We were planning a super fun and full spring break road trip to Washington DC, but with the current situation obviously that is not happening. 😪 We will instead be trying to fill the week with family fun around the house and hopefully be able to social distance ourselves at the park and on hikes.
To prepare for the original trip I had pulled together some things for full days of touring, walking, and enjoying the outside views of monuments and museums.
Comfortable shoes was #1 on the list!
1). I have heard so much about these Day Glove Flats by Everlane. Every review I have read or seen spoke about how comfortable these shoes were from the moment you put them on your feet. Well, the all the reviews were absolutely right! Not only are they amazing comfortable right out of the box. They needed little to no break in time! The leather so very soft and I love the vents on the inner sole for breathablity. They also come I also come in almost 20 colors!!
2) The next pair of shoes I was packing were these Grand Court Sneakers from Adidas! These sneakers are so versatile and look great with leggings, jeans, skirts and dresses. They also have a cloud foam inner sole for total comfort!
#2 on my packing list was a great Spring jacket
I found this super cute jacket at Old Navy! It is water resistant, which caught my eye immediately since you never know what the days will bring in terms of weather. The jacket also has a micro fleece lining in the body and pockets for a touch of warmth, as well as satin lined sleeves for ease of putting the jacket on. It also has a bungee cord waist to pull in and full zipper closure with snaps. It comes in 3 colors.
I also picked up a new denim jacket for the trip! Of course I already have a classic one, but liked the more oversized look of this one. It is a little bit longer and oversized which is perfect this time of year to layer over light sweaters and sweatshirts!
#3 I needed a great crossbody!
I love a good crossbody bag because it leaves my hands free to explore the museums and monuments. It also allows me to hold my kids hands while walking around! I picked up this cute quilted style on Amazon and added the Strap to jazz it up a little. It is also the perfect size for your wallet, phone, lipgloss, and touring maps!!
Enjoy your Spring Break what ever it ends up being!! As long as you are with your family and friends it will be perfect!
My anxiety has hit an all time high by trying to balance this new normal! We all work through our stress in different ways and working out for me has been an instant stress reliever. But I am also one who dreads working out. I just have never loved it. BUT, I love how I feel when it’s over and that is what keeps me coming back.
Before COVID-19 I went to my local kickboxing class 3 days a week for a sweat filled hour and whole body workout. But since my gym had to close like all the other gyms, I was left feeling panicked about how I would stay in shape and get my workouts in. I was worried also for my mind. I knew if I didn’t have my me time to really focus on relieving the stress, it would make everything else that much harder.
One bright spot to the social distancing and lack of normal life as we know it, has been the amount of companies offering free services online. The fitness world has been no exception and I’ve seen tons of adds for companies inviting you to try their programs for free.
One goal I’ve had for myself during this home isolation period is to slow down more and embrace what I have around me: my home, family, food, etc. So when I was looking for workout programs to try, I wanted to try new ones that would allow me to move a little slower and be more focused and present.
I chose 2 different programs that are pushing me out of my comfort zone in many ways and have allowed me to use this unique time in our lives to try something new. I’ve detailed out my thoughts on the 2 programs below and shared links if you want to try them for yourself. No matter what you are doing, make sure you are spending time on yourself to relieve that stress. It will make you much stronger in order to face all the other pieces of this new world we have around us.
I have wanted to try pilates for a while! But couldn’t find the time to make it to another studio during the week. So when I saw this, I thought, why not give it a shot? It is focused on all the body parts I want to see the most improvement in: core, glutes, legs, arms…well I guess everything!
What I love:
1. Classes are 30 min. I used to do hour long classes in the gym but I can’t find that solid hour with the whole family being in the house together. But 30 min I can carve out each day!
2. You don’t need lots of equipment. I use an old yoga mat for most classes. The teacher uses pilates discs for some and light weights for others. I used a paper plate in place of a pilates disc and used the weights I have as best as I could. Some classes I just skip them since I don’t have ones light enough.
3. Modifications for every move. These moves target some of the weakest parts of my body, which is why I chose them, I want to be stronger. But that also means that I can’t keep up with every single move. So on those that I’m struggling more, there is a modification I can follow so I’m still staying active and getting stronger till one day when I can do more.
4. Feel results quickly. Immediately after the class I feel tighter and more toned. By the next morning, I can really feel the muscles that were worked. But I’m not in pain to the point that I can’t do anything the next day. It’s the good pain you feel when you know you’ve been challenged and it’s going to make you stronger.
