Dollar Bin Finds You Need to Get Right Now!

That's right.  The dollar bin.  I'm not sure what's happened at Target lately but I feel like those dollar bins when you first walk into the store that used to be filled with random junk have slowly begun to fill with straight up gems that clearly are worth way more than $1.  But hey, twist my arm.  I guess I'll take one... of each... please.  

1. The absolute most adorable little kid plates.  They come in numerous designs but this one is my favorite.  I got one for each of the girls for Valentines Days, even if they have to wait until next year to use them. ;)

2. These planner pages.  There are both monthly and weekly formats in there, with tabs, pre-hole punched and ready to go straight into a mini binder (also in the dollar bins).  I'm telling you in all honesty these look pretty close to the $25 planner I currently own.  Next year, I'll know better.  

3. A 5 pack of completely blank story books.  If you're mom with an elementary aged kid, I would definitely buy these.  With the amount of hours I spent writing my own books as a child, I'm pretty sure I would have thought these were the absolute best things on the planet.  Plus, they're pretty professional looking so you could totally keep them forever as a souvenir of their childhood.  5 for $3.  Sounds good to me.  

4.  The cutest little notepads and pencils on the planet.  There's like, tons.  I picked black, white, and teal.  They match my blog. ;)

5.  Fraction tiles.  I put them on here purely for moms of young kids because as a former 3rd grade teacher I know what a tough skill fractions can be.  If you have a young child, just trust me and throw them in the cart.  They will come in handy one day as you are toiling over homework and realize your little nugget needs something to manipulate.  And at $1 a pop, well you're not going to beat that either.  

So there you go.  I've scoped it out for you.  Good luck making it through the rest of the store.  

More like this on Five on Friday and Friday Favorites!

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Tweaking Your Fitness Plan For Your 30s

First of all, you CAN have an amazing bikini body in your 30s (or 40s, or 50s, etc.)  You CAN have a body you are proud of after having children (and multiples)! Even when your clothes are covered in spit up, you are up to your elbows in poop (yeah... that just happened), and you feel like you are spinning your wheels just to keep up at your day job, you CAN feel fulfilled, healthy, and better than you ever felt in your 20s.  

It's taken me a little while to figure out how.  And I'm not going to lie to you and tell you my fitness has ever been much of a struggle. I'll admit to being one of the lucky few with a genuine love for the gym rat life and genetically blessed enough to eat a lot of cheese fries and buffalo wings without many consequences in my younger days.  It was a good routine for me back then. I worked my butt off at an actual gym for at least an hour a day, baked myself silly in tanning beds (what was I thinking?), and was no holds barred on any happy hour invitations, late night Taco Bell runs, or morning PSLs.  It was just all a part of the routine.  That was the life.

Fast forward 10 years... Not shockingly, time has run out on the cheese fry diet.  The twins have stretched my abdominals to the max and I swear my belly button still droops a little bit.  Forget the tan.  Aint nobody have the time (or $) for that!  So what makes me sooooo confident that I am on my way to my BEST body of all time?? 

I have the secrets right here....

1.  Commit to healthy foods.  This was the hardest part for sure.  I'm not saying give up the cheese fries, but definitely make it a once in a while, sharing with many others sort of thing.  Stock the fridge with produce and protein.  Try new vegetables.  Get creative in the kitchen.  The scope of which I have broadened my palate and creativity when it comes to food has definitely contributed to my confidence in maintaining a healthy diet.  I know that I can do it now.  And I genuinely WANT to!

2.  Let someone else plan your workouts.  This too was tough for me.  Because I really am a person who enjoys the gym, and I knew exactly what I needed to do to maximize results for my own body, it became frustrating when I wasn't getting the job done.  I know some say it's an excuse, but I really didn't have time to go to the gym.  Correction: I didn't have time to go to the gym AND be the type of mom that I wanted to be!  I completely had to revamp my idea of a good workout.  I'm learning a lot of new moves that can be done in my living room with a band or a couple of free weights.  I'm splitting up my workout when the babies are crying and learning to be more flexible with my expectations.  I'm also learning things that I can do WITH my kids while I workout to keep them from feeling ignored.  I'm still in a learning curve, but can finally feel my "fit mom" visions coming to life. 

3.  Take care of your skin.  You may wonder what this has anything to do with fitness, but for whatever reason in my mind, skin care and muscle tone go hand and hand when it comes to looking your best!  My go to products right now include a combination of Derm Exclusive and Arbonne.  I know brands claim that you shouldn't mix and that they are meant to work together, but I am a firm believer that changing your products after a period of time keeps your skin from becoming complacent.  Again, I'm no expert.  Just my opinion.  

4.  Let go of your fears.  Stop seeing your dreams as dreams, and make them your plans for the future.  This year I've been lucky to reconnect with some friends who have made me question a few things about my thinking.  While I've spent the past 10 years being prudent and doing what I consider to be the "responsible" thing, I now realize that a lot of my actions (or non actions rather) have come from a fear of failure.  F*ck that.  I'm ready to let that go and open myself up to the possibilities of GREAT things!  Are you??  

Bella And The City

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Five on Snowy Friday

No theme.  No topic.  No main idea.  Just 5 of my most random thoughts of the week and things I need your help with too!  

One.  The girls are on the move.  I swear every day I have laid them down in their gym and the next thing I know they are halfway across the dining room floor.  We're not crawling yet, just avid rollers and wigglers.  Like a Jurassic Park dinosaur, somehow they find a way.  I got them a Graco TotBloc and it looks great.  Very happy with it.  It's basically just a bigger version of a Pack n Play.  Main problem... I can't find sheets for it anywhere??  I don't even really see them for sale online.  Anyone have one of these things??  How do you protect it from spit up and exploding diapers?? 

