Considering LASIK Eye Surgery? 6 Things You Need to Know

Tired of wearing glasses and contact lenses and considering LASIK eye surgery? Before you book your surgical appointment there are a few things you must know about refractive eye surgery, from a mom’s perspective. You have to find out if LASIK is the right procedure for you. This vetting process will include an evaluation to determine if you’re a candidate, easing the fears of undergoing eye surgery and of course, figuring out the total cost of the procedure. Keep reading for the top six things you need to know when considering LASIK eye surgery.

Considering LASIK Eye Surgery – My Story

I’ve wanted to get LASIK surgery for a very long time. But I had preconceived notions that prevented me from proceeding even as far as a consultation. I was off-put by what I thought might be an expensive and potentially dangerous procedure. I wanted to know more about the pre-tests, the actual surgical process, and of course the cost factors involved.

I’m a 44 year old work-at-home mom –  was it even “worth” me having the surgery? Wasn’t I doing just fine with my glasses? Isn’t wearing contact lenses good enough? Why was I considering LASIK in the first place? How much would laser eye surgery really change my life?

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

I had questions about LASIK and I wanted straightforward answers from someone I could trust. Now that I’ve gone through the vetting process for LASIK, I want to be the person for YOU! Here are the things you’ve been curious to know about having laser eye surgery.

I received a discounted rate from Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego to facilitate this post series about laser eye surgery. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Medical procedures vary between patients so please seek a personal consultation with Clearview to see if you are a candidate for LASIK.

Are You Considering LASIK? – First, Find Your “Why”

Everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting laser eye surgery. Finding your own “why” is an important first step. For me, personally I’ve been wearing glasses since I was six and contact lenses since I was 12. Over the years I’ve grown increasingly tired of the constant care that glasses and lenses require. Getting my prescription “just right” has been a struggle with many wearisome visits to the optometrist. I’m over the cleaning of my contacts each night, the cloudy lenses, struggling to get the soft lenses in and out, and the big bottles of solution that I have to lug around when I travel. I’m sick of my glasses steaming up when I’m cooking, of them sliding off my face when I work out, the never-ending smears across the lenses and glasses getting knocked when I snuggle my kids. It’s been nearly 40 years of dealing with vision problems that I’m ready to ditch. What is your reasoning for considering LASIK eye surgery?

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

I can’t read anymore without removing my glasses & holding the page REALLY close to my face!

1. Do I Qualify As a Candidate for Laser Eye Surgery?

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to learn more about laser eye surgery, it’s very easy to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK. I was able to call Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in San Diego and schedule an appointment for the following week. Clearview offers complimentary evaluations that will determine what type of refractive eye surgery is best for each patient. I was instructed only to wear my glasses for three days prior to my appointment (not my contact lenses).

My evaluation included a extensive battery of simple eye tests. They use state-of-the-art technology to determine if LASIK is the right surgery for you. If you’ve ever been to the optometrist, many of the tests will be familiar. These evaluation techniques take 3-D images of the thickness and shape of your eye, map the curvature patterns of your eye, and take a microscopic exam of your eye (to check for health related issues).

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

Getting vetted at my extensive consultation at Clearview

The tests are easy and quick. However there are a lot of tests so plan on being there for about two hours. While it’s a good idea to bring a driver with you (since your eyes will be dilated), you should definitely get a babysitter for the kids. The exam areas are small and not a place for little ones.

2. Committing to LASIK Surgery

After the test portion, my counselor Richard asked big-picture questions about my personal vision needs, like what I do in my spare time and for work. He went over some of the surgery details and worked up a surgery proposal with cost breakdown. At check-in I’d received a folder with details on refractive surgical processes done at Clearview and information about medical director Sandy T. Feldman M.D., M.S. Since I still needed to discuss the process with my husband and look at my calendar, I wasn’t able to commit to a surgery date at that time. Which was totally fine – the evaluation is free and I left with all the information tucked in my folder. I liked having the information to take home where I could read it at my own pace.

Everyone I met at Clearview made me feel at ease during the entire consultation process at Clearview and I never felt pressured to commit to the surgery at any time. As someone who likes to take time and mull over a big decision, this was extremely important to me. If you’re a busy mom like me, you’ll probably need to make the arrangements for a good surgery date, along with child care and financial concerns (let alone talking to your husband about everything!) But there’s no need to rush – Your tests and cost proposal are good for 30 days so you have plenty of time to make plans and schedule a surgery date. However if you are absolutely ready to commit on the same day as your consult, you can do that too! They’ll have you scheduled for surgery within a few days.

3. Is LASIK Safe?

Hundreds of thousands of LASIK procedures are performed in the United States each year, making it one of the most common surgeries performed. Clearview uses a sophisticated iFS laser that is completely blade free. Dr. Feldman customizes the procedure individually for each patient, based on their eye evaluation tests. The precision technique takes less than ten seconds per eye. Clinical studies prove that patients have faster visual recovery and fewer dry eye symptoms after surgery with the iFS laser.

Seeing a qualified specialist is tops on my list for laser eye surgery safety. I specifically went to Clearview because of the reputation of medical director, Sandy T. Feldman. She has been performing refractive surgical procedures for over 21 years (over 20,000 procedures!) She’s been trusted by many athletes and even other doctors to perform their eye surgeries.

Refractive laser surgery is a medical procedure. There are no guarantees or promises when it comes to any medical procedure as everyone’s individual results may vary. If a surgical center guarantees “perfect” vision, be wary because that may not always be accurate. Everyone’s final results after surgery are going to be different.

Clearview recommends starting your process with an evaluation in their office and discussing the full details of surgery in person. The pre-surgical testing at Clearview is extensive. As noted earlier, it last around two hours and includes a wide range of vision tests to ensure that everything about the eye is recorded properly. Dr. Feldman personally reviews all records of the tests to personalize the surgery to each patient’s needs.

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

4. Overcoming Fears About Having Laser Eye Surgery

I have to confess that reading and hearing about the LASIK process sort-of gives me the heebie-jeebies! In all honesty, I didn’t want to hear about the actual surgery details at all. Just do the surgery and let me get rid of my glasses!

Naturally the fear of having surgery on your eyes is a major hurdle. You’ll want all the information on how safe the procedure is. You want to feel comfortable before/during/after the surgery. And of course you want to feel like you’re in capable hands. Fear of the actual eye surgery can be a major stumbling block and concerns about the end result often stop people from scheduling the surgery.

Choosing the right surgical center for your procedure goes a long way towards achieving that comfort level. At Clearview, the people you encounter in the office are the same people you’ll see in the surgery room. All of the refractive eye surgery equipment is owned and operated at the Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center so your consultation and surgery will take place in the same office. To put you more at ease, each patient meets with the surgeon before the big day. Having the chance to meet Dr. Feldman and ask your important questions helps with overcoming fear and feeling safe when facing surgery.

