Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Trick to Immediately Improve Your Squats!

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Would you believe that most people actually perform squats incorrectly? It is true.

The #1 mistake that most people make while squatting is allowing their knees to go way over their toes upon execution. I've done it for years until I realized it was completely wrong!

So how do you know if you are doing a squat improperly?

Give yourself a little test.
  1. Stand up straight, with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Squat down as low as you can keeping your torso straight.
  3. Now, check your knees. If they are way over your toes, then you need to improve your form because you could end up potentially hurting yourself-especially if you were to add any weights.
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How do you learn to control your knees to squat properly?
Two words: Wall Squats!

Wall squats are the perfect way to teach someone how to squat correctly.
  1. Basically, you face a wall and standing 6 inches away.
  2. Squat down as low as you can-do not touch the wall!
  3. Keep your torso straight.
  4. Check your knees!

"How in the heck does this wall squat help me?" you might wonder.

Seeing the wall right in front of you gives you a visual reference to keep you upright and squatting with your back straight. You use the wall as your guide to mimic a perfect squat by keeping your body in line and allowing you to become more aware of your form or posture. The wall does not allow any part of your body to lean forward-as it normally would if you have been doing the squats entirely wrong. If you have been doing squats wrongly, this will actually feel weird to you. So, it may sound simple, but it has been one of the best tips I have ever received in order to improve my squats.

Photo Source: Gym JunkiesHealthy Guts

Monday, July 28, 2014

6 Tips That Helped Grow My Hair Longer & Healthier


I have always had long hair (though I just recently had the itch to hack it all off once I gave birth to my son and, so far, I am loving it). I loved growing my hair out time and time again, but it always took so long-and I tend to be a little bit impatient at times.

I have crazy course and curly hair that is absolutely hard to manage so I tend to use a flat iron much of the time. I know-BIG no-no there. My hair lacked shine and was just so dull. So I went and researched the best and faster ways to grow your hair faster while also making it a lot healthier. And it worked!
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Here are my 6 tried & true tips that helped me to grow my hair out in hardly any time:
  1. Eat more biotin.  Biotin is a B (B7 to be exact) vitamin that is sometimes even referred to as Vitamin H. It is found in common foods such as leafy green vegetables, peanuts, Swiss chard, raw egg yolks and liver, but most wellness stores now provide Biotin in a supplement form. If you look on most Hair, Skin, & Nail vitamins, this is the main ingredient! It works by stimulating the root and hair follicles that are already growing. I have been taking Biotin capsules for years and have really noticed a HUGE difference.
  2. And Omega 3's. Taking fish oil capsules (or eating enough seafood) is great for hair because it makes it shinier and stronger. The natural oils that lubricate the scalp, hair and skin tend to lessen as we age. The omega-3s in fish oil capsules will help alleviate this dryness that leads to brittle hair and wrinkles. Therefore, it is also great for dandruff issues!
  3. Get regular trims. No, trimming your hair will not make it grow faster. BUT, they will help keep the ends from splitting and looking frayed. This gives the appearance of healthier & longer hair. When ends split and are severely damaged, they can cause breakage and that breakage travels up the hair shaft thus creating frizzy & messy hair. Trimming your hair may set you back an inch or two, but it will set you up for a nicer head of hair to come.
  4. Deep condition once per week. This is so important! Dry hair=frizzy hair=damaged hair. You can dehydrate that hair with an easy and simple homemade hair mask. I do it about once weekly. Sometimes, I will even do a home hot oil treatment using olive oil or coconut oil!
  5. Do a scalp massage! Scalp massages should be done once a night for at least 5 minutes. You can do them to yourself or you can have a friend or partner do them for you so you can relax & enjoy. Regular scalp massages stimulate blood flow to the roots of your hair, making them grow longer.
  6. LEAVE THE HAIR DRYER AND FLAT IRON ALONE. Or at least use sparingly.  I now flat iron my hair twice a year-if that-and only for special occasions!

A MUST HAVE for Any Parent


Are you in a bind when your little one gets congested and the bulb just does not cut it? Well, I have a solution for you!

Ladies, throw away those yucky nasal bulbs!

I introduce you all to: The NoseFrida Snotsucker aspirator. This one of a kind nasal aspirator was invented in Sweden by the good doctor himself!

