Wednesday, April 22, 2015

#WipeforWater challenge - Neutrogena Purifying Makeup Remove Cleansing Wipes Product Review

The best part of being part of product review companies such as Influenster, is that I get to try so many great and awesome products that I may have not discovered otherwise.  I love opening my mailbox or seeing the UPS guy pull in the driveway and the anticipation of what products are there.


I received a package of Neutrogena makeup remover cleansing wipes complimentary through Influenster and really like them! They remove my stubborn eye makeup much better than other wipes that I've tried without leaving an oily residue or irritating my skin. They have a light, fresh scent that isn't overwhelming too. I've used them the last week and feel that my skin has responded very well to them with very few blemishes and feeling moisturized and smooth. I would definitely consider purchasing these in the future.


This Earth Month, Neutrogena® Naturals is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to save water. Take the #WipeforWater challenge and pledge to clean your face without using water — and only using Neutrogena® Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes — for 3 days! Then, get sharing about your Neutrogena® wipes with your social networks! For each pledge, Neutrogena® Naturals will contribute $1 to The Nature Conservancy to support water conservation, up to $50,000.

To pledge, check out www.wipeforwater.com

If interested in joining Influenster, click here to join.

Disclaimer: I did recieve this product complimentary, however I do give my honest opinion - the good, the bad, and the fabulous.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Every Day Should Be Earth Day: What You Can Do To Help

Earth Day is right around the corner and will be celebrated this Wednesday, April 22! I've always been a bit of a biology nerd and loved everything Earth science and conservation in high school and college. I loved it so much that I went for a biology degree and at one point was working towards a wildlife/conservation specialist focus. There are many days that I still consider going that route later in life once my little(s), isn't so little and I decide to go back into the workforce.

In our household, we practice lots of ways to stay green and to lower our environmental impact. This not only benefits us in often healthier choices, more physical activity and cost savings, but also is leaving a cleaner and hopefully more bountiful environment for our children, subsequent generations and all the other critters that we share this world with.

So to celebrate Earth Day, here are a few of the ways that we reduce our environmental footprint. Hopefully this may inspire you to make a few changes in your home to become 'greener' and help restore the planet (and save some money at the same time).

  • Recycle - We are lucky enough to live in a community that are strong supporters in recycling. We recycle a lot. We recycle far more than we throw away. This also saves us money because we have to pay by the bag for our trash. We also are planning to start composting soon which will reduce our trash waste and also benefit our garden.
Source
  • Cloth Diaper - When I was pregnant I started exploring our diaper options and was really intrigued (and overwhelmed at times) by cloth diapers. Did you know that it takes a disposable diaper 250-500 years to completely decompose? Shocking, right?! Cloth diapering is super easy, exposes your kiddo to less toxins, saves a ton of money and drastically reduces your waste. You do spend some times and energy washing and drying, but the water and electric use is much less than what it takes to manufacture disposable diapers. We spent about $200 for our diaper stash and it has paid itself off numerous times within the first year. If not able to do it full time, considering trying it out part time (there are times that we use disposable during travel or sickness). Plus, fluff butts are sooooo darn adorable! 
Fluff butt
  • Waste-free lunch - Packing your lunch with reusable containers and real silverware can reduce your carbon footprint by a significant amount.
  • Garden & plants in the home - By gardening we save a ton of money. If not able to garden, shop your local farmers market as doing so will support your local economy and your food will come from a closer source so less toxins are put into the environment during transportation. Our harvest from last years garden saved us so much money since we didn't have to purchase many vegetables through summer & fall. Plants in the home are a great way reduce toxins in the air and has even been shown to provide stimulation to make you more productive.
Our garden
  • Walk more - Ditch the constant use of the car and walk or bike to your destination. If not able to walk, then consider carpooling or taking public transportation. You can often find me taking a walk to the store, park or yoga classes. I get extra activity, get out in nature, burn calories and lessen my carbon footprint. My husband carpools with a co-worker often and this saves us so much money on gas costs as well.
  • Go paperless - Try to print less. Most people have constant access to mobile devices so printing is often unnecessary. Buy digital copies or magazines, newspapers or books. Instead of using paper towels, use old t-shirts for your cleaning needs or use dishtowels to mop up messes. 
  • Use natural cleaning products - Baking soda and vinegar can be used to clean so much. We never buy cleaning supplies anymore and I don't have to worry about my toddler getting into toxic supplies and the residue of using them. It's also very economically savvy.
  • Turn off and unplug - If you're not using something, turn it off and unplug it. Many devices still draw power when plugged in, even if not being used. If not using your monitor (lunch break, meeting, nighttime), turn it off. Unplug your charger devices, toaster, coffeemaker, etc. when not in use.
  • Use a programmable thermostat - This investment pays itself off in no time. There's no point having the heat turn on during the day when you're not home or when your nested in bed under covers. While you're at it, put on a sweatshirt and lower your thermostat a degree or two.
If you're interested in seeing what your carbon footprint is check out the free carbon footprint calculator on The Nature Conservancy website. 