5. Best Questions To Ask in Your Consultation

A lot of questions will come up during your consultation. Here are a few talking points you might want to mention:

  • How long does it take to recover after the surgery?
  • What are the possible side-effects?
  • Will I experience pain post-surgery and how long will it last?
  • What kind of vision can I expect a few days/weeks/months after the surgery?
  • When can I go back to work/drive a car/exercise?
  • How in the heck do you keep your eye still during surgery when there’s a laser involved?!
  • How often should I return to the office for check-ups?
  • What happens if my vision gets worse?
If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #Clearview AD

A list of post-surgery medications and needs.

6. How Much Will Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

LASIK is considered elective surgery, which means most insurance companies won’t cover the cost. However I was actually surprised that the cost wasn’t as high as I’d expected. You can expect to pay about $2700+ per eye. Talk to your counselor about payment plans offered in-office. LASIK is also a great way to use your “flex plan”. There are also discounts available at Clearview for military and teachers, so ask about that during your consult.

At Clearview, any post-operative visits are covered in the initial cost for 12 months. This includes any possible “touch up” that might be required. It doesn’t happen that often but great to know it’s covered if you need it. After the 12 month period you can schedule additional check ups and surgical touch ups and the cost is only $750 per eye for these procedures.

My LASIK Eye Surgery Experience

I’ll be having my own LASIK eye surgery at the Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center in a few days and will share all the details with you in another blog post! Sign up for my email newsletter to be informed when my post-surgery update is listed.

If you're considering ditching your glasses and/or contacts and thinking about LASIK eye surgery, read these 6 things to consider before planning surgery. #Lasik #EyeSurgery #Vision #Clearview


Create a More Calm and Peaceful Entryway in Your Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeFineFragranceMist #CollectiveBias

In the last few months, I’ve been focusing on being in a more intentional place. FOCUS is my Word of the Year and I really am trying to press into that. I want to be a more focused mother for my children. A wife who has a great focus on marriage as a whole. And I’ve just started going to night school, so I definitely want to be more focused on my studies. All this focus can leave other things, like housework, in the dust (literally!) There’s only so much of me to go around, you know? Staying focused on a few things means that other things can get neglected. And to be honest, that truly affects my mood. I want to be good at everything, even when I know that’s impossible! But if I neglect ME, then nothing else is going to go right.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Saying Yes to More Peace

My moms group has been delving into the topic of getting more peace in our lives. Bottom line: It’s not your circumstances that bring you down. It’s the attitude and thinking you have about things that ultimately makes you upset. My happiness should not be based upon what is happening around me. It’s not the circumstances, it’s the attitude and thinking I have about them.

I have it on my heart to be more conscious about my mood when I come home after a long day. It’s too easy to fall into the chaos once inside the door and I aim to be more centered and at peace at home. A relaxed and calm Mom is better at all things!

One thing that I do as a reminder to stay serene is take a moment in my entryway to pause. It’s only a moment that I need before the whirlwind hits me. I have my entryway table set up with everything I need for a proper welcome home. I can choose to think about positives I’m grateful for and not the potential craziness that awaits me beyond the entryway. With just a few key items in this place, I’ve made my home a more calm place.

Creating a Calm and Peaceful Entryway

Creating a peaceful and beautiful entryway helps set up the reminders for me about being purposeful. I have carefully chosen only what makes me happy and gives meaning. Clutter is the enemy! Only what absolutely needs to be there should be allowed in this place. I take time each day to make sure this area is tidy. Even if my office desk has a huge stack of papers or there are dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, at least I know that this one sacred place of peace and meditation is clutter-free.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

These are the things I have in my lovely entryway that bring me joy –

Favorite art and calming quotes. Surrounding yourself with lovely things really does go a long way towards calm.

A table runner is a great base to start from. I went with a neutral so that I could choose to add more color with my accessories.

A place to put car keys because hunting for lost car keys when you’re already running late is going to make you crazy. I love this pretty bowl to use as a catch-all from keys to earrings.

I try to deal with mail immediately while it’s in my hand. I sort out the junk into the recycling and put bills on my office desk. Don’t let paper clutter up your special space.

Add a touch of nature, whether it be a vase with flowers, a tiny cactus or something like this bonsai I have. An earthy reminder can help you to stay grounded.

Include something meaningful to you. I have a pretty vintage cake plate and a soapstone container that my husband bought me on our first vacation together.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

Using Fragrance to Move My Mood

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Fragrance Mist helps welcome me home. The scent of fragrance upon coming in my front door is the gentle nudge I need to remind me to breath deeply, stay calm and let the stress of the day slip away. I found these at Walmart. I chose each of these two fragrance mist products for different reasons.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The notes of jasmine and rose with cedarwood and clove in the No.1 Enraptured™ fragrance helps to put me in a loving mood. The No.2 Bright™ scent has a light and bright note of raspberries and orchard fruits with pear and sweet pea.

My DIY entry way tutorial helps to put me in the right mood the moment I walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

The Glade® Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrances are infused with essential oils and masterfully crafted fragrances. Just spray up and sweep side to side. It is a continuous spray so the mist lingers in the air. A quick spray and deep breath from me and I’m in my calm space. Just the welcome home that I need!

How can you use fragrance to transport you into a peaceful place?

Follow this entryway tutorial to put you in the right mood the moment you walk inside the front door. Find out what to use, including fragrance, to add joy into your every day. #GladeFineFragranceMist #ad

How Do You Meet Relationship Goals When You’re Exhausted?

My husband has been a zombie for the last few months. Aside from working six days a week, it’s always at least 10 hours, sometimes 12 hours each day. He literally stumbles home after being on his feet all day, showers, eats dinner and then falls asleep.

“All I want to do is relax and watch a movie”. He says this literally every single day. How often does it happen? Sadly, I can’t remember the last time he made it through more than 10 minutes of any television without dozing off. Most nights he’s in bed before our children, around 7:30 pm. He’s back up at 3:00 am to do it all again the following day.

My husband is finishing up his final semester of school. This year he’s doing his course online, which means that his one day off usually includes catching up on homework. Added onto this, I also started night school twice a week. I get dinner done before he gets home but he’s still in charge of facilitating clean up, baths and bedtime for our four kids. Once my husband called me when I was at school and begged me to come home (I did). He was having an anxiety attack with the mental and physical exhaustion.

We have four children, two that are teens and two that are younger (including a toddler). Thank goodness for the help of the older two. Our only free family time together is Sunday. My husband usually like to check a few things off the to-do list that day, since it’s the only time he has. We also spend Sunday at church, meal planning for the week, doing household things, and maybe a small family activity, like a walk or the park.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

Our last family outing, a Christmas morning hike.

#RelationshipGoals

There are some great ideas out there for growing closer to your spouse. However not many of these relationship goals are relate-able for those of us with tight schedules, small kids or budgets. These are the #RelationshipGoals that probably seem unattainable to most.

  • “Read a relationship book together” – yeah, no time for reading together (I think if I started reading aloud, my husband would be snoring in 2.2 seconds!)
  • “Have regular date nights” – that includes not only the cost of an evening out but also a babysitter (and time we don’t have!) I can’t remember the last date night with just the two of us (that wasn’t a work party).
  • “Have meaningful conversations” – that sounds exhausting! At this point, I’m good if I get the chance to even tell my husband that the toilet clogged or to buy cheese at the grocery.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

Making Time for Deeper Relationships

So how in the heck do you create a deep emotional connection as partners when time is so limited? Can you possibly squeeze in “quality time” every day? How are you ever going to hit those marriage goals when you don’t even have the energy for a two-minute conversation? I have a few ideas on how to foster deep relationship even on limited time and energy.