5. Access to other workouts. I chose to try the XB Pilates program first. But there are a ton of other options if you want to experiment: barre, dance, yoga, cardio, HIIT, weight circuits….so many choices. I’m only trying the pilates option for my free trial, but I could see myself staying with the program past the trial to have so many options while at home.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy, sign up here and get started! Open Fit
I will be honest about my history with yoga. I have tried different classes and videos over the years and nothing seemed to click. It was too slow and dare I say…a little boring. But Bulldog Yoga has been a breadth of fresh air and so far, I am loving it!
My favorite parts:
Classes are engaging and set to great playlists. I find the music and flow of the classes to be energizing and I can remain focused! I also love how the instruction is clear so as a beginner, I can still follow along and feel like I’m making progress even though I’m not physically with the teacher.
Different class lengths. Some days I have more time but most days I have only a small amount of time to dedicate to working out. I love that most of the classes are around 30 min but some are longer. So if I’m really feeling up to it, I can push it and take a longer class!
Different types of classes. As a beginner I knew I needed to start at the beginning level. But I’ve already moved on and experimented with the other types of classes. Some are slow and about flow. Some are faster and more intense. And others are focused on certain parts of the body. As I get more experienced and stronger, I’m excited to try different types and levels to really push myself.
Different teachers. As with any type of workout, different teachers have different styles. This practice is not any different. As a beginner who is learning different techniques, I enjoy learning from all different teachers. They all communicate and run their classes in different ways which keeps my mind and body challenged. Once I find my favorites, I can replay their classes as many times as I like!
Two great options for you to consider, though I’m sure there are many great programs out there for whatever you are looking for. Just stay as active as you can and it will help as we navigate this new reality!
Stay healthy and wishing the best for you and your families during this time!
Hi guys! Liz here! There aren’t many beauty products that I can say have changed my life. But dry shampoo is one that definitely makes the list.
Once you become a mom, you are just kidding yourself if you think you will have time to wash and style your hair every day. If you are a mom that is actually able to do this, then you really are a supermom!! For me, I can make time 2 days a week to wash and style my hair- please don’t judge!
I luckily have thick and wavy hair that doesn’t get too oily. But my secret to making it the 3 days in between washes, is dry shampoo!
I tested the below products over the course of 3 days to see what the pros and cons are of each, and which is my new favorite! Commission links are provided to check out the products for yourself!
How to use dry shampoo: It is very simple to apply dry shampoo. I typically use it in the morning on dry hair before I do any other styling. I first bend at the waist and tip my head over and apply some of the shampoo at the base hairline and at the hairline behind my ears (where I get more oily). I use by finger tips and rub the shampoo in- almost like when you are rubbing true shampoo into your scalp. I flip my head back up and then apply it to the roots on the top of my head. I do this by lifting sections of my hair and applying some shampoo on the scalp. I make sure I don’t put any in the section of my hair where my part shows since I don’t want any shampoo to be seen. I then use my fingers tips again to rub in the shampoo all over my scalp. Then I style as normal using my flat iron, curling iron/wand etc. You can also re-apply it if you need a pick me up later in the day or if you are re-styling your hair again at night before going out.
This item is a spray with a translucent powder. It was the only spray I tested. I was nervous as I had only used powders before. But I ended up loving it!
Easy to apply. Pointed the nozzle to the section of scalp I wanted to apply to and pressed down. Was easy to control the amount of product by doing short sprays.
For a few seconds your scalp will feel wet. But that does not last and does not ruin your hair texture or styling. It felt very cooling and soaked in well.
Increases volume, doesn’t weight down the hair, and no residual product left on the hair
Scalp felt great after applying- soaks up the oil and scalp feels refreshed and not wet. I wasn’t sure if I would love the spray since I was nervous of the product being wet at first. But it dries fast and feels great on the scalp and hair!
Similar to the powders, it is very easy to blend into your scalp using your fingertips.
Only cons are:
I’m not sure how long the bottle will last. I’ve used for a few months and it feels more empty than the powder bottles I have after using for the same amount of time
Higher price than the other options I tried. Love the product, but not sure if it’s worth the extra cost.
Here are before and after pictures using the Oribe product.
This product was a little more difficult to apply vs the Verb. It was more difficult to control how much product is released. I still applied directly on the scalp but lightly shook the bottle vs squeezing it so only a small amount of product was released. Then if I needed more, I would repeat that step.
Very easy to blend into your scalp so the powder is not noticeable
Increases volume, doesn’t weight down the hair. Is a little more coarser on the hair compared to the Verb product above.
Soaks up all the oil and the scalp feel refreshed
Middle of the road price point. Expecting bottle to last awhile like the Verb powder has.
