Archive | Product Reviews

Friday Five

‘Cause it’s been a while I thought I would show you some of my favorite things.

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  • I also have the printer that uses the same film. It takes photos from your smartphone and prints them out (wirelessly). It’s great because you can edit them before you print them AND since it’s wireless you can just stick it in your purse and go (here’s the case I have).  Both the camera and/or printer would be an awesome gift.

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  • I’ve asked my hair stylist to give me shorter bangs the past six months and when I workout I have to pin them back or they drive me BANANAS. But what drives me bananas even more is loose bobby pins everywhere. I found this bobby pin holder and it is awesome. If you have little girls (or bangs) in your life, you need this, trust me.  It comes in green and pink.

bobby pin holder

  • Moseby has really gotten into Legos lately. He and C. spend at least an hour every weekend sitting at the dining room table making stuff together (it’s pretty dang precious to watch, not gonna lie). I recently stumbled on these generic “building bricks” and ordered some on whim hoping they would work with his other Legos. And they do! You honestly can’t tell a difference in the legos and these! And y’all, 1,000 is A LOT of Legos (to play with…or to step on) for $24!

lego

  • And last, but not least, y’all know I’m a Zumba fan. Well, after a couple of months of pain on the side of my knee (Dr. Google told me it was an inflamed IT band) I realized the pain was worse on days after Zumba. It seemed just wearing my running shoes during Zumba wasn’t a good idea–that they provided too much traction in the ball of my foot when I did turns and twists and it was hurting my knee. After some looking I found that they create special Zumba shoes (any dance shoe would work, I’m sure) and it has made SUCH a difference–I can easily twist and turn now. No more outside knee pain, holla! Best fifty bucks ever. These are the ones I have, but here’s some more to check out here, here, here, and here (love the soles on these).

zumba shoe

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Father’s Day Gift Guide

Can you believe we’re less than two weeks from Father’s Day?! It seems like Mother’s Day was just yesterday!

C. doesn’t really expect much on Father’s Day, but I thought it might be fun to show you some of the things he has and loves to help you out for the pappy in your life…if you promise to give me some ideas for C., ‘k?

  1. Away suitcase. C. LOVES it (& he travels every week so he knows suitcases). It has multiple compartments, holds a ton, and you can even charge your cell phone from it. If you click on that link you’ll get $20 off too (it gets applied right at the end before you pay, by the way). He has “The Bigger Carry-On”, by the way.
  2. Jack Black ‘Beard Lube’ Conditioning Shave. He’s been using this for two years and was skeptic when I first got it for him, but he says he’ll never go back to regular old shaving cream now.
  3. Smiphee Charging Case (for iPhone 6/6s). Click here for the iPhone 7 charging case. It keeps your phone charged ALL DAY LONG. C. gave me one (he bought one for himself too) for Valentine’s Day and I love it. Usually about 3pm my phone warns me I’m on low battery. I simply press a button on the bottom and the case charges my phone. I haven’t ran out of battery (or had to plug my phone in during the day) since December.
  4. Croakies thin sunglasses strap (pack of 2). Since I met C. in 2003 he’s worn Croakies (#fratboy). In the past year or so he’s started using a thinner strap. Awwww, look, he’s growing up, HA!
  5. Patagonia Baggies. He has a half of dozen pairs of these and lives in these shorts on the weekend and just got a new pair in red.
  6. Hari Mari flip flops. He also lives in these on the weekend. If he’s on the boat you can bet that he’s wearing his Patagonia shorts and his Hari Mari flip flops.
  7. Accessories for his Yeti. He has three Yetis, but his favorite is the Hopper (which I found for $199 which is a pretty good deal!). He has a couple of the Yeti ice packs for when he’s in a hurry (or going on a just a short boat ride) that he throws in the cooler instead of ice. He also has the sidekick for the Hopper which is like a little pouch that attaches to his Yeti (it’s awesome for storing keys and cellphones).  This bottle opener attaches to the Hopper so you’ll never be without one close by again.

Okay, now I’ve shown you mine so it’s your turn to show me yours–tell me your favorite gifts to give for Father’s Day and help a girl out!

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My Experience with Laser Hair Removal

I’ve mentioned before that for my birthday every year I try something new–either with fashion or hair style or skin care, etc.–whatever is tickling my fancy at the moment.

For my 36th birthday I decided to try laser hair removal.

Now, this is the point you need to stop reading if you’re my dad. Or if you don’t want to hear about the in’s and out’s of it. Or if you’re a creepster.