And lest you think these tips are only for married couples, think about them in terms of your children as well. If you find yourself mentally and physically exhausted to the point where you feel the connection slipping with you kids, try these with your children as well.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

1. Find Time Wherever, Whenever

I know that my time to talk to my husband one-on-one is very limited. If there’s something we need to discuss, it can be hard to do that when there are kids around. We try to squeeze in the time for talk whenever we can. My husband will often call me when he’s on his way home from work and talk over the Bluetooth. When he jumps in the shower, I’ll stand in the bathroom and we’ll chat. After dinner is cleaned up, we’ll often head out with the baby in her stroller for a walk. This gives us about 30 minutes of chatting while we get exercise. Where can you grab a few minutes of talking time with your partner?

2. Know When to Share (and When to Wait)

There are things that I need to talk to my husband about. Upcoming business trips, possible family vacation plans, something I’d like to buy for the house. These aren’t quick conversations. I haven’t talked to him about them yet because the timing just hasn’t been right. When my husband is exhausted, pouncing on him with big news as soon as he walks in the door isn’t going to go over very well! Knowing when to speak and when to wait is golden.

3. Showing Appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated. When you’re run down, it’s too easy to get down on yourself. It’s basic but “thank you” goes a long way.  And if you can’t be there in person to deliver it, leave little messages. I put a Post-It note message on my husband’s phone at least once a week. I write it at night and it’s there in the morning before he leave for work.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

4. Expressions of Affection

Physical intimacy isn’t always going to happen exactly when you want it to. However without intimacy and affection, your spouse may feel more like a roommate. Small gestures of touching, like a hug when preparing dinner, a foot massage while chatting about your day or a back rub before bed can really foster that connection. When I crawl into bed at night I’ll place my hand on my husband’s chest and say a prayer over him as he sleeps. He might not be awake for the affection, but it’s still meaningful to me.

5. Plan Ahead

Okay, so right now you’re time is tight and your relationship might be feeling equally tense. Is there a time in the future where you foresee a break in the craziness? Make a plan for the future, when things slow down. Maybe you’ll plan a weekend getaway, a family vacation or even just a day trip together. Perhaps your plan is even larger, like buying a new house or making a move out of state. Planning ahead and talking about it keeps your relationship moving forward towards something.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

We went to Europe many years ago and it’s in the plans for our 10th wedding anniversary to make another big trip!

6. A Kind Gesture

If you’ve been together for any significant amount of time, you know what makes each other excited. My husband loves to have homemade cookies in his lunch. So if I bake them in the evening after he’s gone to bed, it really does make his day. What small gesture could you do out of the blue that would make your mate happy?

7. Switch Off the Attitude

I’ll confess that when I’m overloaded with stress, I tend to blow up on those around me. My husband is the same, unfortunately, letting the anxiety of the day spent at work flow over into our home life. Before my husband even gets home, I have been really focusing on my attitude and words. I don’t want the little time we spend together to be filled with arguing or upsets.

8. Be Present in Each Other’s Company

Unpopular opinion, but sitting in the same room while you’re both browsing your phones is not going to build your relationship! Put your phone on the charger and use the time you would have spent watching videos on Facebook to chat with your partner instead.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

9. Pray for Each Other

Even when we’re not together, I am thinking about my husband while he’s at work. I pray that he’s safe, that he’s having a good day, that he’s healthy, whatever comes into my head and heart at the time. And each night before I fall asleep I place my hand on his back or chest and whisper prayers over him as he sleeps.

10. Remind Yourself That This is Only a Season

Big breath, “This too shall pass”. Hopefully the tight time constrictions currently in your relationship are only going to last a short amount of time before you’re given a breather. Focus on the future and what you’ll do with growing your partnership when you have more time and energy to invest.

How can you get deeper connection in the relationships with your spouse and children if you're always mentally and physically exhausted? I offer 10 tips with real ideas for busy people.

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)


6 Ways Mom Can Squeeze in Healthy Exercise and Nutrition on the Go

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearNewWater #CollectiveBias

As a busy mom of four (from toddler to teens!) I spend a lot of my time shuttling kids to school, appointments and activities. As someone who just started taking night school classes, I’m also spending more time studying and doing homework. And as a writer, I spend the rest of my spare time typing at my desk. That’s a lot of sitting during the day!

In between I do try and squeeze in exercise. If I’m home, I’ll take my toddler for a long walk with the stroller through the neighborhood (nap time for her, exercise for me!) You’ll often find me doing squats or stretching in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil. I’ve been on a weight loss journey so I’m trying to choose healthier snacks and keep the treats to a minimum. Moms are busy so we have to squeeze in fitness and healthy nutrition whenever and where ever we can!

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

So what can you do to fit in exercise even when you’re out and about? How can you make sure you’re making the best nutrition choices even on a busy schedule? I’m sharing my ideas on packing healthy essentials in the car for those days when we’re on the go. Think about those times in the school pick-up line when you’re just sitting. Think about all that time you spend with kids at the orthodontist! And how about after you’ve dropped off your child at their activity and you have an hour to burn? Here’s what I keep in my vehicle to take advantage of the healthy ME time!

Walking Shoes

There are times when I’d like to squeeze in some exercise but I didn’t wear the proper shoes. Now I keep a spare pair in my car just in case I have time for a quick walk. Lace ’em up and time yourself to see how quickly you can speed walk around the block.

Healthy Snacks

Resist the urge to stop at the convenience store! Not only are the prices high you’ll be faced with too much temptation in the way of sugary snacks. I keep healthy snacks in my car. Choose things that can handle the warmth inside of your vehicle and not melt, like nuts, seeds, popcorn and dried fruits.

Resistance Bands

The school pick-up line is a hurry and wait sort of thing, with a long line of cars waiting for the bell to ring. I line up and put the car in park. By the time my daughter has reached the car, I’ve completed a small arm workout using resistance bands. Resistance bands take up hardly any space and are lightweight, making them the perfect travel exercise choice.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Journaling

Sometimes a thought will come to me that I want to explore more about. But I don’t want it to be just another “to do” in my calendar. I used to keep a diary as a teen and it was a fantastic way of keeping in touch daily with my thoughts and ideas. Dust off your diary, jot thoughts into a journal and just write, draw or doodle.

Nap Pillow

I asked some friends the other day when was the last time they’d taken a nap. Naturally the ladies without the kids were catching cat naps but the women with little ones hadn’t napped in years! Sometimes all you need is to just close your eyes for a few minutes and be alone with your thoughts. I dropped off my son at a birthday party this weekend and while his toddler sister napped in the car, I had the chance to catch a thirty minute nap myself!