Source: She Knows

What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday? 

What's one small way you can help reduce your carbon footprint in the home or at work?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Influenster #XOVoxBox Review

If you haven't heard of Influenster, then you need to go sign up! I've talked about Influenster before, but will give a quick run down in case you missed it. Influenster is a company that helps link brands and products to consumers. Consumers get products free or highly discounted and in exchange review them (blogging not necessary as they do other social media outlets and surveys). I signed up for Influenster a few years ago and have received so many great and awesome products to try...for free! They send me a box every now and then full of all different types of products to try. Sometimes it's full size products, sometimes trial size and also coupons and promotional codes. If you're interested in signing up go here.

My most recent VoxBox that I received was the XO VoxBox. This recent box has so many fabulous products and I'm really excited that I was able to try them all.

Lots of goodies!

Tide Pods Plus Febreze- These smell amazing! I have been using a free & clear detergent for awhile (since Aiden was born), but these didn't irritate his sensitive skin at all and leaves your laundry smelling so fresh. They clleaned clothes extremely well and got out our everyday stains. These definitely got a good testing with a very adventurous toddler that likes to feed himself and play outside (i.e. get dirty). I loved the convenience of just throwing one in the washer and hitting start instead of measuring with messy liquids. 


John Frieda Frizz Ease Beyond Smooth - They sent me a large sample size of shampoo, conditioner and primer. I have curly hair so fighting frizz and flyaways is a constant concern of mine and I was pleased with this product. It seemed to help combat some of the frizz, but the real test will be using this product in hot and humid summer and for a longer period of time. With continued use you are suppose to see better results (although after a week of use I noticed improvements). I'll likely go out and purchase it to give it another go once the weather warms up. 


Skinfix Hand Repair Cream - I LOVED this product, however I don't like the price of it ($17.99 for 2 ounces at Target). It definitely helped to heal my cracked and dry cuticles and even banished a weird rash that my husband had for weeks. You have to use a very small amount of it so it will go far, but it's a bit above my price budget. It's clinically proven to repair cracked skin and eczema so if that is an issue you deal with regularly, it may be worth it since it did work extremely well.


Colgate Optic White Toothbrush and Built-in Whitening Pen & Express White Toothpaste - I had previously used both of these products before, but really liked them so was pleasantly surprised to get them again. The built-in whitening pen is super convenient for use and storage and my teeth appeared slightly whiter with increased use of the whitening pen and toothpaste. The toothpaste leaves your mouth feeling super clean and fresh.


Lands End - I was sent a promo code to get $25 off a $100 purchase for Land's End product. It was a generous offer, but I didn't use it. They had some really cute clothes to shop online, but I prefer being able to try clothes on. I do have a code to share for others to use if they would like the same discount. Enter VOXLOVE at checkout to receive $25 off a $100 purchase.