Oh, and I’m going to talk in code because using technical terms for anatomy on here makes me blush so I’m sorry if it’s gets confusing or I sound like a fourth grade boy.

You’ve been warned. 😉

So right before my 36th birthday I purchased a laser hair removal package. I found a place with good reviews near my home on GroupOn. I actually just looked and she’s still on GroupOn right now (click here to view the three specials). I chose to do laser hair removal on my hooha and therefore it’s considered a “large area” and six sessions cost $269.

I went for the first time in November and just finished my sixth session this past week. Kimberly, the laser tech, suggests getting a treatment every 4-6 weeks and I did that. She says the best hair/skin tone for getting good laser hair removal results is dark hair on light skin. (Check.)

These are my before and after results of a very small area (sorry y’all, you ain’t seeing the full monty, HA!!) after one week of not shaving.  Pretty big difference, huh?!

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Here’s the 4-1-1

I know the first thing you want to know about is the pain level. On a scale 1-10, with 10 being your fingernails being pulled off with pliers, I would rate it anywhere from a 5 to a 9. The, ahem, top and outer areas are a 5 if you are properly prepared. When I say “properly prepared” I mean you need to ice that area for a minimum of ten minutes before they start on you. Ice packs stuck in your underwear while you drive works great…or so I’ve heard, HA! Now the, uhm, “inner areas”? Well, I’m going to be honest–it’s a 9. Someone described it to me as rubber bands zapping you over and over again. Nah, that’s not what it’s like to me. To me it’s kinda like getting your hair pulled through one of those caps they used to use to give you highlights (remember those from the 80s and 90s??)–like a tiny knitting needle (on fire of course) pulling/zapping/burning tiny pieces of my (very delicate) skin over and over.

Buuuuuuut the maximum length is ten minutes a session, usually more like five minutes. And then it’s completely gone–there’s no residual pain or anything.

And that fact is the only reason I came back for my next five appointments after the first one.

I’m sure the next question is: just how effective is it? Well, it definitely decreases the hair. FOR SURE. But is my yoohoo hairless after six treatments? Definitely not. Kimberly says I’ll need six more sessions (she says everyone needs at least twelve) and a touchup every 1.5-2 years (I didn’t know that going in). With that being said, I definitely have to shave a lot less.

But I do still have to shave. Boo.

Would I recommend it? Yes, I think so. But you need to go in knowing you’ll need to have a treatment every month for a year. And that it hurts. But I am happy with the results so far and am anxious to see just how much hair six more months of treatment will remove.

(If you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll answer them in the comments, by the way.)

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Friday Five

Oh y’all, what a fun few days we have coming up. Eek! Today…probably right at this very second in fact {I write these posts in advance and schedule them to be published right at 8am, in case you couldn’t tell}…my cousin Jess is having her baby! I probably won’t be able to sleep, I’m so excited! I’m going to go ahead and put my prediction out there on Baby B: 21.5″, 9 pounds, 8 ounces (even though he’s only 39 weeks!), and another redhead.

I’m honored that she asked me to take pictures of Emery and B. meeting for the first time this morning. If she gives me permission I’ll share one on Monday.

Eek! Eek! Eek! Another baby to love on!

So excuse me if this post is all jumbled, but I’ve got Baby Brain!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

  1. First up, one of my sorority sisters {click here for her site} sent me a sample of No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask from Beautycounter when she heard I love trying new masks. It’s a charcoal-based mask. This is a little before and after. In real life I could tell a difference in pore size and skin tone/color/pigment (which is a big deal when you have problem with skin tone to begin with). It didn’t dry my skin out either like so many masks!

2. I don’t really ever think my oldest and youngest look alike. MM looks so much like me (with straight hair) and Lawson looks so much like C. (with curly hair)…or so I thought.

Uhm, twinsies. Yes, his upper eyelids are a little more…uhm…absent, haha…like C.’s, but y’all, they look so much alike {minus eye color}!  I love genetics.

3. Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher myself, but I love giving teacher gifts. If it’s a holiday, we do gifts. It’s just our thang. I should’ve taken a picture our St. Patrick’s Day little gift that included chocolate coins, leprechaun socks, and lucky 7’s scratch-off lottery tickets–it was a cute, cheap, fun idea. Anyway, this was our Easter baskets we delivered last week.

Yellow containers. Bunny kitchen towel. Easter pasta. Rustic rabbit. Sisal chick with bunny ears. Bunny canvas. Flower in tin can.