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Hydration

I try my best to stay healthy and make sure I’m taking good care of myself. Getting exercise and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is top on my list. So while I’ve been doing okay on the exercise and my diet has been fairly clean, I’ve still be struggling to drink enough water. I’ve had issues with dehydration in the past because I just don’t take in enough fluid. Plain water isn’t my favorite choice.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

I’ve been choosing wanu water as my refreshing beverage throughout the day. wanu water is delicious and it still tastes like water – just better! In flavors like Peach Passion, Kiwi Cucumber and Watermelon Raspberry, you’re sure to find a favorite. I love these wanu water flavors because they’re more like a treat! I found these wanu water flavors at my local Vons.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

But wanu water is not only hydrating, it’s nutritious as well. Fiber aides in achieving a healthy weight by keeping you feeling fuller longer. wanu water has 6 grams of non-GMO fiber, equivalent of 24% of your recommended daily intake.

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

wanu water is naturally sweetened by monk fruit. Monk fruit sweetens foods and drinks without the harmful effects of traditional sugar and sugar substitutions. No funny aftertaste either. And the palatable flavor makes it easier to get not only hydration but also vitamins, nutrients and even fiber.

Click HERE to save Save $1.00 on the purchase of any two (2) 16oz bottles of wanu (Expiration date: 12/31/18).

How are you taking care of yourself, even on a busy schedule?

How can moms squeeze in exercise and nutrition on the go? These six ideas can help you get more rested, fit and better hydrated. #NewYearNewWater AD

Personal Trainer Food Review – How Important is Convenience to Weight Loss?

People want easy. Simple as that. If it’s too hard, most people aren’t even going to try. That is the honest truth about most things in life. And never more true when it comes to weight loss. Bottom line: People want simple and easy weight loss.

Nobody really wants to make drastic lifestyle changes. Nobody really wants to give up what they enjoy and start doing something that sounds un-fun. And if the scale isn’t moving in the right direction right away, forget about sticking with it…where’s the chocolate cake?! *ahem* Sound familiar?

I think that all of these “don’t wanna do that” things are what kept me overweight for so long. Did I want to lose the weight? YES. But did I want to make the appropriate changes in order to make that happen? No, not really! The thought of having to research what I should and shouldn’t be eating, calorie counting and early morning workouts stopped me in my tracks each time. I was frustrated by the time and careful thought it takes to prepare a wholesome and healthy meal. Add in that weight loss on my own was soooo slow! I wanted to lose the weight but I felt like I just didn’t have the time or energy to commit to it.

So how important is convenience when it comes to weight loss?

I’d venture to say that convenience is VERY high on the list when people finally decide to commit to weight loss. Convenience may be the most important thing. Most people want foods that are easy to prepare. They want meals that they don’t have to think about -grab, heat and eat – without having to worry about calories. And they want quick results. They want to see loose pants and lower numbers on their scale fast.

For me, what finally worked was Personal Trainer Food. It’s easy. It’s convenient. It’s real, healthy food. And it totally works FAST. Comparing the convenience, cost and time-restrictions of making your own food versus using the Personal Trainer Food program, it’s no contest. I’ve lost a total of 13 lbs in 5 weeks on PTF – this program is extremely convenient!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

If you’re following along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts, here are the previous posts in the series.

I received a complimentary box from Personal Trainer Food that included 28-days worth of meals and three butter sauces. All thoughts and opinions about this product are my own. Your results on the program may vary. Please note that I use affiliate links in my post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #1 – No Grocery Shopping

Not having to go to the store is a huge convenience! With Personal Trainer Food, you can skip the grocery shopping and easily order all the food and snacks you’ll need for an entire MONTH. A few quick clicks on their site to pick and choose all three meals for the day. And it comes straight to your door. Just make plenty of room in the freezer because 28 days of breakfast, lunch and dinner takes up a lot of space.

Will the Personal Trainer Food program work for me, a busy mom over 40? #sponsored

Convenience Factor #2 – No Meal Planning

When on a diet, it can be tricky to know what you should and shouldn’t include in your meals. I love that with Personal Trainer Food I don’t have to plan anything. I just reach into the freezer, pull out a protein and a veggie, heat it up and EAT. No planning necessary, which takes the focus off dieting. Truly convenient, right?

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Convenience Factor #3 – No Portion Control or Calorie Counting

One of the things that everyone hates about “dieting” is that they constantly feel restricted. On traditional diets, there are food logs, apps for keeping track of foods, caloric calculations and constant measuring of portions. It is such a relief on PTF not to have worry about any of that. Each of the meals is pre-proportioned with the proper amount of protein and carbs.

Convenience Factor #4 – No Hunger

I’ve been on diets in the past and I know you know what I’m talking about here. You’ve already eaten your allotted calories for the day and yet your stomach is still growling. Hunger can leave you so frustrated and give you less willpower to succeed. The portions on PTF are really decently sized. Paired with snacks like cheese, nuts and a daily apple, I’ve never been hungry on this plan. You can purchase some snacks on the PTF site or follow their recommended snack list (it’s sent with your order).

Looking for a weight loss program that is truly convenient and quick but also healthy and nutritious? Read my review series on Personal Trainer Food program from cost, food choices, flavors and convenience factor. AD

Need more? Add cheese, salsa or veggies to your breakfast (no calorie counting!)

Convenience Factor #5 – No Crazy Exercise Routines

I don’t have time to spend hours in the gym, sweating it up everyday. But that’s what we’ve heard works for weight loss. But on PTF, the only exercise that they encourage during the weight loss phase is 20 minutes of walking. Nothing crazy and no huge time commitments. I find it very convenient to squeeze in a quick 20 minutes of walking in my day!

Are you ready to make the weight loss commitment? Check out the Personal Trainer Food program on their website. I highly recommend signing up for their emails (there are frequent coupon codes and specials!)

Taking my 20 minute walk with the baby in the stroller to fit in my daily exercise.


Getting Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Exercising

Getting back into an exercise routine can be a challenge. I know, because I’m right there with you! While I’ve been doing well on the healthy eating side for a while, now I need to work on the exercise aspect. Firming, toning and strengthening are my new focus. However getting motivated to just do the workout has been a struggle for me. I’m home alone for hours with my toddler, so if I’m not playing with her, I’m trying to squeeze in work. Exercise with a toddler around isn’t impossible – but it’s definitely becoming my latest excuse to skip the exercise!

I Just Don’t Feel Like Exercising

I’ve come up with some motivations to move me forward when I have no desire to workout anymore. Sometimes I want to exercise but I’m lazy, I’ll admit it! And I can come up with a million reasons NOT to do it. Tackling these motivators FIRST can set you up for success. I recommend writing things down, posting them somewhere prominent and reminding others around you to encourage you on your fitness journey!

I’ve included photos of me in this post wearing my new workout wear from Fabletics. Keep reading for a review on Fabletics and why I think it’s important to have cute and comfortable workout clothes.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

I received one complimentary outfit from Fabletics. No other compensation was made. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you.

1. Have a Reason Why

What are you exercising for? You have to know your “reason why” because that’s your ultimate motivator. Write your reason down, whether it’s to lose weight, firm up or get heart healthy. When you feel your motivation waning, put your reason why someplace at the forefront to remind you daily.