Only con is that this product added more texture and coarseness to my hair that is already thick and coarse. It may be better suited for hair that is thinner and softer since it would provide the right amount of volume and texture.
Here are before and after pictures using the Bumble and Bumble product. This is the product with the most obvious change in volume, especially by the roots!
Left: Before Right: After
So now that I’ve gone through all the details, I can reveal my new favorite dry shampoo…..
And the winner is……VERB! For me, this product was the overall winner. It worked great on my hair and left both my scalp and hair feeling refreshed and clean. The price is very affordable! And you don’t have to use much of the product, so I think it will last a long time.
I hope you find this product review helpful!! I highly recommend trying a dry shampoo. It’s been a lifesaver for me.
Getting older is not easy. The aches and pains, struggle with staying in shape, and changes with my skin. I noticed my face becoming more combination skin than it had ever been and all my fine lines becoming more defined. I realized that my everyday makeup and skin care routine was just not working anymore. So, I set out to try new brands and products. After spending a ton of money on foundations (that I never had to wear before), powders, mascaras (mine old one all of a sudden started to run on my under eyes), eyebrow pencils (never had to use before), moisturizers, anti-aging creams, and finally eye creams…….. I finally found the perfect products for me.
First of all it is important to mention that most of IT cosmetics contain an SPF of 50 and all contain anti-aging ingredients.
I struggle with wearing a foundation. I hate the feeling of anything on my face and I never had to wear a foundation prior to turning 40 something… I absolutely love their Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer with SPF 50. It is so light on my skin and a very little goes a long way, so my skin looks like my skin and not covered in heavy makeup. I use the Fair Light shade for reference.
Next, I had to find a powder. You actually do not need a powder with the Bye Bye Foundation as it dries matte, but I just like to set everything with a powder. I found Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti- Aging Finishing Powder. LOVE IT! The color is translucent so it does not layer more color on your face and just softens the look of your foundation. I pair it with the Bye Bye Pores Blushand combined they make my skin look and feel so soft. And my pores disappear!
Now, for my mascara problem. The mascara I had been using since I was in my teens (literally) started to flake and run. It looked terrible! I guess my eyelids and lashes are more oily. Since I had so much luck with the other IT products I had tried I decided to give the Superhero Mascaraa go. Great purchase, love it more than my previous mascara! It does not flake or run and makes my lashes full and so pretty.
Eyebrows….. Where do they go after 40? All of a sudden one day they were thinner than the day before and so on and so on….. This was new territory for me, as I have never had to use an eyebrow pencil before and was worried that they would look so unnatural. Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil by IT is perfect for a beginner like me. It comes one color that matches back to all hair colors. The point is soooo skinny it is so easy to control and the color is so soft you can control how dark it goes on very easily.
Believe me I am very aware that makeup is a very personal thing and what works for me may not work for everyone. I am just so excited to have found a product line that has helped me feel good about myself again and wanted to share with all of you. If you are going through what I did, don’t give up and keep trying different lines of products. There are so many out there that specialize in all kinds of skin issues. GOOD LUCK!
This has been a great month for Amazon items! Coming from the industry we are sticklers for quality, fit, and design. With this in mind there are, at times, more misses than hits with our amazon finds and we only bring to you the items that we truly love! Check out the winners from January below!
Dolman Sleeve Boatneck Tunic: This amazing top can be worn several ways. It is long enough to be worn with your favorite leggings or jeggings and the perfect length to messy tuck into your favorite jeans! It’s is easily dressed up or down. What caught me right away was the hand feel!! It is so so soft and comfy. This top is great to wear now and will be a staple for me throughout Spring!! It also comes in at least 8 colors!
Leopard Double Loop Belt: I loved this belt the minute I saw it! It is the perfect width for all my jeans and looks great with jeans or work pants. Again can be worn casual or dressed up and would look great around a dress too!
My #1 Amazon Pick of all Time – Daily Ritual Joggers: I have been wearing these non stop for a year now. They are my go to pant for the weekends or any day I just want to be cozy and comfy. The fit is perfect and true to size. Mine have been washed tons of times and look just as good as the day I received them! THESE are a must have!!!
Wide Brim Fedora Beach Hat– I keep talking about this hat because it truly is amazing! I had been looking for a hat that looked great, provided good coverage for my face from the sun, and held up well while travelling and at the pool and beach. This one is perfect! Love the styling and it comes in so many colors and different trim details. I chose the classic Beige with a Black Grosgrain Ribbon. Best part? It is truly packable! It traveled it my suitcase packed in between all my other stuff and was perfectly fine when unpacked!