4. In a recent post I mentioned items I was out of and reordering. That got me to think about my current haircare routine and a couple of new items I’ve added recently.

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I’ve been using Pureology Hydrate Shampoo + Conditioner for a couple of years now (here it is in a regular size bottle–that lasts me 4-6 months), and I’ve been using Aveda Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight and Aveda Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother for at least three years now. The two latest things are Pureology Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier–it’s like a vitamin spray–and Matrix Turbo Dryer since I have so!much!hair! and it really does cut down on drying time! Very pleasantly surprised.

5. We are getting so excited about taking MM on her surprise trip to Dallas on Monday. She has NO idea. ..and I’m totally not telling her until we pull into the airport parking lot. I’m going to pack her suitcase and put it in the car the night before so she won’t even know we’re spending the night anywhere…much less several states away! …much less with JUST her mommy & daddy! I can’t wait to see her face! Eek!

Hope you all have a great weekend. We’ve got babies and trips and gorgeous weather here. And I can’t wait.

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Friday Five: Daffodils, Birthday Sweets, Clothes, a Recipe, & Cheese Faces, Oh My!

1. Daffodil Pictures.

Every year I take pictures of my kid(s) in a daffodil field of an old family friend that lives near my family’s farm. Looking through the pictures {click here to go down memory lane yourself} is very bittersweet–watching your babies grow is such a gift, but what I wouldn’t give to hold each one–tiny and squishy again–for just a few minutes more.

2017

2. C.’s 37th.

We celebrated C.’s birthday last weekend. Aqua Terra and creme brûlée. Bowling and Mexican and chocolate cheesecake. Hals and triple chocolate cake. A giant banana-chocolate chip bread {recipe found here}.

Poor guy, I don’t think he was shown enough love for his birthday…or got enough sweets, HA!!! 😉

3. Swirly Cinnamon Roll Cake.

Speaking of sweet things, y’all, you have GOT to try this new recipe. I made it this past week for a work treat {always a risk trying a new recipe for other people!} and it was GOOD.

Click on this link for a printable Swirly Cinnamon Roll Cake recipe (4×6″ size)!

4. This top…for less than $15!

The other day I was in JC Penney of all places with MM {she was Pinkalicious for book character day and we were looking for a pink dress} and I found this top (I’m wearing a medium). I wore it to C.’s birthday dinner the other night and I am in love with it. It’s currently $19.99 {with an extra 25% off with code: 8FORYOU (30% off if you have a JCPenney card)}. C. couldn’t believe it was such a cheap top–it REALLY is well made and cute in person!

Jeans (which look funny around the ankles here, but I promise they are a normal bootcut) here. Similar leopard print heels here.

5. ‘Cheese!’ face.

One of my favorite stages of childhood is when they start mimicking you or doing what you ask. This is Lala’s ‘Say Cheese!’ face. He’s so sweet I could eat him up with a spoon I tell you!


Hope you all have a great weekend! We’ve got my father-in-law’s birthday and that’s about it. I’ve been battling sinus crud the past week so I’m happy for a weekend at home hopefully filled with lots of sleep (and no pollen!).

 

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Recent Empties in Cosmetics, Skincare, & Haircare

Am I the only one who seems to run out of everything at the same time?!

I swear every six months or so I wake up and every container/tube/bottle/spray is empty.

And it always happens on Monday. #ofcourse

The silver lining is that there are some randomly good deals right now so I thought I’d share what products I’m repurchasing and which ones I’m trying something new with.

Skincare:

    • Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Tonic. I’ve been using this since 2008 {twice a day after I wash my face} and I love how refreshing it is.
    • Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement. Another product I’ve been using since 2008 {I use in the morning after the tonic}. For five years or so I just kind of put it on my cheeks and nose-area, but began putting it all over my face as I’ve aged.

Make-Up:

  • Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation. This past April C. & I took a trip to Cumberland Island and stayed at the Greystone Inn. To get to the island you have to take a boat. There are no grocery stores or gas stations, and for sure no Sephoras on that tiny island! About fifteen minutes before we arrived at the ferry I realized I had left my entire makeup bag at home. And for someone with rosacea, uneven skin tone, and blonde eyelashes (I’m posting this before and after below just so you’ll see how badly I need foundation), this was a nightmare. Thankfully there was an Ulta and in about five minutes a saleslady sold me on this product. And I haven’t looked back since! I like the “build-a-bility” of it in the areas I need the most coverage (cheeks!).
  • Bobbi Brown Corrector. On the eve of my 34th birthday {I “give myself” a new product every year to try on my birthday–it’s a fun tradition!} I went into Nordstrom, sat down at the Bobbi Brown counter, and said it was time for under eye makeup. I use this first to even out the dark circles.
  • Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener. I put this on top of the corrector under my eye and on the inside corners and it brightens up the whole area.
  • Mac Eye Brow Pencil. This was my birthday present to myself on my 35th birthday. Up until then I had never used an eyebrow pencil because I have such full eyebrows I didn’t think I needed to. Boy, was I wrong.