My reason? To firm up, yes. But also to be a good example for my children! We frequently exercise together, even if it’s just a long walk outside.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

2. Know Your Excuses

I didn’t sleep well last night and today I’m too exhausted to exercise. I just can’t seem to find the time. My legs/back/head hurts. I don’t like the gym. I’m bored with my usual workout. I don’t feel like working out anymore!

Do any of those excuses sound familiar? Yeah, we’ll come up with a bunch of reasons why we shouldn’t work out. But it goes back to your “reason why” and all excuses need to go out the window. When you find yourself making excuses, remember your “reason why”. Your “reason why” you should be exercising will knock off all excuses.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

3. Have a Workout Buddy

I’ve always found that having someone to workout with makes the “chore” of exercise more fun. You don’t want to let your workout buddy down, so you’re more likely to show up and keep the schedule. Here are some ideas on things to do with a workout buddy:

  • Make a standing twice weekly date on the calendar.
  • Go for a long walk with your kids – even if you have to bring their strollers.
  • Meet in the park with workout bands and kettle bells.
  • Screen a workout video at home to do together.
How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

My workout buddy keeps me motivated!

4. Get It Out of the Way First Thing

I’ve been in the habit of getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast. Then once I’ve dropped off the kids at school, I just don’t want to change into my workout clothes and that’s just another excuse not to exercise.

Now when I get up, I immediately put on my workout clothes. I find that if I’m already wearing them when I get back after school drop off, I might as well workout! If you can, tackle your exercise first thing in the day so nothing else can get in front of getting it done.


5. Squeeze It In

Okay, so some days you just can’t get the workout done first thing in the morning. But don’t let that be a reason to let the whole day go down the drain. Take advantage of small bits of time when you can squeeze in the exercise.

Here are a few things that I do at home when I have snippets of time:

  • When cooking dinner, I will stay in the kitchen while waiting for the food to be ready. This is a great time to do as many leg squats as you can or do incline push-ups against the counter or chair dips.
  • Before and after school drop off I’ll do a fast walking lap around the block.
  • When playing with my toddler, I’ll stretch, do crunches and planks on the floor next to her.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

6. Develop a Routine

Having a consistent routine can push you through sluggishness. Go through your exercise routine step by step and repeat it. Maybe you always get up in the morning, get yourself into your workout clothes, put your hair in a ponytail, lace up your running shoes and fill your water bottle before starting exercise. Write down your routine and stick with it each day so you can fall into a pattern of repetition.

7. Have a Checklist

I’m all for checklists because it makes it so much easier for me to keep track of my time and routine. You can do a search on Pinterest for workout checklists or just write one yourself. Here are some things to keep track of:

  • Cardio days and weight days
  • Length of time you worked out
  • Reps and weight in pounds
  • How much water you drank

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

8. Anything Is Better Than Nothing

Just becasue you couldn’t work out for 90 minutes at the gym doesn’t mean you should skip your exercise completely. Do what you can, whenever you can. Maybe that means you park far away and walk briskly through the parking lot when running errands. Or you take the stairs instead of the elevator. All those little things really do add up when you’re counting your exercise!


9. Wear Workout Clothes That You Love

I recently received this set of workout clothes from Fabletics. After losing some weight, I was desperate for new exercise clothing. And for me, having something that is cute, comfy and flattering makes me want to wear it. And if I’m already wearing my workout clothes, I might as well workout, right?!

The Fabletics Salar Statement Powerhold Legging have four-way stretch for maximum compression that’s still comfortable. They are also moisture-wicking and quick drying. I love the wide, drawstring waistband. I hate when the elastic at the waist is too skinny because it tends to roll over. These pants totally stayed put during my entire workout.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

There’s an internal waistband pocket to hold something small like a key. There are also slim side pockets along each leg for holding your device. The full-length legging was a bit long for me (I’m only 5’2″) – next time I’ll choose a short inseam.

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

Two side pockets on the leg – large enough to hold my phone.

I really love the design on the Fabletics Nicole performance tank. The Aegean blue color coordinates with the leggings and has pretty detailing along the sides. The top has built-in cups, though I still needed to wear a workout bra underneath for additional support. But smooth and flattering, not too snug at the waist or hips.

What are your tested ways to stay motivated to workout?

How do you stay motivated to workout when you just don't feel like exercising? I share 9 tips for staying on a routine when you feel lazy!

 

Choosing a “Word of the Year” – Will This Actually Change Anything?

In the few days before and after January 1st, all of social media is a-buzz with “Word of the Year” chatter. Seems everyone who is setting goals is choosing a word of the year. So naturally I started to think of what I wanted my word of the year to be. Oh, I came up with some great ideas but it kept coming back to the same word.

Choosing a Word of the Year – FOCUS.

I need this in my life. I’m desperately in need of focus because frankly, I’m a bit of a mess! Yeah, I’ve got four kids so my time is stretched pretty thin. My daily to-do list varies from blog posts, freelance writing assignments, doctor’s appointments, household budgeting, social media upkeep, grocery shopping and kid’s sports events and practices. On any given day, I might be coloring my hair, rotating 6 loads of laundry, making Pins for Pinterest, sending out emails for my blog, or going to Bible study. And I’ve not told you yet, but I’ve decided to go to night school for a medical career position. I’m still not sure where I’m going to squeeze in the time for all that entails.

That’s me, crazy hair to go with my crazy schedule!

But none of this is anything that causes you to blink because I know you’re all in the same position. Isn’t the real deal of being a mom is that we have a hundred things on our plate at any given time? Moms are supposed to do it all, right? I mean, that’s what we’ve always heard.

Multitasking is Life.

Sit around with a group of moms and bring up your schedule for the day. I can almost guarantee you that someone is going to “one up” by sharing their daily routine. There’s going to be a big one in there too, something you can’t even compete with, like a business trip or surgery. It’s going to seem like piling everything you possibly can with as little sleep as you can get by on is the norm. Must be why everyone is like, “But first, coffee”.

In the time that I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been everything except focused. I currently have open my Google Analytics for my blog, I’ve un-followed about a hundred people on Instagram, I’ve followed about a hundred people on Twitter, I’ve scheduled about 50 Pins in my Pinterest account, I’ve entered several online contests, researched two upcoming posts, checked my email dozens of times, updated two other blog posts, read a few articles I searched for on Google and I’ve had several Facebook messenger conversations.

Ahem…where’s the FOCUS and how do I get it?!

My struggle with doing everything is that I try to do it all at the same time. My free time is limited of course. I squeeze in snippets of work during the day while the toddler naps or during an episode of Sesame Street. I check email in the bathroom on my phone so I don’t have to hear my husband complain about me being on social media all the time. I stay up after my family has gone to bed so I can finish a post or send out a blog idea. And of course, I try to do everything at once.

Not possible to do it all at one time, I’m finding. At least it’s not possible to do it very well! It’s not only not getting done, things are sloppy and oft forgotten in my haste to “do it all”. With the upcoming addition of night school taking me out of the house for 6 hours each week and homework on top of that, I know that finding focus NOW is imperative.

