Sunday, July 19, 2015

GIVEAWAY Balance Bar and Walmart Celebrate Summer

Hey guys! As I mentioned last week, Balance Bar and Walmart are celebrating summer and they are giving YOU the opportunity to win a $15 gift card to Walmart and a variety of Balance Bare Bars. 

Oh yeah! It's super easy to enter to win, too. Just use the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One lucky winner will be selected on August 1st. Winner will be notified by email. Must be a U.S. resident and 18 years or older to win. Good luck, all!

PSA: I will be taking a little "summer vacation" from blogging from now throughout the end of the month. I will remain active on Instagram during my blog vacation, so you can keep up with the new happenings on there. I plan to be back in action on August 1st.

Enjoy these summer days, readers, and; if you're entering to win this GIVEAWAY by tweeting a message, feel free come back daily for more entry opportunities!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Balance Bar and Walmart Celebrate Summer

Yesterday, I confessed. I've been struggling with sticking to a healthy lifestyle now that my attention is getting pulled in about five different directions. Some days, I am on the go so much that I don't get a chance to eat. Then, when I finally do get to eat, I overeat -- and it's not on the good stuff, either. One solution to that problem would be packing healthy snacks for on-the-go; something I'm about to start doing way more often, now!

Do you guys remember me telling you all about the Balance Bar Summer Shape Up program going on? Well, this Balance Bar and Walmart are Celebrating Summer with an awesome value pack of Balance Bare Bars available at Walmart, now! This celebration may just be my saving grace for getting back on track. I love Balance Bar Bare Bars because they are just so -- balanced. The perfect on-the-go snack for my busy days.

Balance Bars have a great mix of carbs, protein and dietary fat. When I'm in a real rush (like every other day now) these bare bars (especially the salted caramel bare bars) are what I reach for to get me through.

Once Piper is old enough to get her hands on some real food, I think she is going to love these bars as much as I do. Just last week, my girl Piper and I went shopping at Walmart to restock my fuel a/k/a Balance Bare Bars. We had a lot of fun during this trip, as you can tell from the pictures below!

Shopping for Balance Bars at Walmart!

Piper is very excited :)

(Psst. Thinking of food as fuel also helps me to stay on track -- I don't want to be feeding my machine, a/k/a body, bad fuel, now do I?)

Walmart sells Balance Bare Bars in an exclusive bare value pack. The 4+1 value pack of the Balance Bare Bars are a great deal, especially since you get a $1 off coupon, too! If you were to try the Mixed Berry value pack and (my favorite) Sea Salt Caramel value pack, I think you'd understand why I'm so in love!

Some more great things about Balance Bare Bars? Well, each bar is only 160 calories, non-GMO, gluten free, soy free and vegetarian. Also, they fit nicely in my compact on-the-go diaper bag.

As you may have noticed, the Sea Salt Caramel is my favorite. There's just something about salt and caramel and nuts that's so, so good!

Eating healthy snacks isn't the only thing that's going to get me back on track. I'm going to have to get more active, too. My husband and I have been trying to take family walks at least a couple times a week. Also, my sister and mom have agreed to start coming over around 8 p.m. once a week (after Piper has gone down for the night) so Nick and I can go for a walk, just the two of us, like we use to do!

If you want to do more than walk this summer, Gabby Reece also has some quick and easy workout moves to help keep anyone active! Just click this link to see more.

Readers, have you tried Balance Bar Bare Bars yet? Would you be interested in a GIVEAWAY of Balance Bare Bars? Sound off in the comments! :)

I have received a gift card from Balance Bar in exchange for an honest review and account of my experience with Balance Bare Bars and Walmart.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Day Is It

Whoa. What day is it?

Life is starting to get really busy and I'm falling in love with it! I have been getting, making and filling custom orders for my Etsy shop, "Anything Rustic", left and right. It's kind of a dream come true right now. I don't want to jinx it, so I'll leave it at that.

Since I've been so busy being mom, wife and handmade wonder woman, I haven't really been focusing on my meals and water intake as of late. And exercise, what's that?

Yeah, I'm being honest here. My "healthy" lifestyle has been more of a "hurry-up-and-eat-whatever-you-can" (and make sure it's really satisfying) kind of lifestyle.