(And even though I’m not out of it yet, this {redness corrector primer} is what I bought myself on my 36th birthday in case you were wondering and I use it everyday.)

Haircare:

I mentioned the great sales going on right now and I picked up a Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer for $13.60 at Nordstrom (they always have free shipping too). I’ve heard GREAT things about it so I’m excited to try it!

Have any of you tried any new products lately? Especially an under eye cream you love {I’ve tried Bobbi Brown, Lancome, and Rodan + Fields and they’ve either given me styes or done nothing at all}. I’m all ears!

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A Few of My Favorite Things: Friday Edition

Because just some days you feel like bullets, you know? {This week and the painting and the furniture/fabric/art/mirrors/dodads acquiring has left my brain like #woah }

But first, let’s talk sales real quick:

~Cost Plus World Market is having their amazing Friends & Family – Save an extra 30% in-store and online plus free shipping on online orders totaling $100+ ! I may have gotten this outdoor rug for just $14 for the back porch yesterday. Such a steal!

~Old Navy is 15% off All Pants & Shorts merchandise + 30% off the rest of your order. Use code ENJOY at oldnavy.com. Online only. Restrictions apply. Ends 3/11. This would be the perfect time to get my new favorite sports bra for yoga I showed y’all last week. It’s awesome.

And now here’s those bullets I was talking about. 😉

  • This Outfit. Gimme a super soft turtleneck AND a skirt with elastic and I’ll love you forever. And if all three pieces shown are on major sale…sign me up.

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Tissue turtleneck {I’m wearing a large}. Here’s the skirt {I’m wearing a 6}. If you’re looking for a more spring version–I have a cream version!, click here. Frye Melissa button cross body {and on sale!}.

  • Mommy & Me outfits!  These coordinating tunics from the Joanna Gaines line for Matilda Jane are so soft and well-made and not too matchy matchy. I love that MM still wants to dress like me.  And this is such a throwback picture (MM’s birthday in January!), but since it’s getting cold again next week I thought I would share these.

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Harvest Days MJ top for me {large}.  Best leggings EVER {medium}. Ugg Vinson Boots (40% off!).

On MM: Shiplap MJ top for her {16}. My favorite leggings/jeggings for girls EVER.

  • These hair elastics are amazeballs. I’ve been using them about six months and I will never ever go back to the cheap Goody ones again. They keep my hair up ALL DAY. I can do Zumba and it stays. I can try on shirt after shirt at the mall and it stays. I can sleep in them {but I don’t} and they stay.

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Here’s a link to them in clear. Here’s a link to them in brown. (There are other colors too, I think.) I’ve been using the same pack of 12 for six months now. And I wear my hair in a ponytail at least once a day, every day.

  • Gift wrap organization! Oh y’all, the amount of gift wrap–wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper–I own is unreal. And living in an old house means we have like negative closet space, haha. I bought this affordable under-the-bed gift wrap storage after Christmas and now three months later I still love it because it holds everything and because it’s under the bed it’s easy to get to.

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january 1. 4.croissants. products i love. laundry helper_0003_edited-1

  • And last, but not least, Rodan + Fields Lash Boost.

I started Lash Boost right before Christmas. I applied it every night after I washed my face, but before I put on my moisturizer. These are my 12 weeks results and I’m amazed. Random strangers (usually when I’m all sweaty post-gym, go figure) ask me if they are my real lashes. You betcha!

And I’m not going to lie, I thought it was gimmick. But the proof is in the lashes!


I hope you all have a great weekend!

Tonight we’re going out with my family for C.’s birthday {it’s next week}. Tomorrow morning I’m going to my first SoulCycle class with my bestie {pray for me!}. And Sunday I’m painting with friends…and we’re getting our new bed delivered. Pictures to come! {Follow me on Instagram for sneak peaks!}

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What I’ve Been Wearing Lately

‘Cause I know y’all are just dying to see more iPhone photos of me. HA!