Packing Cube Set– Such a great value for these cubes! 5 packing cubes come in this pack in 3 different size ranges. You receive 2 large, 2 medium, and 1 small all at a great price! My favorite aspects of these cubes include the see through mesh windows so you can tell what you packed into each cube, the 3 different size ranges so they work well in all different size bags, and the handles that allow you to efficiently move them around as needed without your stuff becoming a mess! Two benefits I found was that the cubes forced me to cut back on how many items I was bringing before I stuffed it all into my bag and then realized it didn’t fit! I filled the cubes as much as I could and then I had no problem fitting it in my suitcase! The other benefit was packing to come home. By having different cubes I could segment out all the dirty clothes to make washing when I got home a breeze.
Camo Print Yoga Pants– (Shown in Deep Grey Camo) These yoga pants are top rated for a reason!! Such comfortable pants and the fabric is so soft. The high waist fit perfect and doesn’t budge while exercising or just running around on the weekends. Length is perfect for my height (5’3″) and hit right at my ankle. Pockets are a great add as well! Overall, I love these pants so much, especially for less than $30!!
Hope you enjoy our top Amazon picks this month as much as we do!
Much like chili recipes, everyone has their favorite Beef Stew Recipe. After trying several different ones I took pieces of each and came up with my own! So if you are looking for one to try I am sharing mine with you all!! Let me know what you think!
First, this is what you will need!
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 1/2 lbs stew meat cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 bottles, 24 ounces, of beer (I just use whatever is in the house)
2 cups low sodium beef broth
Small can of Tomato paste
Small bag of baby carrots
1 green pepper diced
3 stalks of celery
3 large red bliss potatoes, washed and diced
Second, this is what you do with it all!
1) In a Dutch oven heat oil and butter over medium heat. Season beef with Adobo and add the beef to the pot in a single layer. Brown on all sides, may need to do this in batches. Once done remove beef from pot and set aside
2) Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until caramelized, approx 10 mins.
3) Sprinkle onions with flour and stir to combine for 1 min.
4) Return the beef to the pot and add the beer, beef broth, tomato paste diluted in 1 cup warm water. Bring to boil then lower and simmer for 1 1/4 hours.
5) Add the carrots, green pepper, celery, and potatoes to the pot. Return to boil then simmer for 45 mins.
Serve with a nice crusty bread!!
Ugh! I forgot to take a picture of the final product!!! Very amateurish, I KNOW!! I will add it next time……
We were lucky enough to spend an amazing afternoon at the Mathis House, Victorian Bed & Breakfast and Tea Room, to celebrate my Moms birthday. What an amazing place. This 122 year old, 8000 sq ft home resides in Toms River, New Jersey. If you live in New Jersey it is so worth a trip to enjoy an amazing afternoon tea service or a stay in one of their 5 bed & breakfast rooms.
Since we went for the afternoon tea service, I will start there! You walk up to your table so beautifully set and you choose your tea cup! All of the china throughout the service is beautifully miss matched. Makes for fun conversation.
This service includes a pot of tea for each person and a 5 course lunch. They have, I believe, over 80 teas to choose from on a regular day and also additional special teas during holiday season. We each choose a different tea for all of us to try such as Spirit of Christmas, Orange & Cranberry, Peppermint Bark, and Love Shack (such fun names, right?!). Each pot was served in these adorable cozies!
The first course was this delicious pasta salad followed by broccoli and cheese soup served in the prettiest tea cup. What I loved was that there was no rush and plenty of time in between courses to enjoy the food and your company.
The third, fourth and fifth courses were served all together on a beautiful 3 tiered server. On the bottom was finger sandwiches (cucumber, chicken salad w/ apples & grapes, egg salad, and artichoke tarts), next was scones served with clotted cream, then topped off with amazing sweet treats! I think my daughters face say it all!
I can honestly say that every single item tasted better than the last! I was so full I could not eat another thing for the rest of the day!
A super fun part of the experience is to really get into the role with these fasinators. They also have beautiful hats to chose from if you forgot yours at home! I loved looking around all the different rooms to see all the guests taking part in this tradition.
After our tea service was done, we were invited to take a tour of the second floor where the Bed & Breakfast resides. We were created by the owner who told us all about the amazing history of this historic home.
Next, I was able to take pictures of 4 of the 5 beautiful rooms you can stay in! Each have their own en-suite and was more beautiful than the last. They are also named!
This is really just a taste of what awaits an afternoon or weekend spent at the Mathis House. If you get a chance to visit you will be completely taken care of and sure to thoroughly enjoy every minute of your visit. Check it out here http://www.mathishouse600main.com.
