Friday faves 13

afitmess
August 26, 2016

Heyyyy – Happy Saturday. I am so sad our vacation is over. The girls and I made it back yesterday evening – it was a smooth and easy 3.5 hour drive back! I’ll be sharing a bit more about our vacation later on. It was one of the best family trips we’ve had.

 

I’m a little late posting my Friday faves, obviously, but I wanted to be sure I got this up as soon as possible. Let’s just pretend it’s Friday, K?

 

Friday faves 13

Coffee on vacation – because it just tastes better than coffee on a work day, right? I’ve really enjoyed my early morning coffee chats with my sister. She’s the BEST! <3

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Lorissa’s Kitchen chicken jerky – I wasn’t sure if I liked the ginger taste at first, but it grew on me and I’ve been snacking on these all week.

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Svelte’s hello beautiful. Chocolate protein shake – I grabbed this on a whim from Whole Foods and it’s seriously delicious. Pre-made protein shakes can sometimes be hit or miss, but this one was spot on. It has 11 grams of protein and only 6 grams of sugar (it’s naturally sweetened with stevia). While I usually make my own protein shakes, this one is a great choice to grab on the go. It’s cheaper on Amazon, so I’ll definitely be buying online next time.

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Is it better to lift heavier weights or do more reps? I found this article super interesting.

Matt sent this quote to me earlier and I love it. Good advice about taking risks and grabbing opportunities.

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TRX workouts – I’m all about these lately. The suspension trainer is challenging and so easy to transport. I recently shared a TRX workout I created while on vacation, but I’ll likely be posting more soon. I can’t get enough!

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This is a good read. There’s an unfortunate stigma about mental health disease. I believe therapy and modern medicine can significantly improve the quality of life for those who are suffering.

La Croix – super refreshing on a hot day!

La Croix

Officially in love with these Cat & Jack kids sandals from Target. I was planning on buying them while on vacation, but we ended up having THE.WORST.SHOPPING. trip and I decided to just put them back. I am definitely going to get them next time. More on the Target trip from hell later.

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Green smoothies – I got back into a routine with them on vacation. I have been making this one all week!

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Justin’s snack pack!! I’m so excited about these. They are a great snack choice for on the go. I just need them to add some more banana chips, mmmk?

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What are you loving lately? Who else thinks coffee taste better on vacation? 

Friday Faves 4

afitmess
June 10, 2016

Hello, hello! How is everyone? What do you have planned for the weekend? I’ve taken most of this week off from work and have officially started to lose track of the days. It’s a good feeling!

 

This weekend we have the girls’ 3rd birthday party. I’m looking forward to seeing my family and being around loved ones. Of course, I’ll have a recap for you next week.

 

Anywho, I’ve got some fun things to share with you today. In case you want to check out my previous Friday faves posts, you can find those here, here, and here.

 

Friday faves 4

 

National Iced Tea Day – Starbucks and Teavana are offering exclusive deals at participating US stores in honor of today’s “holiday.”

SBUX iced tea

 

I’ve recently started making my own raspberry iced tea at home using Bigelow Royale Tea.

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It’s really easy to make and it tastes great! Just boiled 10 cups of water, add 5 tea bags and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and place in the fridge to cool. SO refreshing!

 

This beautiful infinity necklace – My sister sent it to me for my birthday and I love it! It’s from LadyK Jewelry (check her out on Etsy!). She creates these delicate and personalized necklaces that are so pretty.

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Skinny POP popcorn – Yes, I am on the Skinny POP bandwagon. I bought this a couple of weeks ago and the girls and I devoured it in one sitting. It’s highly addictive! I love that it’s available on Amazon’s Subscribe & Save.

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Bare Republic sunscreen spray – The girls and I started using this sunscreen and I really like it. It’s by COOLA, which is a brand supported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). It is mineral based, contains no parabens or hazardous ingredients, and comes in a recyclable, non-propellant spray bottle. It goes on quickly and dries fast. It smells great and doesn’t leave a strange residue on the body either. I used it the other day before heading out for a run and it stayed put even while I was sweating.

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Gluten-free chicken nuggets by Hip Chick Farms – I came across these the other day at Target and grabbed  them for the girls. They are new to us and the girls really enjoyed them. They are breaded with Panko bread crumbs.