Last night, between filling orders, enjoying some quality time with Piper, and grocery shopping with my husband, I didn't have time to plan out or make us all dinner. Instead, while we were out grocery shopping, we picked up Chinese take-out. We shared one entree instead of getting two so while it wasn't a good choice in general, that has to count for something, right?

Monday was crazy. Today will be better.

Today, I am going to make time for me to refocus on some good goals throughout the day.

Goals such as...

1. Drink 120 ounces of water
2. Eat 3 meals, 2 snacks and make them all better choices than yesterday.
3. Go for a walk or do something in the way of exercise (for crying out loud)

Readers, be honest: how have you been doing lately? What would you like to refocus on this week?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Berries and Blooms

My husband and I finally went berry picking with our sweet little girl, Piper, today. It has been such a beautiful hot July day. This day is the epitome of summer for me! Beautiful skies, warm breeze, the smell of berries, having fun with my little family; I couldn't ask for more!

This past week or so, Piper has really begun reaching out for things. When she sees something that she wants, she points in the objects' direction and like a genie, her wish is our command. She loved feeling the raspberries in her hands. She was very interested in those red goodies. If only she knew how great they taste! One day, sweet girl, one day.

Now that the berries are picked, it's time to get to canning! We've got a first timer over here; I am excited to give it a go! My husband is going on a fishing trip tomorrow morning so I hope to get these little goodies canned while he's out. We've got two quarts of yellow, two quarts of red and one quart of mixed blackberries.

Since Piper (and my husband and I) had so much fun picking berries today, we hope to make this an annual family tradition!

Psst. if you look really closely, you can see two little toofers coming through on the bottom. Those little buggers gave her some big troubles last weekend, but she's been a very happy girl ever since!

Readers, what is your favorite kind of raspberry? I was surprised to enjoy the yellow ones so much!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Feeling Unhealthy

Raise your hand if you ate too much over the holiday weekend and you're still feeling bloated on Thursday. I'm hesitantly raising my hand over here! I finally looked at the scale today and it wasn't good. I gained a couple pounds over the holiday weekend. I went from 235 lbs. to 238 lbs. I could definitely tell, too.

Physically, I have been feeling the worst of the worst lately. I just feel unhealthy. Once you have experienced the rewards of exercise and eating healthier, it's easy to miss when it's not there. I miss feeling lighter on my feet. I miss waking up and walking down the stairs without pain.

My goal of losing weight is not all about looking better, it's truly about feeling healthier. Do I want to look and feel good in my pre-pregnancy clothes again? Sure, I do; but more so, I want to just plain feel healthy again.

This week, I have been making healthy meals and sticking within my calorie ranges. I have been drinking more water and have been going for walks with my husband in the evenings. This week isn't going to be perfect, though. My husband surprised me yesterday with a sitter for Piper and a date night planned for Friday. I am striving for progress, not perfection, and even though I will be eating out for dinner tomorrow, I have definitely been making progress this week!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Perfect Summer Meal

I kind of threw together something amazing for dinner last night. It was simple, it was fresh and it was healthy! Word of advice: pin this recipe now -- you'll thank yourself later!

corn salad

I guess you could call it a corn salsa or corn salad. I think I want to call it a corn salad because that's basically how I used it with our meal last night.

corn salsa

Corn Salad


2 ears of corn, steamed and salted
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 - 2 tbsp, apple cider vinegar
1 - 2 tbsp. sweet baby rays buffalo sauce
1 - 2 pinches, cayenne pepper


Remove corn from cob, cutting it off into a medium size bowl. Add remainder of ingredients to the bowl, prepared as listed in the ingredient list. Toss and serve.

I served the corn salad with grilled chicken and it was super fresh tasting. A perfect summer meal! My husband and I both had a serving last night, and there looks to be enough for another two servings for some time this week. Alright!

Readers, have you ever made a corn salad or corn salsa before?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Piper's First Fourth of July

My husband and I celebrated our first Fourth of July with Piper this weekend!

Piper is teething right now so we had a rough night on Friday but thankfully she was such a happy girl on Saturday for a picnic with my dad's side of the family. She did so well at the picnic! She enjoyed looking around and giving smiles to everyone.