I don’t know how all those fashion bloggers get such good pictures. Do they just have a photographer with them all day? Because unless my five or eight year old can take the photo {which may or may not be out of focus with my camera when they use it}, it’s a selfie. And y’all know I can’t make a normal selfie face to save my life.

Outfit 1.

This shirt (and these booties!) I posted back on my Valentine’s Day Wish List. I love it, especially the subtle bell sleeves. It runs a tad small through the back for me and in the arms so I’m wearing a large. (Note: you know how we all have that one body part that is not in proportion to the rest of our body? Well, mine is my arms. #whyIdontdosleeveless)

Gap Eyelet Three-Quarter Blouse (40% off with ‘HAPPY’) J.Crew jeans (20% off everything AND free shipping! RARE!). Lucky Brand booties.

Outfit 2.

Our weather is so wacky here. One day I’ll be in nothing but a short-sleeve top and the next day I’m wearing a jacket and all bundled up. What gives, Georgia? This was one of the colder days last week.

J. Crew gingham shirt (similar color). J.Crew vest {I also have it in bright green. And red and blue plaid. And a black and white print. I have a problem clearly.} J. Crew jeans. **All 20% off and FREE SHIPPING**Lucky Brand booties {which I’m loving so much I wear them like everyday. Clearly I have a problem there too.}

Outfit 3.

This outfit is great for running errands {hence the tennis shoes} or lounging around the house. So comfy–and look at the cute back (& a good deal!)! I will say this top ran a bit short in the waist so I sized up to a large.

Gap soft spun knit cross back top. 40% off with code ‘HAPPY’ (and it was already a great price!) Old Navy rockstar jeans. 15% off with code ‘ENJOY’ (and all jeans on sale). New Balance 620 (very similar colorway).

Outfit 4.

I wore this to Moseby’s birthday party and honestly, at first I wasn’t sold on this top. In fact, I tried it on and didn’t buy it…then came back two weeks later and got it. And I’m so glad I did.

Gap crochet yoke long sleeve top. 40% off with code ‘HAPPY’  Old Navy Rockstar mid-rise distressed jeans. 15% off with code ‘ENJOY’ and all jeans are on sale already too! Lucky Brand booties.

Oh, and let’s play a game called “Why You Shouldn’t Buy Off eBay”. So I’ve been crushing on a Free People ‘Beach Cocoon’ pullover for a while now. I found a size medium “NEW” on eBay for $34 (a great deal!) so I bought it. I got it on Friday and it just didn’t look right, but I didn’t have a chance to try it on. On Saturday MM and I were at the mall and I found the same shirt (different color) for $36 at Macys (40% off sale plus an extra 20% off with card; ) and I bought it. I brought it home and tried both on. Uhm…yeah. Clearly that eBay one isn’t so new ’cause that bad boy is shrunk! Thankfully the seller accepts returns.


Yesterday was Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday. I made my first two King Cakes. I should’ve made them last week so I could have posted a tutorial (a really easy yeast bread–much like cinnamon rolls to make), but there’s always next year!

I made the kids hold them in the car because they weren’t completely cooled yet. (And, oh my word!, how grownup does MM look here?! Slow your roll, Time.)

Also, please notice that Moseby is already licking the icing off. Thankfully that cake was just going to my parents, haha!


Oh, and for my BlogLovin’ followers: I just realized yesterday that some of you are commenting on my posts via Bloglovin’…but I don’t get any notification on those. If you want me to respond make sure your comment directly on a post and if I don’t respond or if it doesn’t get posted in a day or so (many get held for moderation) please email me. Sometimes comments will get tagged as Spam and I’ll never see them (Sorry for taking forever to respond, Carla! Yikes!).

Hope y’all have a great Wednesday! <3

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Q&A on Keto + My Favorite Workout Gear

Thank you so much for all the kind comments on Friday’s posts! Some of you had some questions and I thought I would take a moment to answer them {disclaimer: I am not a doctor or nutritionist or anything like that–this is just my experience with this journey}. Feel free to keep asking questions and I’ll answer them on my Friday weight loss posts I’m doing. 🙂

Jennifer asked: “Natalie – First of all, you look gorgeous! Congratulations on your success! I’d love to hear more about what you ate while in weight loss mode. Also, how do you know you’re in “keto”?