Found this folder at Target…had to have it!

Is True Focus Available for Everyone?

I actually find it really really hard to do just one thing by itself. Multitasking!! All moms do that, don’t they? Is it just in my nature to be all over the place? Is true focus even possible?!

But what if all this multitasking means that I’ll never be able to gain the focus I need? Do I really need focus at all or can I continue to just get things done as I have been – willy-nilly, squeezed in work, flitting here and there until it’s completed at the last moment. I’m thinking that I’m going to need an overhaul in my thinking. I’m going to have to make some MAJOR changes in my routine to truly focus.

What Does Focus Mean to Me?

In my eyes, focus means I’ll be able to complete one task at a time to completion. Focus feels like a COMMITMENT. Seeing a single thing done and completed before moving to the next.

I imagine looking through a camera lens, when I depress the shutter slightly and what’s in view becomes crisp and sharp. I can’t see what’s outside the frame, I can only look at what the camera is pointing at. Nothing else matters, only what’s in that small box. Even the background in the shot is blurred. There is laser focus on that single thing and all else fades away.

For me, that means if I’m writing a post, I’m only writing that post. This might mean I wait to write until all other distractions are out of focus (kids in bed, dishes all washed, TV off). And not only am I using my Word of the Year FOCUS on just my work ventures, I’m wanting to improve my life all around. If want focus on my family, my spiritual life, my marriage and my home. Less overlap. Less multitasking. More full completion.

So how does one get FOCUS?

Oh, the million dollar question! How am I going to take a WORD and bring it into fruition? How do I amend what comes naturally to me (multi-tasking) and gain sharp focus instead?

After a Google search, I found these ideas:

  • Preparing yourself for the task
  • Understanding where you need to focus
  • Drink coffee
  • Doodle
  • Minimize multitasking
  • Take a 30 minute break
  • Turn on music
  • Meditate
  • Create a to-do list
  • Understand why you lose focus in the first place
  • Get organized
  • Visualize the results
  • Work on a particular project for only 30 minutes at a time

Some of these work for me and some of them don’t. I think that finding things that are the most appropriate for you, things that will help you stick to your goals are what matters. Personally I can see myself really being able to work for 30 minutes on one task before needing a break. Making a to-do is something I already do (I live for checking things off my list!) And knowing how and why I lose focus is important (hello, can you say constant interruption from little people?)

I’m excited to see how my WORD OF THE YEAR is going to help me towards my goals of FOCUS! Share your word or goals for this year.

Did you choose a Word of the Year? I chose mine, and here's how I'm working towards meeting that goal #OneWord #WordoftheYear

 

Dinnerly Review – Honest Review of Dinnerly Meal Subscription

Have you ever used a meal subscription service? I hadn’t, up to last week. My family and I prepare 99% of our meals at home. The thought of paying to have our food prepped and delivered has never been something we considered. Would trying Dinnerly change our mind? I was intrigued by the interesting recipes, the Dinnerly website photos and the lower-than-expected cost. Find out my honest Dinnerly review and whether it works for families. And does it really save time and money to order Dinnerly versus handpicking everything yourself at the grocery?

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way. I received a complimentary family box from Dinnerly to facilitate this review. I received no other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

What is Dinnerly?

Dinnerly is a meal subscription service. Ingredients for three meals are sent weekly in either a Two-Person Box or Family Box. Dinnerly is targeted to those who like homemade cooking with fresh ingredients, but are busy and are looking to save time with shopping and cooking. Going on vacation or don’t need or want Dinnerly? When signing up, you aren’t locked in so you can choose when you want or don’t want a box.

I have never used a meal subscription service before so this was a new concept for my family. With six to feed, we are a frugal family. However we do opt to choose organic whenever we can. I agreed to review Dinnerly because the cost is in line with a “fancier” meal that we’d prepare at home (around $5 per person). And Dinnerly sends quality protein such as grass-fed ground beef and antibiotic-free chicken, items we already purchase ourselves. We were excited to try Dinnerly and this is my honest Dinnerly review!

What’s on the Dinnerly Menu?

I received the Dinnerly Family Box which includes 4 portions per recipe (intended for two adults & two children). Each recipe involves six or less ingredients. Subscribers are sent 3 recipes per week. Each recipe appears on the menu once per month for 2 months, with ingredients changing seasonally.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Inside the Dinnerly family box.

Past recipes include Grass-Fed Beef Stew with Black Pepper Dumplings, Meatloaf & Carmelized Cabbage with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl with Lemon-Goat Cheese Dressing, and Spicy Turkey Pizza with Crispy Kale.

A far cry from the usual “Taco Tuesdays”, right? It appears that at least according to the upcoming menus, one vegetarian meal is sent per box.

I received recipes and ingredients for the following dinner dishes:

  • Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli
  • Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta
  • Fried Spaghetti Pie
Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

You can opt to print your own recipe cards or just look at the recipes on your device (I chose to print them myself).

Preparing Dinnerly Meals

The fresh, seasonal ingredients arrived in an insulated box with a large chill pack inside. Recipe cards are not included so you can choose to pull up the instructions on your device or print them out (which is what I did). It was easy enough to sort out what ingredients went to which dishes. I bundled them together and placed them in the fridge for later in the week. You’ll need a few pantry basics, like oil, salt and pepper. Otherwise all the necessities for each dish are included in the Dinnerly box.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Everything I need for three big meals inside the Dinnerly box!

Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta

Dinnerly recipes are touted as taking 30 minutes or less to prepare and cook. I found that some of the recipe times were a little off and required more time to cook than what was suggested. In the recipe for Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta the recipe says to cook the chicken on the stove top for 6-7 minutes until browned but I found it actually took about 11 minutes. Not a big deal, a few minutes here and there aren’t going to put a kink in the dinner plans.

There are some instances where you’ll cook and then have to remove the food to a plate so you can cook again in the same pan. This is fine with me, as it means less pans to wash! I found the recipes easy to follow. It helps streamline things if you have someone else in the kitchen who can prep and chop the vegetables while you hop to the next step.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

There’s a chicken drumstick underneath that generous pile of onion, carrots and sauce!

I made the spiced tomato braised chicken in my Dutch oven and the house smelled heavenly. Nobody in my family had ever tried polenta before but we all really liked it. And even though I’d never prepared it before, the recipe instructions were fool-proof.

How Do the Dinnerly Recipes Taste?

I was a little nervous that the amount of food included would not be enough for my family. While we do have six in the family, I didn’t expect that my two youngest (ages 6 and 20 months) would try any of these dishes. They are both picky and ended up eating leftovers or pb&j sandwiches instead.

Our two older children are teenagers and they each eat as much as an adult. The family box ingredients are intended for two adults and two children, but we found that there was plenty to go around, even with the teenager appetites!

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli from Dinnerly had a kick but it was easy to adjust the spice to our personal family tastes.

Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli

When preparing the Spicy Pork & Chinese Broccoli, my husband was there to chop the veggies. He is extremely particular about his food but was very happy with the quality of the produce.