Ebay- There was a promotion with this #XOVoxBox to write 2 guides for Ebay and receive a $25 gift card to use on their site. I use ebay occasionally so I took advantage of this and just received my gift card. There's now a VIP Ebay campaign and I'll definitely do it as well for another $25 gift card. One of my favorite things to buy via Ebay is used books. So cheap!

Oh La la! Pretty packaging!
Prettier lingerie...
Adore Me- One of my favorite aspects of the #XOVoxBox was the trial to Adore Me. Adore Me VIP membership is a monthly lingerie service. VIP members get $10 off any style, any time, plus free shipping and every 6th set is free (along with other benefits). You have no obligation to buy or any membership fees.

If you signed up for the VIP membership through XOVoxBox, you got your first set of lingerie free ($49 value). I've been meaning to buy some new bras, so I quickly signed up and soon received my free bra and undies. They're great quality, super cute and fit well (they even have large bust sizes!!!).

If interested, check it out here for more information AND you'll get your first set for $25.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jalapeno Turkey Burgers - Recipe

Lately I feel like I've been in a cooking rut and have been trying out lots of new recipes to add a few new favorites to our rotation. The other weekend I decided to pick up some ground turkey and give it another go. It has been at least 2 years since I've had it and for good reason.

Before I got pregnant with Aiden we had turkey burgers all the time. Once pregnant, I could not stand the sight or smell of ground turkey whatsoever. The moment I smelled it, I was a gagging mess. One day in early pregnancy I started cooking it, I had to vacate the house and have Ryan take care of it because my aversion was so terrible. I became a red meat devouring animal during pregnancy. The aversion was so bad that it took me this long to even think about trying it again, but I'm so glad to say that we're over that mess. 

Anyways...I'm finally able to eat it again so now we have a new option for some quick and healthy weeknight meals. I made these jalapeno turkey burgers the other night and they were awesome. They're a great option for those evenings that you are time crunched, but want to still eat healthy.

My homemade buns came out HUGE for some reason, The burgers really aren't small. ;)


Jalapeno Turkey Burgers
(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients: 

1.25 pounds ground turkey
1 small onion (about 3/4 cup), diced
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 jalapeno (seeds removed), finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Heavy splash of lime juice

Optional ingredients:
Hamburger buns
Avocado
Cheese (we love pepperjack on these)
Lettuce
Tomatoes

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients in large bowl. 
  3. Form into 4-5 patties.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, turning once. Bake until you reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. Top each patty with cheese the last few minutes of baking.
  5. Top with condiments and toppings. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's almost running season! Time to start planning.

The sun is out, the temps are finally out of the teens, and the snow will hopefully be melting soon. I feel like this winter has been the absolute longest winter yet. The bitter cold temps made it nearly impossible to leave the house and spend any time outside, especially with a toddler. I'm ready to get out of this house and have had the worst case of cabin fever ever.

The warmer temperatures and bright sun have me itching to get out and run. I've ran on and off through the winter when temps were above 20 degrees, but it's tough getting out often since I do most of my running in the later evenings or with a jogging stroller. So for the last few months it's been a ton of yoga, HIIT and kickboxing.

Pretty, but over it!
I won't miss this!
Now that it's spring, I've been busy making some race season goals and plans:

  • Run one race a month
  • Run a half marathon 
  • Increase overall speed (would love an under 25 minute 5k)

I like the idea of having a race every single month (starting in April) because it will keep me motivated and having something to look forward to is always a bonus. I'm planning on having a mix between some 5k's, 10k's, a 20k and the half marathon. I'm aiming to run the half marathon by late June to mid July. 
  
The race lineup so far: 

Tri to Finish Cinco de Mayo 10k in Flint (May)
Fenton Tiger Run 5k in Fenton (May)
Volkslaufe 20k in Frankenmuth (July)
Crim 10 mile in Flint (August - one of my favorites!)