I think you have to find what works best for you in “weight-loss mode”. For me, I have to limit cheese and nuts. Cheese because it has a tendency to bloat me and nuts because they are a “gateway drug”–I could eat a pound of salted cashews (and don’t forget: while I know this is a diet fueled on fat you DO have to be in a calorie deficit!) Too much broccoli and cauliflower also hurt my tummy. I love salads and my favorite Keto-friendly meal is a giant bed of romaine with steak on top (plus blue cheese crumbles and a little shaved purple onion). I think I could eat it everyday!  This Friday I’ll take more about intermittent fasting and how it was a “game changer” for my weight loss and therefore, I don’t have any breakfast ideas (I did try crust-less quiche “muffins” once that were pretty good though) and honestly, not many lunch ideas (ham, cheese, mayo rollups and pickles were about as fancy as I got). 


So, it takes a bit of time to get in “ketosis”…meaning your body is running off of fat for fuel instead of glucose. Please note, ketosis is NOT the same thing as Diabetic Ketoacidosis (yes, they sound similar, but are very different–for more info check out this page). Ketosis takes usually 2-3 days for my body to get into–genetics, gender, activity level, amount of water you drink, calories you consume, etc. all affect when you get into ketosis. How do I get in to ketosis quickly? Well, it’s three parts for me: restrict food {meaning I limit carbs to 20g/day} + I drink LOADS of water {80-100oz/day} + I exercise on an empty stomach. A way to tell if you’re in ketosis is to pee on little sticks {kinda like a pregnancy test} and it will measure the amount of ketones in your urine–the darker the strip turns the more ketones are in your urine (a good thing). These are the ones I have used–there are 100 sticks, they have 4.5 stars (with 2,300 reviews), and they’re like $10. 

There is also another way to go: testing your blood. If you have diabetes (or had gestational diabetes like me) testing your blood–pricking your finger *on the side*–is not that big of a deal. I never did this (note: I did periodically check my blood sugar though–especially those first couple of months when I was losing so quickly–and I’m glad I did. My blood sugar was getting too low without carbs and that’s why I got off my Metformin!) so I can’t say personally how I feel about different meters, but I’ve heard good stuff about the Precision models. The test strips do get expensive ($2-$3/each) so a lot of people will go on eBay or use Canadian pharmacies or something. Again, I don’t really know much about this, but if you joined any of the Facebook groups I mentioned in Friday’s post I’m sure you can ask them and you’ll have plenty of people to give their two cents! 😉 (Oh! and to get into nutritional ketosis your level of ketones will need to be between .5 and 3 mmol/L.)

Betsy asked: “As a PCOS gal, I’m going to be following this. I’ve also learned by doing genetic testing that I am to avoid all gluten (none of which I’m following at the moment). Did you also do gluten free?”

To me, gluten and carbs go hand-in-guilty-hand. Yeah, you can have a carb that is not gluten (like a tortilla chip), but you can’t have gluten without it being a carb. So I guess my answer would be yes, I did gluten free (note: there may have been trace amounts of gluten, but nothing I can remember!). I feel so much better physically when I lay off “all” carbs and gluten…and Diet Coke. I plan on talking more about adding foods back in and finding out what they do to your body in a couple of weeks {a little “Tips and Tricks” post, I guess you could call it}. It really is amazing how my body feels carb-free after a few days. Zero bloating. And as someone who bloats just thinking about ice cream, much less eating a bowl of noodles, it blew my mind that first week. I’m now in “maintenance-mode” and have been for about two months so I’ve been fooling around (HA!!!) with carbs a bit here and there to see just how much I can handle and what they do to my body and it has been so interesting. I’ve found that any carbs/gluten–even a small amount by the average person’s standards–keeping me from losing weight AT ALL, even when I’ve kept my calories low and exercising. Isn’t that crazy?! It shows me that my body really *does* have a problem with carbs (and perhaps gluten). Over Christmas, for instance, I ate three regular (not crazy!) meals for three days (the 24th, 25th, and 26th). I worked out on the 24th and 26th. Do you know how much weight I gained? SEVEN POUNDS. Now, there is no way I consumed an extra 25,000 calories over those three days. In fact, I’m sure I was under 2,000 calories/day and I exercised. I didn’t drink alcohol, I drank water. All I did differently was eat three meals a day and not watch my carb intake. That seven pounds (that took 10 days to get off) showed me that I majorly bloat with carbs…I just didn’t realize the extent until then. 

Now for a fun clothing post. 😉

Eek! Eek! Eek!

Before I get started, Y’ALL, there are some major sales going on right now (and they end tonight at midnight) for Old Navy!