The Dinnerly box came with four packets of Sriracha so we could adjust the heat for taste. I only used three packets in the main dish and my husband put the last packet on his own individual serving. While very easy to prepare and with minimal ingredients, this recipe helped us to think outside the box with introducing us to new ingredients. Neither of us had ever made anything with Chinese broccoli or Sriracha sauce before. We both really loved this dish – There was even some plate licking on his part!

How Much Does Dinnerly Cost?

Dinnerly is priced at $5 per each serving. Shipping per box is $8.99, so be sure to work that into the cost breakdown. Dinnerly is the lowest cost of all the dinner subscription boxes on the market. While the Dinnerly Family Box is noted to feed two adults and two children, we found that there was an abundance of food!

For instance when we ate Spiced Tomato Braised Chicken with Polenta my husband, myself and my two teenagers each had one large portion (served with our own side salad). My husband had a second large helping. Then there was still enough for me to pack away leftovers for my husband to take to work the following day. This meal actually equaled out to about 6 servings for us, making this an even better price breakdown.

Considering a meal subscription services? My honest Dinnerly review shares if cost and time savings is worth it. Review of Dinnerly includes list of pros and cons, including taste review.

Fried Spaghetti Pie

The vegetarian meal for the week I received Dinnerly was the intriguing sounding Fried Spaghetti Pie. I can honestly say I’ve never prepared or eaten anything quite like this dish! A creamy sauce and grated Parmesan coats the cooked spaghetti, which is then lightly fried and baked to crisp. It’s topped with a tossed arugala salad. This was a fun twist on traditional pasta dishes and we enjoyed it a lot! The recipe even gave us some ideas on how to add protein, if we wished to.

Dinnerly Review Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Creative meals that got us out of a dinner rut
  • Healthful dishes with fresh ingredients
  • Truly quick and easy meals that seem more “fancy” than usual
  • Convenient to know that all the ingredients for dinner are on hand
  • Time-conscious meal preparation
  • Delicious! The four of us that ate the Dinnerly meals really enjoyed the flavors

Cons:

  • Only delivering to select areas of the United States at this time (check the site to see if Dinnerly delivers in your area)
  • May be a bit pricier than purchasing ingredients on your own (but definitely cheaper than eating out!)
  • Fancier meals may not appeal to picky eaters

Want to Try Dinnerly?

Click through to see what’s cooking on Dinnerly this week! You can see the menu for the month and sign up for a subscription.

My family had a great time cooking with Dinnerly! We thought the recipes were creative and delicious. We were actually excited to cook each night and try something new. In the past, I’ve liked trying new dishes, but I don’t like having to purchase special ingredients just for one dish (like an entire bottle of sauce or a large block of cheese). Dinnerly is perfect because they supply you with exactly what you need. And there’s no waste because you use just what they send.

I highly recommend trying Dinnerly and appreciate that you can sign up for the service without major commitment. There is a flexible subscription option so you can decide ahead of time which weeks you want to receive. And you can always skip a week if necessary. But why would you want to because the food is all really good!

 

5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Holiday Family Photos

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf®. #HolidayHairCare #sponsored

The holidays are fast approaching! That means fun with family and friends, as well as parties and pictures that come along with the season. Last year my family and I had a weekend vacation and took this photo together. I loved how cute we all looked…that is until I looked closer and realized how my roots were showing and how GRAY my hair was! Ugh, seeing that photo with my gray hairs made me so upset.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I’m all for women who aren’t bothered by the gray. But I still have a toddler and I’m just not ready to go gray yet. Coloring my hair makes me feel so much better about my overall look! I don’t have the time or money for a salon so I’m glad there are at-home kits like Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color that give me a professional style. With family photos coming along with the holidays, I’m sharing my tips for creating a head-to-toe beautiful look that’s perfect for lasting photo memories!

Coordinating family outfits while still putting together a beautiful look for yourself takes some preparation! You can’t just throw on your favorite outfit because you want a cohesive look for the entire family. And you don’t want to look back in ten or twenty years and say, “What in the world was I wearing?!” These are a few ideas for creating a flattering, timeless look for family photos.

1. Pick a Theme Around Your Location

Are you going to be taking photos at the beach? Then knee-high boots and chunky sweaters probably aren’t the best fashion choice. And vice versa if you’re planning a snowy mountain photo shoot wearing all white cotton sundresses! Once you know your photo location, you can decide on a direction for your outfits.

2. Start with One Thing

Who is the most particular person in your family when it comes to getting dressed? Start by choosing their outfit first. Once you have that picked, it’s going to be easier to design a look around the color scheme and style of that first outfit.

Is there an outfit that the rest of the clothes can be built around? A plaid or a pattern with multiple colors is a good place to start. From there you can choose clothing with the colors that coordinate (like this floral dress below).

3. Picking a Color Scheme

To create a cohesive look, choose a color scheme that unites the family and doesn’t clash. Things like blue jeans, khaki and white are neutral and can be mixed in with the colors you choose as you see fit.

For this family photo, I wanted to choose from clothes that we already had in the closet. I started with my husband’s plaid shirt. The rest of the family was easy to match, with navy blue, burgundy, khaki and white.

Photo Credit: Amber Barley Photography

4. Mixing Patterns

While it’s okay to choose similar styles, try to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. For instance, instead of having the kids all wear matching sweaters, choose a similar design in varying colors. As in the family photo above, my son had a plaid shirt in his closet that had similar colors to what his dad is wearing. The plaids aren’t matching but they don’t clash either.

Choose patterns that are classic in design instead of trendy so your photo looks timeless and not dated to a particular time period. Same with hair styles!

You could also choose patterns that are coordinating but not identical. I found this trio of outfits for my little ones a few years ago. They are coordinated because the colors unite them, but are not wearing the same outfit.

5. Making Sure Mom Looks Her Best

After the gray root debacle last year, I’m determined to stay on top of my coloring! Once I’ve decided on a location and color scheme for the family photo shoot, I make sure I have my nails done, make-up ready and hair colored. Naturally, I want my hair to look its best during family photos.

Having Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color on hand has been my secret weapon! I’ve already used Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color several times and love my results. It’s been so easy to use and my hair is shiny and soft, even weeks after coloring.

I found Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color at Walmart. The line offers a good variety of intense colors, including my favorite shade, Chestnut. Be sure to do your patch test before coloring! And of course don’t forget to put on the included gloves to protect your hands.

At-Home Hair Coloring Tips

  • Wear your oldest clothes and use your oldest towel that you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Wear a plastic cape to protect your neck and clothes.
  • Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly around your ears and neckline to prevent staining.
  • I prep my bathroom so I don’t drip hair coloring on the rub or splash it on the shower curtain! I put away everything from off the counter, move the shower curtain and put away the bathmat so no errant drips get on anything.

BEFORE (look at that gray!)

Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color has a pre-treatment included that helps give you an even color result. I love this extra step and experienced no dry ends after coloring. The color is thick and stays put, which makes application so much easier.

I colored my hair about 5 weeks ago with the same color, so I applied to the roots for 20 minutes first. Then I applied color to the rest of my head and waited another ten minutes.

