-$130.
  3.  Gold Nike Fuel Band | We all know that wearable fitness trackers are going to be BIG this year. There are tons to choose from.  However, I’m of the notion that if it looks good, I’ll be more likely to actually wear it and use it.  So, my vote goes to the Nike Fuel band, in GOLD, of course! $150.
  4. Bkr Glass Water Bottle | You don’t need me to tell you how toxic plastic water bottles can be, so let me stick to the good news: this adorable glass water bottle from Bkr, complete with a precious heart on the silicone sleeve. Another product with endless color combos for your hydrating pleasure. $30-$35 for 500mL bottle.
  5. Twistband Hair Ties | Confession: I actually make these hair ties for myself.  I buy the elastic, dye ‘em and tie ‘em.  But, remember, we’re working against the clock this time of year, so why not purchase this super cute 5 pack from Twistband? It’s just $10.50 for the lot and, once again, there are tons of cute options!
  6. doTERRA Deep Blue Rub | If you love the fitness enthusiast in your life (and I’m pretty sure you do if you’re interested in their fitness wish list), then you’ll want to get them a tube of this! Deep Blue is doTERRA’s soothing essential oil blend for sore muscles and achy joints.  And, I can speak from experience when I say that this is the best recovery rub out there.  It’s made with therapeutic grade ingredients and brings instant relief.  $7-$40 depending on product size

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few people (ahem, Mom), I need to email this to.  Maybe you should do the same? ;)

PS-If you’re wondering about fitness apparel, check out my absolute favorites here!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

 

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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness ::

Have you ever heard the expression “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and wondered what in the world it meant? Yeah, me too.  I’m sure there’s some short, sweet answer as to why we compare Mr. Clean to God, but I have had an unrelated revelation of my own this week that has had that saying running through my head.

You see, we just moved to the Nashville area (Franklin, to be exact, for those of you who know the area or are Civil War buffs) for no other reason than the fact that we wanted to.   Our decision to do so was not a spontaneous one, but it was still one that required a formidable amount of faith.   We didn’t have typical jobs lined up and we leased a house without ever seeing it.  For this type-A, event-planning, control-freak, that’s a big deal. But, and this is a “but” that is foundational in my faith, I just had to trust that this move is what God has had in store for our little family all along.

Faithful.001

Key to this story is the face that the house that Adam and I lived in when we got married had no dishwasher.  It was was an adorable craftsman-style bungalow from the 1920′s, but it definitely needed some TLC that we, as renters, just weren’t in the position to provide.  So, for 2.5 years, I washed dishes, by hand, in a sink with a faucet that was much too low and water pressure that was virtually non-existent.  There were times I stood at that sink for an hour, continually turning that water on-and-off, on-and-off just trying to trick the it into flowing at a pace stronger than a trickle.  It was mental Chinese water torture for me.

So, when we decided to move, I adamantly declared that our next house WOULD have a dishwasher.  I checked every rental listing we came across for a dishwasher and if there wasn’t one, I quickly moved on without question.  So, when my mother-in-law told us about this cute little house in the perfect little neighborhood, my first question was, of course, about the dishwasher.  And, when I was told that this perfect little house didn’t have one,  I not only questioned its perfection, but was sorely disappointed. However, the more I learned about this perfect little house, the more I realized that I could suck it up for another year and wash dishes by hand.  I was making a H-U-G-E sacrifice for sake of simply moving out of our house on time.  Huge, I tell you! ;)

Fast-foward a month and allow me to divulge just how I feel about the dish situation in this new little house.  Y’all, (I live in Tennessee now, so I can say “y’all” without feeling weird, ok?)  I couldn’t be more grateful for what the lack of a dishwasher means in my life right now.  From the moment we arrived in our new town, I knew we’d made the right decision.  I knew that the anxiety Adam and I both felt as we packed up the house that we came home to from our honeymoon, the same house that we brought our sweet Piper home from the hospital to, was all so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  I knew that God, indeed, had us in the palm of His hands the entire time we debated what was going to be best for our family.

We love it here.  Our lives have been enriched in ways that will need some blog posts of their own for elaboration.  What I will tell you know is that we are carving out the lives that we want for Piper and any subsequent children we may have in the future.  It’s truly a perfect fit. And, do you know what? Do you know what reminds me of God’s faithfulness in a way that I never imagined?  Washing dishes.  By hand.  Each morning, noon, and night, when I stand over the kitchen sink in our perfect little house washing dishes, I am reminded of the way that God always, always, always gives us exactly what we need, especially when it’s something that allows us to see, feel, and experience Him more clearly.