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Dirty Diana – I recently tried this workout at the gym. I was covered in sweat afterwards. I completed four full rounds in 22 minutes, but I added a push up to my burpees.

 

This quote by Jack Kerouac – My father turned me on to Jack Kerouac’s work (I really enjoyed On the Road) and this quote is a great reminder that life is a gift. It’s difficult not to compare ourselves to others, but there are so many unique and beautiful things to celebrate about each of us.

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And now some links:

How to clean your makeup brushes (<–eek! I need to remember to do this more often.)

6 meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare

Why you should toss that lemon into your water 

 

Okay, friends! I’d love to hear what you are enjoying lately. Please leave a comment! (Link found above.)

The many benefits of sweet almond oil

afitmess
February 9, 2016

Do you have one of those products that you just couldn’t imagine life without? That’s the way I feel about sweet almond oil. Today’s post highlights the many benefits of sweet almond oil and how I incorporate it into my daily routine.

 

I was first introduced to sweet almond oil a few year ago during a massage. I loved the smell right away and when I found out what it was I hurried home to buy it online. After doing a bit more research, I discovered that sweet almond oil is loaded with vitamin E. Unlike a lot of moisturizers that have vitamin E added to them, sweet almond oil contains a purely natural form of the vitamin. Plus, it’s full of monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc (and other minerals and vitamins).

 

Sweet almond oil has many benefits, but it’s primarily used to enhance and rejuvenate skin and hair. Here are my personal favorite uses:

 

Moisturizer (face and body): I have a pretty minimal skin care regime. I typically stick with two things: tea tree oil face wash and sweet almond oil. I have sensitive skin so I am always careful with what I choose to put on my face. I use almond oil to remove eye makeup (place a few drops on a cotton ball and gently wipe around eyes) and after I cleanse for a moisturizer. Even though it’s an oil, it’s not greasy in the way that you’d think. It gets absorbed quickly and I don’t even notice it after I rub it in. And, if you have oily skin it will actually help balance your skin tone since the fatty acids in almond oil loosens clogged pores. I have also noticed it helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles under my eyes (a lifelong curse).

It’s great for an all-over body moisturizer or to following your dry brushing routine. I feel good knowing that I’m putting something completely natural on my skin.

 

Relieve sore muscles: I’ve been trying this for only a few months, but I have noticed a subtle difference in my recovery. I massage the oil into whatever spot is sore (99% of the time my shins and calves) and work it in until the oil is gone. Typically, I do this after I have showered so that the oil gets absorbed even faster into my skin. I think the combo of the massage and the oil has really improved my tight muscles.

 

Got super achy muscles? Here’s an even better technique: warm the almond oil in the microwave until it gets really hot. Apply the hot oil to the troublesome muscles and massage in well. Take a wet, hot wash cloth or towel, wring it out, and cover the massaged area for around 30 minutes. This treatment works by drawing the toxins out.

 

For shiny, happy hair: Love this one. After washing my hair, I will apply one to two drops to my ends. I often warm it up first by rubbing the oil between my hands. Next, I comb my hair straight and let it air dry. This works better for me in the evening when I have the time to let my hair dry on its own. Boom! Shiny and beautiful hair. It doesn’t leave my hair greasy or with a heavy feeling. Plus, I think it kind of acts as a detangler, but that could be in my mind.

 

Know what else you could use sweet almond oil for?

  • To strengthen nails
  • To relieve dry or itchy scalp
  • Aid with eczema or excessively dry skin
  • Heal minor irritations

 

I believe if the sweet almond oil is listed as “food grade” then you can eat it, but I haven’t tried that personally. I would urge you to check your labels carefully. This is the only kind I ever use and I have found the best price on Amazon. You can also find it at Whole Foods, but it’s more expensive. Be sure to stay away from bitter almond oil. More risk than it’s worth.

4 companies that make my life easier

afitmess
January 29, 2016

There are a few companies out there that have made my life easier and more enjoyable. Some I appreciate even more now that I am a parent. I have listed a few of my faves below and my reasons for loving them so much. Note: this is not a sponsored post. I just really like these companies.

A Fit Mess

Stitch Fix: I love this company so much. In case you aren’t familiar with Stitch Fix, it’s an online shopping service that selects items for you based on your style profile, budget, height/weight. You pay a monthly fee ($20) that gets applied to any purchase you make. You can manage your shipment frequency (mine comes once a month) and you may skip a delivery at anytime.