It is 100% hygienic as it features disposable filters and it is super easy to use. It is invasive, gentle, and safe to baby as nothing actually is being stuck up their little noses. 

The NoseFrida Snotsucker works by creating a suction within the nostril once you suck into the red tip of it. 
You may think, "Well, that's just gross! What if I suck snot into my mouth?"
Well, I am so glad to tell you that it is not possible! The fact that you are using your mouth to create the suction is far more effective than any other nasal aspirator on the market.

We received our NoseFrida Snotsucker from ThanksMama.com. You may remember them when I did a review on two of their cloth diapers!
Cloth diapers, diaper covers & training pants from Thanks Mama

Thanksmama.com is family owned and operated natural baby store. They offer a great selection of cloth diapering products, potty training pants, swim diapers, natural baby care products, baby carriers, bibs, toys, nursery furniture and bedding, strollers and much more. They look for innovative products that are good for the baby and the environment and they never forget that most families are on a budget. That’s why Thanks Mama offers the Lowest Prices, Free Shipping on orders over $60 within USA, 90 days easy returns; Buy Safe Guarantee and Price Guarantee. Thanks Mama does ship worldwide! You can follow Thanks Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest or Google +. They host weekly Giveaways, Contests, Sweepstakes, Twitter Parties, talk about modern family fun and challenges, natural parenting and green living. 


This thing was COOL. I am a bit guilty to admit-it is soooo fun to use! You never know whatcha gonna get! And the little ones feel so much better after a good snotsucking session!

I am an exclusive breastfeeder and when my son was congested, he would barely latch on because when he did, he could not breathe since his nasal cavities were clogged. I thought, "Well, shit! Now what?" That's when I remembered my handy dandy NoseFrida! So, I gave it a whirl. And the results speak from themselves:


He latched back on for a feeding and it was successful-and he could breathe again. Momma was a happy camper!

Want to see the results? One huge boogie and some snot that was keeping my baby boy from breathing-which interfered with his eating. Do I think a nasal bulb would have gotten all this? Heck no!




I absolutely LOVED the NoseFrida Snotsucker. This thing was a LIFESAVER. I am NOT kidding. Screw the bulbs-throw them all away! They only work half the time-if that-and they are so unsanitary! Nasal bulbs have a bad habit of forming mold on the inside of the bulb because it is so hard to clean and dry there. This risks contamination to your baby with each use! The Snotsucker, however, has disposable filters that are replaced to keep the aspirator completely clean after each use.


My son tolerated the NoseFrida Snotsucker very well! At first he was a bit timid and did not know what to think of it. But, I found that he liked it a LOT more than that ole bulb the hospital had given us. I would totally recommend the Snotsucker to every parent out there/ I would totally even use this product on myself. 

Because, let's face it, runny & stuffy noses are just bound to happen.

To learn more about Thanks Mama & to purchase your own snotsucker, visit their:


Disclaimer: I was given a NoseFrida Snotsucker to test, at no cost. All opinions are my own.

Run Your Best 5K With This 6 Week 5K Training Plan

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So you wanna run your first 5k? But, the problem is that you absolutely HATE running. Do not worry, you are not alone!

In high school, I was a sprinter on our local track team and did not dare do any distance running.. until I decided to sign up for my first 5k-the annual McGuire's Irish Pub Run. Half of the thousands of people there running it had a beer in hand-at 9:30am-and the other half were dressed in costumes (my husband and I!).

The problem was that I fucking hated running, though later I enjoyed running so much, that I ran up until two days before my due date during pregnancy. I knew I had to run then, to burn off all of those chips & queso I indulged in during my second trimester.

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Though, I had LOTS of fun doing it because my husband waited on my slow ass, I ran it in a horrible 45 minute-ish range and decided that I needed lots of help-and training. I could not even keep my breathing up!

So, I created a mini 5k training plan to prepare me for the next year's race. And I did it religiously.. And did a whole lot better with the next race!

Here is a mini 5k workout plan to get ready for your first race! It will condition your body to get used to running longer distances by doing a little more running each day. Then, after you have mastered the plan, try doing it faster!

It is very simple, nothing special, but gives you a good goal to start with. Each week has its own interval of running. Try to complete it once a morning. If you cannot do it everyday, then try maybe 5 times per week-3 days at the very least!