My half marathon is still undecided, so if you have any recommendations for an awesome first half marathon in Michigan, let me know. I'm also looking for some recommended training plans too. The longest distance race I've ran was the CRIM (10 miles) last August and I prepped for that by just running a lot, without any real plan. I'd like to have a more structured plan for the half marathon.

I was thankful enough to be able to get a few walks in this week with the kiddo. We both enjoyed the fresh air and warm sunlight.
We love our Ergo baby carrier! New moms...this is a must have!
Loving the sunlight! 
Next weeks temperatures are expected to be in the mid 40's! You can bet that I'll be out there ASAP! I cannot wait to get outside again.

What are your running goals for this year? 
What's the longest distance race you've done? 
If you have any long distance running tips, fill me in. I'd love to hear them all! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

A New Twist on Hummus - Guaca-Hummus!


We've been on a major hummus kick lately. It's easy to make, healthy, and super cheap to make so it's a perfect snack for our family. It's versatile so it never goes to waste in our house since it can be paired with veggies, pita chips (Stacy's are the absolute best!), and even used on sandwiches instead of other high fat condiments.

The other week I was cruising my Pinterest (add me) and came across a chart with all different hummus variations.  Since I was getting a bit tired of the original recipe I use, I figured maybe I'd try something different.  I took the basic bones of the recipe, but added a few extras for added flavor and tang. 

I'm so glad that I did! We've been obsessed with this new recipe and may have devoured it rather quickly. ;) It's a combination of hummus and guacamole and it's delicious! Read below for recipe and let me know if you give it a try! I promise, you won't be disappointed. 


Guaca-Hummus

Ingredients:

1 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans (drain, but reserve liquid)
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup cilantro
1-2 Tbsp lime juice, to taste
3 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeño (add more or less as desired)
1 tsp cumin seasoning
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions: 
Add all ingredients, except red pepper flakes, to food processor. Blend until puréed. Add reserved liquid from beans, if needed. Add red pepper flakes to taste. Refrigerate for several hours to let flavors enhance. 

Seriously easy! I love this as a midday snack with lots of fresh veggies and pita chips.


I hope that you all enjoy this recipe and let me know what you think! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Join the prAna & FitApproach #TakeTheLeap Yoga challenge!

Several days ago the prAna and FitApproach #TakeTheLeap yoga challenge began. I LOVE yoga challenges, but sometimes have a hard time staying consistent with them, especially as many of them seem to be aimed at extremely advanced yogi's. I've done yoga for several years, but took some time away from it when I got pregnant because I had no energy left after working full time (I wish I had stayed with it through pregnancy though).


The last few months, I've been working hard into getting into a new solid yoga routine. We've recently had a new yoga studio open up in town (The Yoga Retreat & Boutique) so it's been so fabulous to go to classes again. I look forward to it every weekend and it's a great time for me to be able to zen out and refocus. The great thing about the prAna and FitApproach #taketheleap challenge is that you can choose your daily pose. It's completely up to you so you can work toward your own goals and use the poses that feel and work best for your body. There's no showing up one another and forcing a pose that may not be suitable for you and your body. One of my goals is to work towards inversions again, but it's going to be a long road to get there and I don't want to rush it and risk hurting myself. 

Another bonus to the challenge: PRIZES! When you join the challenge you become eligible to win $500 worth of new prAna gear (they have AMAZING stuff, check this top outand able to gift $500 to a person of your choice. Pretty awesome, right? 

Below are my first 4 poses to start the challenge off...


A little loving from my boys...


Join the challenge on Instagram (add me!), Twitter (follow me!) and on your blog by using the hashtags:

  • #TakeTheLeap
  • #Prana
  • #FitApproach
Also tag @prana and @fitapproach! 


Don't forget to join the Facebook group and event page!

Hope to see you there! NAMASTE!