 

This service works for me in so many ways. First, I don’t actually enjoy going to the mall. I’m just not into the hassle of parking, dealing with all the people and the lines. Second, even if I did like going to the mall I just don’t have the time. But more than that, I have trouble picking out clothes and as a result I often choose neutral items. I don’t know what to buy! My personal stylist can choose things that flatter my body type and she always includes items that I wouldn’t have picked for myself but totally work. I receive five items per shipment which includes everything from scarves, jewelry, dresses, and jackets. I often only keep 3 items or so. It adds up! If you buy all 5 items then you receive 25% off.

Here’s a look at some of the items I received in my last two shipments. As you can tell, I am NOT a fashion blogger (awkwardoncamera).

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This is by far the softest scarf I have ever owned. It’s a rich violet color and light enough to wear indoors or as an outer layer. I have a white long-sleeve shirt that I like to match it with.

black and white stripe shirt

Love this outfit! The shirt is super soft and a tad longer in the back. It also has fun suede patches on the elbows. The skinny jeans are actually navy and they have small zippers on the ankles. Sorry the pic is hard to see. Ugh, my bed is not made!

earring

I am not one to seek out jewelry. I don’t tend to wear it much and, again, I never really know what to buy. These earrings are not too big, but noticeable and unique. Plus gold is just the best.

navy blazer

This navy blazer arrived after I requested one. I have a hard time finding jackets that fit my smaller frame, but this one was prefect. It’s actually cotton so you can dress it up or down. I wish I had taken a picture of the inside. It has these funky stripes that are neat.

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Amazon Prime: Say what you want about this company but they sure do make my life easier. I order everything from Amazon because you can truly buy anything there. We have Subscribe and Save which is a recurring shipment of items we use a lot and tend to run out of (our frequency is once per month). Your delivery is always free and you receive a discount on the items. We get diapers and wipes sent monthly which is so helpful. And who doesn’t love two-day shipping?

 

Other benefits I enjoy:

  • free video streaming (<-LOVE)
  • free storage of photos in Amazon Cloud Drive (I can never have enough storage for my pictures!)
  • digital lending library using the Kindle app

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Target: I moved this down the list so it wouldn’t be completely obvious just how obsessed I am with this place. I mean, who doesn’t love Target? It’s a one-stop-shop for almost everything you need. I’ve tried every which way to stop spending so much money here, but it’s hopeless so don’t try it. Please don’t ask me how many time per week I visit this store. I won’t tell you (4).

 

Other things I love? Starbucks the instant you walk in. The produce is fairly decent and they carry a lot of natural brands that can often be hard to find in other grocery stores (Synergy, Evolutions, Navitas Naturals to name a few). Clothes! I have so many clothes from Target! And, I’m in love with their household items and decor. My style changes often and I love to mix up decor to create a new space.

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I also like that they have the dollar(ish) section at the front of the store. I always sometimes bribe my kids with a toy in order to get my shopping done. Of course, they usually choose the most expensive items.

 

Ways to save:

I use the Cartwheel app, REDperks (which I like because you get rewards and free Sbux from time to time), and I now have the Target debit card (thanks to a tip from a friend!). So, I always have a bit of savings when I shop.

 

Papa Spud's logo

Papa Spuds: I have a local company to recommend, too. Yes, it’s important to support local businesses – especially local farmers. This is a farm to fork delivery service that arrives right to your doorsteps. They were established in 2008 (which is when we started with them) and they offer over 200 food products from local growers and food artisans. We cancelled our membership when we were buying and selling our home, but I’d love to start back up again. I can’t make it to the farmer’s market on the weekends, so this is a great way to get local items delivered directly to us.

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The neat part: you can choose from different shipment sizes and self-select the items you would like to receive or let Papa Spud’s choose for you (which we often did). I kind of like the challenge of receiving something and thinking, Okkkkaayyyy. What is this and how should I cook it? Again, you can skip deliveries if needed without penalty. Their products were always really fresh and high quality. There’s such a difference between locally grown produce and produce from a grocery store.

papa spuds garlic
ONE clove of garlic!

Other companies I have heard great things about but haven’t tried:

Thrive Market

Blue Apron

ModPALEO

Has anyone tried any of these companies?