It was so sweet to have Piper there with us; finally, I thought! I remember being pregnant last year during the 4th of July, wondering what it would be like with an infant this year. It's indescribable, the amount of joy she brings to us, even as we are knee deep in teething. Two bottom teeth at once is no joke; but she really is such a trooper!

Before the weekend began, I rushed to get some more items up and available at our Etsy shop, "Anything Rustic". We also went to the craft store and bought more material so I can work on making even more banners in the week ahead. My husband brought home some reclaimed wood that I'm excited to be working with this week, as well. Piper seems to be napping a little more often with her teeth coming in, so I have been taking full advantage of her naps by filling orders for the shop. It's been so much fun!

When I don't get a chance to finish everything I'd like to during Piper's naps, I then stay up late to work on orders, instead. My husband always insists that I sleep in during the weekends and I really took advantage of that offer on Sunday morning. When I finally woke up on Sunday, this is what I came outside to find. 

My husband was just walking Piper around, letting her explore the big world that is our backyard with her eyes and hands. It was so sweet. I snuck up on them to hear him saying, "Piper! Look at that! What is that?". My heart; it melts on a daily basis with these two.

Readers, how was your Fourth of July weekend?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Throwback Thursday: No. 7 {with LinkUp}

It's been a while since I've done a Throwback Thursday post and since I didn't have anything planned for today, I figured I'd throw it back for you all!

Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out these posts, first:

Throwback Thursday: No. 1
Throwback Thursday: No. 2
Throwback Thursday: No. 3
Throwback Thursday: No. 4
Throwback Thursday: No. 5
Throwback Thursday: No. 6

Some posts that I'm having fun looking back on today:

The note I wrote to Piper before she was born still brings tears to my eyes: 40 Weeks

Freezer Meal Sausage and Potato Soup: who thinks about soup in the summer? Me. I do. Yes, please.

This post still makes me breath a sigh of relief: The Big News

TBT: February, 2012.

Cheesecake AND Weight Loss: I'm going to have to go back to the Cheesecake Factory before the end of the year. It's final.

The quote at the beginning of this post -- on point: What is my Rainbow

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Get Back Up

It's July and July, my friends, is going to be an awesome month!

{Psst. Look who has begun sitting up on her own!}

After not losing any weight in June (wah wah), I have made a few decisions for the month ahead. I have decided that I'm not going to feel like working out, but I'm going to do it anyway. I decided that I'm not going to want to stop with just one treat after dinner, but I'm going to practice self control. I decided that losing weight isn't going to be as easy as it was before having a child, but I'm not going to let that fact keep me from trying. 

It's a new month, it's a new day, and I will not give up!

I can tell you right now that my 5 month old daughter is a lot like me already. She is very determined! She loves to sit up now, and she reaches for things that she wants. It's just so cute and amazing to see her little mind at work!

Despite being able to sit up on her own, she does still lose her balance from time to time. (Sounds a lot like my journey of losing weight.) She fell back and landed (softly) on the crib mattress three times yesterday. She basically gave me three separate heart attacks, meanwhile, the little dare devil didn't mind too much and wanted to sit right back up all over again. What a good lesson that was for me! If you fall down, don't stay there; get back up.

So, I'm getting back up today. I am going to plan out my meals, and I'm going to stick to them!

{Breakfast - 330 calories}

Banana - 90
Oatmeal - 160
Coffee with creamer - 80

{Lunch - 216 calories}

Hard boiled egg - 78
Lettuce - 15
Grape tomatoes - 13
Sweet vidalia onion dressing - 30
Shredded mozzarella - 80

{Snack - 210 calories}

Carrots - 70
Ranch - 140

{Dinner - 580 calories}

6 oz. Sirloin - 280
Coleslaw - 90
Mashed potatoes - 210

{Snack - 134 calories}

Dark chocolate square - 134

Total: 1470 calories

Sticking to my meal plan today is particularly important as I am going out to dinner for a (much needed) girls night out. It's easy to go overboard when eating out so, I decided to look up the menu ahead of time, and the nutritional information, to get an idea of what I should order. This is just one healthy habit that has helped me to lose 40 pounds and I'm going to start practicing it more often!

Readers, do you look up nutritional information for the meals you eat before you go out to dinner? What have you decided to work on this month?