6 Week 5K Training Plan
Week 1: Run for 5 Minutes; Walk 2 minutes. Repeat for 6 sets.
Week 2: Run for 7 Minutes; Walk 90 seconds. Repeat for 5 sets.
Week 3: Run for 10 Minutes; Walk 1 minute.  Repeat for 4 sets.
Week 4: Run for 15 Minutes; Walk 2 minutes. Repeat for 3 sets.
Week 5: Run for 25 Minutes; Walk 90 seconds. Repeat for 2 sets
Week 6: Run for 30 Minutes! WOOHOO!  Repeat only once.

And always remember this..
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The BEST Teething Toy EVER!!!


Hi ladies,
I would like to introduce you ladies to our new bestest friend, Sophie!
Sophie the Giraffe, to be exact! 

She stands just 7 inches tall and comes all the way from the country of France. 
Oooohh la la!



We first met Sophie when Grey was having his first tooth cut through and boy was she a lifesaver! I have heard before that this simple rubber giraffe was dubbed the "World's Greatest Teething Toy," but never realized why... until I handed her over to my son and let him play. It is in fact the best-selling teething toy around. 



But, I know what you're thinking as you roll your eyes... 

"$24... for a teething toy... REALLY... You gotta be kidding me..." 

Sure, she is a little pricier than most teethers that you tend to find, but I am telling you-she is worth every penny and more. I even received a mini-Sophie keychain to carry around with me wherever we go-just in case he needs a good chewing session.



Upon giving Sophie to my son, his face lit up! He immediately grabbed for her and started gnawing away on her long legs. Then he would pick her up, throw her down to make her squeak. Yes, she is a squeaking toy so if you have a dog, you may want to hide this toy or it will be theirs! 




My son played with Sophie for almost an hour before he got bored. And watching him teethe on it gave me such delight since no other teething toy has helped him so much! Overall, I would give Sophie the Giraffe 10 stars. We were super pleased!



Our Sophie even came with a miniature keychain version to take with us on the go whenever our son has a knack to gnaw on something!




We got our Sophie the Giraffe from Giggle.com. This site is pretty freaking awesome-they have everything to meet your baby's needs. From toys to nursery decor, from feeding supplies to bathing, you are sure to find what you need right here! 

Giggle.com has their own criteria for toys and as you can see from the chart below, Sophie the Giraffe meets every single one of them!

BEST BASICS: These are the tried-and-true necessities that every new parent needs, such as burp cloths and baby bottles, plus some of those things that just make parenting a little simpler. Most of them are considered must-haves, and the rest will make your life so much easier they'll be a no-brainer. In this category, we look for convenience and functionality above all else.BEST BASICS: everyday baby essentials
MULTI-USE: Everyone wants to get the most for their money, but that doesn't always translate to the lowest price. Sometimes it means choosing one great product instead of buying multiple products over time. These products last longer and do more - whether they grow with your baby, live on beyond the baby years, or can be used for more than one purpose - so that you can always feel confident that you made a great investment.MULTI-USE: versatile & long-lasting
HEALTHY: Every parent's number-one goal is a healthy baby, and babies' developing systems are a lot more sensitive than adults. That's why we work hard to find products that won't introduce any more toxins than necessary into your home. Sometimes that means organic products that avoid pesticides and chemicals, but it also includes things like nontoxic cleaning products made from plant-based ingredients, or plastics without toxins likes BPA or phthalates.HEALTHY: made with safe or organic materials
INNOVATIVE: These products are just plain smart, whether it's a new twist on an old product, a smart, modern design, or a fresh idea that's altogether new. We're always on the hunt for the latest innovations in parenting — and that includes cool, new products that adapt the latest in technology to help the newest entrants in the world of parenting.INNOVATIVE: smart products that do more
TRAVEL-FRIENDLY: If you're a parent on the go, you'll appreciate these products that help keep you moving and make travel simpler and more manageable. We look for things that are lightweight, collapsible, easy to pack, and durable enough to hold up to your busy lifestyle.TRAVEL-FRIENDLY: lightweight & portable
SPACE-SAVING: Let's face it: Babies take up a lot of room. These space-saving essentials help make sure there's still enough room for everyone after the baby comes. Maybe they have a smaller footprint, or maybe they're easy to put away when you're not using them, but either way they're a whole lot easier than finding a bigger house!SPACE-SAVING: compact & easy to store
RESPONSIBLE: What's good for the world is good for our children. We put a special emphasis on environmentally friendly, "green" products that are made with nontoxic, recycled and sustainable materials. We also love products that help the communities where they're made, or that go the extra mile to support charitable causes. Plus, we love "local"!RESPONSIBLE: eco-friendly or locally produced

Here is a video of my son with Sophie :)




To get your very own Sophie The Giraffe, visit Giggle.com!