As soon as it starts to get cold outside I go into soup and chili making mode. Here is a super easy and tasty chili recipe my family loves. It makes approx. 10 servings and freezes great to feed the family throughout the week for those of us who scramble to make dinner Monday – Friday! You can also make it your own by adding or removing ingredients to your liking!
2 large white onions chopped (to save time and tears I buy pre-chopped onion from the produce dept)
3-4 garlic cloves minced or grated
3 lbs ground beef (I use ground turkey to make slightly healthier)
Adobo to taste (I adobo the meat before I brown it)
28oz can crushed tomatoes
4 tbs chili powder
1 7oz can diced green chilies (if you like your chili on the spicy side then add another 7oz can), want to note I use the 1 7oz can and my kids love it, it is not too spicy for them
Salt and pepper to taste
3 15oz cans red beans (I use Goya red beans, but a lot of people like to use black beans or kidney beans)
Add on Ingredients. These are some my family likes to add, but feel free to change up to suit your taste:
Shredded cheddar cheese (I use low fat or fat free)
Sour cream (I like to use low fat)
White or Brown Rice (sometimes we like to serve the Chili over rice)
Sauté onions until translucent over medium high heat. 3-5 minutes
Add the mince garlic and cook for 1 minute
Adobo the ground beef before adding to pot
Once the onions and garlic are done add the ground beef (or Turkey) and cook until all is browned. 6-7 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste
Add the tomatoes, chili powder, and green chilies. Bring to boil
Add the beans
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed
Let simmer for 6 hours on the stove (feel free to transfer to slow cooker at this point and cook on low for 5-6 hours)
Enjoy!! I would love to hear what you like in your chili recipes!
If you are lucky enough to be travelling soon for Spring break, or possibly planning a trip this summer, I have some new travel accessories to recommend from Amazon!
I recently went to Florida over New Year’s and picked up some new accessories prior to my trip. They all worked out great so I knew I had to share them!
I’ve always considered myself a good packer. Yes, on every trip I usually pack a few extra pairs of shoes and outfits that I didn’t need. But all in all, I am an expert clothes roller and therefore can fit a ton in my suitcases. But, all of those clothes come at a cost since I’m usually holding my breath that I don’t exceed the weight limit at the airport and have to pay extra money right before my trip!
So before this trip, I saw lots of people recommending packing cubes and calling out how they changed the packing game and figured I would give them a shot.
I picked these styles from Amazon due to the good reviews at a very reasonable price.
5 packing cubes come in this pack in 3 different size ranges. You receive 2 large, 2 medium, and 1 small all at a great price! My favorite aspects of these cubes include the see through mesh windows so you can tell what you packed into each cube, the 3 different size ranges so they work well in all different size bags, and the handles that allow you to efficiently move them around as needed without your stuff becoming a mess!
As I mentioned, the 3 different sizes work great to fit into all different size bags. I bought a set for myself, my husband, and both kids and they worked great in each of our bags. My favorite size is the medium because I was able to fit 2 of them side by side on one side of my suitcase. I also liked the small size because I was able to segment out some items that I didn’t want to get lost with all the other clothes.
You may ask yourself, why do I need to use cubes when I am able to get all of the items in my luggage no problem? Good question, I thought the same thing! The biggest benefit I found was that the cubes forced me to cut back on how many items I was bringing before I stuffed it all into my bag and then realized it didn’t fit! I am that person that would end up sitting on my bag to try to get it to close, then it would be too heavy….you see how this goes. So by using the cubes, I filled the cubes as much as I could and then I had no problem fitting it in my suitcase! The other benefit was packing to come home. By having different cubes I could segment out all the dirty clothes to make washing when I got home a breeze. Love these cubes and catch wait to use them on my next trip!
The next accessory that I loved is this Fedora Beach Hat. I had been looking for a hat that looked great and held up well while travelling and at the pool and beach. This one is perfect! Love the styling and it comes in so many colors and different trim details. I chose the classic Beige with a Black Grosgrain Ribbon. Best part? It is truly packable! It traveled it my suitcase packed in between all my other stuff and was perfectly fine when unpacked! Love having a hat I can travel with that is convenient to take instead of having to carry on and afraid of getting ruined. Love it!
The last accessory I picked up is a new water bottle- the stainless steel Hydro Flask. So many of my girlfriends use stainless steel water bottles but I hadn’t tried on. After all the great reviews I wanted to give it a shot. I was really looking for a water bottle that could hold my drinks at the ideal temperature and not leak! This one is worth the cost!
Now that you have read all about these new accessories that will be great for your next trip, you can click below to shop and see more details!