20 minutes on the roots first…

Then 10 minutes on the entire head of hair.

  • Don’t just rely on the clock to keep time. Set a timer!
  • I rinsed off in the kitchen sink so I could use the handheld sprayer and really make sure I removed all the color.
  • Any color stains on the skin? Use a cotton pad and rubbing alcohol to gently remove.

I experienced less hair breakage and loss after using Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color and of course, it gave me 100% gray coverage – yippee! Plus my hair is really soft and silky. I’m going to look so great in my holiday family photos this year (no gray getting me down!)

AFTER! Total gray coverage and beautiful Chestnut color.

Want to try Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color for free? Be sure to click through for the rebate!

Dressing for Success

Just like coloring over my gray helps boost my self-esteem, so does wearing clothes that make me feel and look my best. With every purchase of Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color women are getting a fresh start through a partnership with Dress for Success®.

Dress for Success Worldwide provides women education and mentoring, along with revitalized hair and clothing options. This partnership helps women be as successful as they look! Over one million women have been served by this international organization and its programs. I love how Dress for Success encourages and supplies women with the tools they need for confidence and success!

Coloring your hair at home is a great way to save time and money but how can you assure the best results? Check out these tips (along with ideas for looking your best in holiday family photos!) #HolidayHairCare #ad

 

Personal Trainer Food Review- Weight Loss Program Comparison

Maybe you’ve tried other weight loss programs. Maybe you’ve tried several other weight loss programs. You might have lost weight. But in many cases you’re left feeling frustrated by the high expenses of the program and unappetizing food. I’ve been following the Personal Trainer Food program and want to share my thoughts about the taste, convenience and cost compared to NutriSystem.

If you’re following along with my Personal Trainer Food Review posts, here are the previous posts in the series.

I received a complimentary box from Personal Trainer Food that included 28-days worth of meals and three butter sauces. All thoughts and opinions about this product are my own. Your results on the program may vary. No additional compensation has been provided. Please note that my post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

To be fair, Nutrisystem has a small selection of frozen choices on another menu. I did not test or compare their frozen menu items, the items tested were part of their largest selling food division of non-refrigerated items. Personal Trainer Food did send me the day’s worth of Nutrisystem for an honest comparison between the 2 meal plans.

8 lbs down after nearly 4 weeks on Personal Trainer Food program!

What Stalls Weight Loss?

Besides the obvious, like desserts, potatoes, breads, juice and pasta, what does Personal Trainer Food recommend that you avoid while in weight loss mode? These items may stall your results and are best avoided –

  • Milk, including yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.
  • Milk alternatives, like soy, rice and almond milk.
  • Peanuts, cashews and pecans (this includes nut butters of any type).
  • All fruit, except for one apple a day.
  • Protein bars and shakes (plus you’ll be getting enough protein in the foods you’re eating anyway).
  • Alcohol (even low-carb varieties).
  • Flour, oats and rice.

Nutritional Comparison to NutriSystem

I received a sample of a NutriSystem meal to compare with Personal Trainer Food. The NutriSystem food I received is shelf-stable and doesn’t require refrigeration. Those on the NutriSystem program are expected to supply their own fruits and veggies. When looking at the ingredient list of the NutriSystem foods, they are loaded with ingredients that actually could stall your weight loss!

NutriSystem shelf-stable foods

The NutriSystem breakfast is a very small (1.4 oz) Harvest Nut Bar with 7g of sugar, 22g carbs and 7g protein. Personal Trainer Food breakfasts include eggs and sausage or bacon. My favorite, the frittata omelette with breakfast sausage contains 1g of sugar, 2g carbs and 19g of protein. I have always felt full on my Personal Trainer Food breakfast for at least 3 hours before needing a snack. I can imagine how hungry I’d be eating only the tiny NutriSystem bar for breakfast.

NutriSystem Breakfast Bar

The NutriSystem Chicken Pasta Parmesan contained many unpronounceable ingredients as well as agave syrup and sugar! I’m not sure why a chicken and pasta dish would need 6 grams of sugar. It also contained 24g of carbohydrates and 15g of protein. There weren’t any vegetables included with this dish.

In comparison, the Personal Trainer Food Rotisserie Chicken Breast contained no sugar, 1g of carbs and 23g of protein. I was also able to choose my own vegetable packet that was shipped to me. Personal Trainer Food frozen vegetables contain a well-balanced amount of carb-loaded veggies like lima beans, corn and peas.

Personal Trainer Food Teriyaki chicken with green beans

The NutriSystem meal also came with a package of walnut chocolate chip cookies. At 7g of fat, 17g carbs and 7g sugar for about 5 small cookies. Also the ingredients contained wheat gluten, oats and sugar – all ingredients that may slow weight loss. As a side note, I did find it humorous that the cookies contained 8g of protein, which was more than the tiny breakfast bar!

Food and Flavor Comparison

The meals I’ve received from Personal Trainer Food are really great tasting food. Each dish is high in protein, contains good carbs and healthy fats with no heavily-processed food products. The food is cooked and flash-frozen to preserve freshness and flavor. Their products require no fillers, hidden sugars nor bad carbs. Meals are also low or no gluten.

My husband is really particular about what we eat at home and even he is totally sold on the Personal Trainer Food. He’s snuck them on occasion to eat for himself! Not only are they wholesome, good-for-you meals but they are also really delicious.

Personal Trainer Food Gluten-free breaded chicken breast with veggies

In comparison, the NutriSystem food that I received simply does not look appetizing. I refuse to eat the NutriSystem Chicken Pasta Parmesan because it just looks bad. I asked my mom, who has been on the NutriSystem program, and she said the shelf-stable foods do not taste good. She’s now on the Personal Trainer Food program and very happy with the food choices and flavor. It definitely makes it easier to stay on your weight loss program when the food tastes good, is filling and keeps you satisfied!

Cost Comparison

Many weight loss meal delivery plans can cost $600+ a month for food. Add in contracts, support costs and often hidden fees. With Personal Trainer Food, everyone receives healthy meals for weight loss, free support and free shipping with no hidden fees.

My mom went through the NutriSystem program on her own over the course of one month. At a cost of around $350 for the month, she lost no weight. She also had to purchase her own fruits and vegetables on NutriSystem. $350 for food that she didn’t like and no weight lost!

In contrast, my mom recently started on Personal Trainer Food and lost two pounds in the first week. I personally lost 8 lbs after four weeks on the program. The cost of three full meals a day on PTF is under $11 per day. They also frequently offer specials so sign up for their newsletter and receive email notifications.

Looking for Convenient and Fast

I’ve loved having the Personal Trainer Foods handy in my freezer. So quick to grab and heat – in just a few minutes I have a complete and healthy meal. I’m very happy that there is a program like this that is convenient but doesn’t sacrifice flavor and health! Check out the next post in my series- Personal Trainer Food – How Important is Convenience to Weight Loss?

Want to Learn More About Personal Trainer Food?

See their website for the latest sign up specials!

Considering the Personal Trainer Food diet program? Check out my honest review with details on the food, cost & how much you can lose #PersonalTrainerFood AD