And that’s exactly what happens when I wash dishes now.

So, yes, cleanliness is next to Godliness for me, but in a way I never knew possible and in a way that just fills me to the brim with gratitude for His perfect orchestration, and humility for the ways in which I doubted and worried and tried to maintain control that was never mine to begin with.

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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Healthy Lunch-That’s a (Carrot) Wrap::

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, healthy lunch, boy do I have a treat for you today! As you may recall, lunches have, historically, been an issue in the Weaver household. Never feeling fully satisfied with the options of food I keep stocked in my kitchen, I have somehow managed to hit it out of the park yet again when it comes to lunch. I’ll go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for this one because, really, it’s a big deal.

healthy lunch: roasted carrot wrap

Below are the details of this healthy lunch creation. Once again, this dish is totally customizable based on your taste preferences, but this particular version is delicious and certainly nutritious!

What You’ll Need::
-Whole Wheat (or gluten free) Wrap
-Organic Plain Greek Yogurt
-Organic Whole Carrots
-1/2 Cup Cooked Organic Quinoa
-Banana Peppers
-Preferred Organic Greens
-Tomatoes, sliced
-1/4 Yellow Onion, diced
-Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
-Freshly Ground Black Pepper

What to Do::
1) Wash, cut, and roast carrots according to this AMAZING recipe. (seriously, these are THE best carrots you’ll ever taste and SO easy)

roasted carrots
2) Toss the diced onions onto your roasting pan when your carrots have about 7 minutes left
3) Cook Quinoa according to package instructions
4) Place wrap in oven on a piece of tin foil (that you removed from the top of your carrots) when your carrots have about 5 minutes left
5) Slather a healthy scoop of greek yogurt onto your wrap and add S&P to taste
6) Top wrap with greens, tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, and quinoa
7) Enjoy!

This quick wrap is chock full of protein to keep hunger at bay all afternoon long making it healthy and satisfying. I’d love to hear how you make it your own!

 

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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A New Chapter-Nourish Bootcamp::

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Last week marked the beginning of a journey about which I am so exited! If you recall, I started a little thing called Bikini Bod Bootcamp last year.  It came about after Reagan asked me to workout with her prior to her family’s annual beach vacation; and what was intended to be a little partner workout turned into a B-I-G group of women exercising together 3 days per week.  It was so much fun and so inspiring and the nickname “bikini bod bootcamp” kind of just stuck.

But, as much as I loved BBB, the name was never quite right.  You see,  I love exercise.  I love what it does for the health of your body as well as your psyche and emotional well being.  I love that a little bit of movement can extend your life for years.  So, when our little partner workout turned into Bikini Bod Bootcamp, I was thrilled.  But as more and more women joined our group, I felt that using the phrase “bikini bod” was misleading.  We were working for so much more than a bikini, and in several cases, a bikini was never the finish line or even anywhere along the route to success.

So, now over a year after the first BBB began, we have evolved.  We have the same goals, but a new name.  We are now: Nourish Bootcamp. 

When I decided that another round of bootcamp was going to take place this summer, I knew that I wanted to shed the bikini, both in name and in principle.  I want these bootcamps to allow us to strip down and become comfortable in our own skin.  I want these bootcamps to empower and strengthen.  I want these bootcamps to equip the women who participate to be their strongest selves no matter what shape or size they may be.  I want these bootcamps to Nourish.

So, here we are.

It’s only week 2, but I can assure you that the women who make up the inaugural class of Nourish Bootcamp are working for something far greater than a bikini bod. They are working toward whole body health and strength, and of that I could not be more proud.

In fact, I want to share some of the responses I received when I asked them what they love most about their bodies prior to our first session:

I am grateful for the whole thing. My body gives me a place to live and a vehicle by which I can experience the world.”

“It’s ability to change!”

“That God made it capable of so much! I love that I’m able to push my body to learn new things! I just think the human body is incredible.”

As I’m sure you can understand, I am incredibly inspired by these women and hope that Nourish Bootcamp is an opportunity for them to experience the incredible power of not just any body, but of their  bodies.

Nourish and Be Nourished::

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