Also, be sure to check out their Facebook & Twitter pages for their newest trending toys and products.

Disclaimer: I was given a Sophie the Giraffe to test, at no cost. All opinions are my own.





DIY Coffee Scrub Cellulite Treatment

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Who loves body scrubs?

I do, I do!
However, they can get expensive depending on where you purchase them from. Personally, I love making my very own!
My favorite involves my addiction: caffeine!
Whaaat? How does caffeine play into a body scrub?
The “caffeine” works on skin in three primary ways: as a vasoconstrictor, an antioxidant, and a diuretic, making it perfect for buffing your skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Ingredients
  • 1 c freshly ground coffee
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c sea salt
  • 1/2 c coconut oil (olive oil works fine too as long as its extra virgin)

Directions
  1. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together and store in a mason jar!
  2. Use once per week in the shower with a body brush or just using your hands.
  3. Wash off thoroughly with warm water.

Vegan Cupcake Batter

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, liquefied
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 18 paper baking cups.
  2. Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter.
  4. Frost with desired frosting.

*Notes: this recipe does not rise as well as cake batter, but cupcakes are more fun anyway!

30 Day At-Home CrossFit Challenge

Love this, will be doing soon!!! Sounds like a good change of pace! 30 Days CrossFit WOD

Friday, July 25, 2014

Belly Dance Maternity/Nursing Dress Review + Giveaway


Hi pregnant and nursing mama's! Today, I come bearing gifts! :)




I would love to introduce you to Belly Dance Maternity-a favorite among celebrities and one of the best online boutiques that offers maternity & nursing apparel. A pioneer in the burgeoning world of maternity fashion, owner Jennifer Strom Simonte wanted to provide the ultimate collection for women who do not want to sacrifice their style when expecting.


I have gotten the chance to speak with Jennifer and she is absolutely stunning! She truly cares about her company and works at a very personal level to make sure you feel and look your best-at every stage of your pregnancy and afterwards!



At Belly Dance Maternity, they believe you shouldn't have to sacrifice your style when you’re expecting. Our clothes outfit every part of your life - work, home, formal occasions, outdoors, sleepwear and lingerie-even cool baby gifts! They also offer some of the best brands around such as Maternal America, Seraphine, NOM, Belabumbum, Bravado, you name it-they have it! To check out their full list of designers, click here


Today, I am reviewing the Mosaic Ruffle Wrap Dress by Maternal America (which is one of my favorite brands by the way). This dress functions as a maternity AND nursing dress. If you followed me during my pregnancy, then you know that I won't wear anything that cannot be used after pregnancy as well! I hate to waste.


So THIS is the perfect solution-whether you are expecting or nursing-or even afterwards!



Overall, I absolutely loved this dress. I wore it out to dinner with my husband and son and got so many compliments! As my husband says, "It hugs the curves in all the right places. It can be sexy or it can be cute, too." 






The material was soft and the dress itself was light and flowy-almost airy! It definitely would flatter a pregnant bump or a nursing mama as the deep v-neck also makes it 100% accessible and easy for breastfeeding. The mosaic pattern is super flattering while the tie in the back adds a degree of utter cuteness. (the straps are still my favorite for some reason)

Best of all? You would never even guess the dress was in the maternity/nursing category!


Now, here is a chance to win a $25 gift certificate code to apply towards ANY purchase on the site! Just enter below to win! And no worries if you do not win-here is a gift for ALL of you ladies! Here is a 20% off coupon code that you may use on anything on the site! YAY!!! 

Code: fit20 
Expiration Date: 30 days from now


To learn more about Belly Dance Maternity, visit their:



Disclaimer: I was given a dress to test, at no cost. All opinions are my own.

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