30% off your Old Navy purchase when you use the code ‘YOURS’.

PLUS an *extra* 10% off if you use your Gap card (code ‘EXTRA’).

PLUS PLUS get free shipping {with no minimum!} with the code ‘FREESHIP’.

Or if you’re just on the hunt for gym clothes, guess what? 50% Off All Active at oldnavy.com. Excludes Clearance, Women’s Plus & Maternity. While supplies last. Online and in stores. Restrictions apply. Ends 2/21. I love love love their sports bras and compression leggings! Don’t believe me? Well, how about we do a workout wear/gym clothes/ athleisure post?!

And Gap is having a sale too. 40% off everything and free shipping (no minimum!) with the code ‘PRESDAY’. AND…get an extra 10% off with code ‘BIG’. That’s 50% off–woohoo!

WARNING: These pictures are make-up free, wild hair selfies. And as usual, my faces in them are horrible. {Look away, small children & those faint of heart!} I took them all on the same night after I got home from Zumba and took a shower, but didn’t wash my hair because, well, this meme is the truth (can I get an amen?!) and I didn’t want to post a bunch of post-gym sweaty mess outfit pics…and I actually had all my laundry done {which, uhm, never happens}.

Up until this summer I always wore old, grungy t-shirts and loose-fitting yoga pants to the gym (I worked out 5 or 6 days a week even when I weighed 100 pounds more than I do now–I’ve always loved to exercise. To lose weight it’s all about what I eat. #pcosprobs ). But once I started doing classes (you can read about that here) I grew tired of constantly having to pull up my loose pants during a workout and hated staying clammy/wet in my cotton t-shirts afterwards. At first it felt frivolous buying gym clothes, but considering I wear them like half my day everyday I think they’re worth the investment! 😉

I love tops that have something neat going on. I don’t want them to be tight AND show skin so I usually go with a looser front and a back that shows off my sports bra.

C. got me this jacket for my birthday. The inside pockets have a place for my headphones.

Gap Top.  Gap jacket sold out (so sad!), but similar here. Old Navy Leggings {different pattern}. Old Navy strappy sports bra {different pattern}.

Recognize these leggings? They were on my Valentine’s Day Gift Guide and my mom got them for me. I love them as much as I thought I would! Gap drape-back top. Gap Sports Bra ($20!)

Old Navy compression leggings with mesh in black–I know it’s hard to see in the pic, but they’re so cute. {Here they are in ‘winter wine’ (what a fun name!) too}. Gap Top. Gap sports bra.

Gap top.($17!) Gap compression leggings. Under Amour shoes {different color} which I love.

This is my hands-down favoritey fav sports bra for yoga ($14.50!!) from Old Navy–no taataas falling out during downward-facing dog with this one! Here it is for the ladies with DDD and bigger busts.

january 31. playground. double doozies. rolls. pink hot chocolate. february 2. yoga_0004_edited-1

GapFit Tie-Back Top. (3 colors are on sale for $15!) Gap T-Back Sports Bra. Gap Leggings. Under Armour shoes. That black band peeking out from under my sports bra? It’s my heart rate monitor, by the way. 😉

And I have to admit something on here. I have a problem. An addiction. I’m totally addicted to this particular sports bra from Gap. I have six of them. ::Hangs head in shame.::

What I’ve got my eye on:

I’m really digging cutouts, straps, and mesh inserts on my leggings right now so I’m crushing pretty hard on these for $15. And I’m really loving the retro color scheme of these leggings. I’ve seriously been looking at them for months!

Note on sizing: I’m wearing a ‘large’ in all the pants and shirts–some of the shirts I could definitely go smaller in some but I like a looser fit. The sports bras are a mix of large and x-large. For size reference: I’m 5’5″, a big 6/little 8 in pants but more like a 12 in tops, and 36D in the bust.

 

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Kroger ClickList Vs. Walmart Grocery: A Showdown

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Whoever decided to do online grocery orders with curbside pickup is a genius and a lifesaver. I’m talking Noble Prize worthy.

Because {to me at least} pushing a shopping cart with my three, uhm, angels (HA!!!) around a crowded, germ-infested store is my idea of hell on earth. I *never* leave with what I need, even if I have a list. And usually my nerves are shot from my, uhm, darling angels.

I started using the Walmart online ordering system back in October. I loved that I could go online, order items that I need, and pick a set time for pickup (within an hour window). I usually swing by after one of my evening classes at the gym.  I pull into the designated parking spot, call the number on the sign and tell them which spot I’m in, wait for them to bring out my groceries in their little cart, we load them, and I’m gone–it takes about ten minutes!

I was telling someone about it and they said, ‘Ohhhhhhh, but have you tried Kroger? Kroger is so much nicer! It’s like the Target to Walmart!’ {This was also the same thing that was said about Costco and Sam’s…even though I don’t find Costco to be superior to Sam’s–just different.}

So you know me, I love a challenge! I picked items at random {can you tell it was Super Bowl week?!} and did a price comparison of the two. (Please note: I didn’t use coupons, but I DID INCLUDE my Kroger Plus Card discount)

Kroger Walmart
Marzetti Chunk Blue Cheese $3.99 $3.68
Celery $1.28 $1.34
Chicken Wings* 2lbs $5.98 $5.94
Bolthouse Farms Protein Plus 32oz $3.99 $3.48
Cinnamon Toast Crunch 20.25oz $3.98 $4.89
Lunchable $1.67 $1.68
Arm & Hammer Baking Soda 16oz $0.79 $0.72
Coffee-Mate Liquie Coffee Creamer 24ct $2.79 $2.83
Ronzoni Penne Passta $1.29 $1.06
Bertolli Alfredo Sauce $2.99 $1.84
Parsley $0.79 $0.98
Honeycrisp Apples 2lbs $5.96 $5.34
Nature’s Own Bread $2.99 $2.58
Yellow Onions 3lbs $1.98 $1.25
Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips $3.50 $2.67
Nestle White Chocolate Chips 12oz $2.99 $2.68
Carnation Evaporated Milk 12oz $1.59 $1.00
Store Brand Whole Milk 1gal $2.79 $2.78
Pillsbury Pizza Crust 13.8oz $2.69 $2.48

The price difference in the two stores?

Kroger: $48.55

Walmart: $43.96

So Walmart is $4.59 cheaper (or 10%).  Also note: After three free online orders Kroger begins to charge a $4.95 “Online Order Service Fee” to your order. In that case, the total at Kroger would be 20% higher than Walmart.

A couple of notes:

Quality

I have not found an issue with quality at either store. I’ve done Kroger twice now and Walmart at least a dozen times. Both have always given me the freshest produce {something I was worried about in the beginning!}, quality meat, eggs that were not broken, and milk that had at least ten days before it expired.  Note: yesterday Kroger gave me ground beef that needed to be eaten or frozen that same day. We ended up eating it that day, but I don’t like how they gave me something almost out of date, you know?

Pick-Up Wait

At Kroger I had to wait in my assigned space 5 minutes one time and 8 minutes yesterday. Both times there was one car in front of me. At Walmart I’ve never had to wait more than 10 minutes, even when all six spots were full.

Payment

At Walmart you pay for your order before you pickup {and just sign their little iPhone pad thingy at the end}. At Kroger they run your card when they get to your car. Kroger will also accept paper coupons.

Changing Your Order

At Walmart you are allowed to change/modify your order {including items and pickup time} by 10am the day of pickup. At Kroger you can modify your items by 10am, but you are not allowed to change your pickup time.

Also, both places offer substitutions automatically. If you don’t want a substitute (I’m a stickler on Lawson’s protein shakes and aluminum-free baking powder, for instance) you un-check the box.

Planning Pick Up

Both stores offer same-day pickup. With Walmart it’s generally minimum of 8 hours (I placed my order at 9am and could pick it up after 5pm), whereas I could pick it up in as little as 5 hours with Kroger.

Incentives

At Walmart they’ll periodically give you a little reusable tote bag with samples {granola bars, shampoo, garbanzo beans–totally random!}. I haven’t received that at Kroger yet. Kroger does provide a thicker grocery bag though for online orders.

Distance

Not every Kroger and Walmart offer online ordering. The closest stores that offer it for me are 5.1 miles away to Kroger and 6.9 miles to Walmart, but given the traffic it’s actually quicker to go to Walmart. Random, I know.

Verdict

So what would I recommend? Everything is so similar between the stores that I’m going by value alone and saying Walmart (I also like the wider selection of home goods they’ll let you purchase too. I could order a printer…or a poop emoji pillow! HA!!..and pick up at the same time as my groceries).

If you want to try Walmart click on this link for $10 off your first online grocery order (disclaimer: I will also get $10 off my next order). I’ve searched my emails from Kroger and their website but can’t find a similar offer from them. If I find a coupon code/link for them I’ll let you know.

Happy shopping!

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