Two.  I don't know what's gotten into me but somehow I've gone all ballsy in the kitchen and have started throwing random sh*t in a bowl and cooking it up.  No recipe.  No measurements.  Just taking a bunch of stuff that sounds like it might be good together and hoping for the best.  So far... so great!  Made these healthy banana muffins this morning and was quite pleased!  Here's what I put in them...

  • Mashed bananas
  • Eggs
  • Rolled oats
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Honey
  • Dash of baking soda
  • Dark chocolate chips
Steps:  1. Dump what seems like a reasonable amount in a bowl.  2. Mix until it looks like a batter.  3. Bake until it looks like a muffin.  

Haha  great recipe right?? 

Three.  Shared this video on my personal Facebook page this week because I thought it was so hysterical.  Maybe it's having two young daughters myself, but it totally resonated with me and I can hardly wait to see what kind of stuff my own come up with!

Four.  Valentine's Day decor.  I was so sad putting away the Christmas decorations earlier this month and thought to myself that this would be the year that I would get together some good Valentine's stuff.  You know, just to make the transition a little less painful.  Well I went to ALL of my go-to spots.... Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby.... I find nothing!  Nothing I tell you!  Nothing but some stupid aluminum confetti looking hearts.  Where do you people with cute Valentine's Day mantles find this stuff??

Five.  I'm writing this from the comfort of my own couch.  At 2:00.  On a Friday afternoon.  Snow Day #1 is here, and with the Blizzard of '16 on the horizon, the family and I are ready to hunker down and tough out the storm (i.e. drink wine in sweatpants while snuggling adorable babies).  It did briefly occur to me that this would be the first year that we cannot simply walk to the bar in the snowstorm, but with daughters this precious, I hardly consider it a sacrifice.  Stay warm everyone!  

More like this on Five on Friday and Friday Favorites!

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New Year New You. Products to Keep You Going Strong!

Two weeks into January and how are you holding up??  Still going strong with the resolution or starting wean?  Remember, it takes work and true intention to inspire change, and I wasn't kidding when I told you how I wanted my year to be defined.  By the HAPPIEST, HEALTHIEST version of myself, and want YOU right there with me!  

Here I'm sharing a few of my favorite finds to keep you going on the path to success.  From creating a plan to seeing it through, I'm here to help you look and feel your best in 2016.  Let's do this gals! 

1. My inner orchestrator is obsessed with these daily plan sheet printables and thanks to Pinterest, there's a version out there for just about everyone.  No need to reinvent the wheel.  I'm using this one from Simple as That blog and making the most out of each and every day!

2.  Obligatory new year fit gear.  I'm all about the message and this brand basically says it all.  Forget the super chiseled, no body fat, cookie cutter hotties.  Healthy is where it's at, and something everyone has the equal opportunity to achieve! 

3.  Just scored myself these new sneaks after realizing I've been wearing the same pair for a few years now.  Yikes. 

4.  Saving my lips this winter and keeping them looking fresh with Derm Exclusive lip therapy.  Amazing stuff guys if you haven't tried!  

5.  Perfect shaker to pack my Shakeo in when I'm not quite ready to mix it!  Powder stores at the bottom, regular blender bottle on top.  Genius.  

Bella And The City

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2016, What Will Your Theme Be?

I didn't think anything could top 2014.  It was the year I married my one and only, took my first trip to Mexico, watched my husband win a state championship, and found out we had a little bun in the oven.  I could probably say it was the best year of our lives to date.  Then 2015 came, and along with it TWO perfect, precious, amazing little bundles of joy that have undoubtedly changed our lives for the better and started us down the path of parenthood.  It hasn't always been an easy year, as there have been trials and tribulations along the way, but one to remember to say the least.  What will 2016 be remembered for?  What will the major theme be for this year?  For the first time in quite a while I have to admit, I am not aiming for any life altering revelations.  In fact, I'm quite looking forward to a quiet year if we can help it.  Getting into the routine as a family of four.  Watching our twins grow and soaking in every single moment with them.  And low and behold, joining the rest of the world (I know I'm so annoying right?) on a mission to become a healthier and happier family in 2016!  

But how can we do that?  Where to start?  My tried and true gym routines have sadly gone by the wayside now that I have 2 sweet little cherubs to pick up after work every day, and I'll be honest, I'm not willing to let them stay at daycare any longer than they have to.  As much as I want to get back in shape, I also want to be the loving doting mama that I've always wanted to be, belly flab or not.  I know that my methods are going to have to change if I'm going to see the results I'm looking for, and after giving birth to twins, I'm definitely looking for results!  Let's break it down into some smaller, more realistic goals shall we?  

Goal 1.  Shakeology every day.  Easy peasy and the key to giving my body all the nutrition it needs to succeed.  

Goal 2.  Meal plan.  Going back to work after the twins threw my brain spinning and I honestly felt incapable of really planning the way I needed to.  It's not that I wanted to be unhealthy.  I just couldn't mentally consider anything beyond one day at a time and was therefore scrounging each day for whatever we had on hand.  Feeling like the new year is a good time to get a fresh start and get the prep under control!

Goal 3. Quick workouts. Every. Day. This is will be the hardest to keep.  I've still not totally figured out if I'm going to try to get this done in the morning, or after work when we get home, but it has to get done.  And I'll be patting myself on the back on Friday when I make it! 

I totally could keep going, but let's leave it at that for week one.  Eek... so excited to get back to healthy and feeling like my old self again!  I CAN do it!!  And so can all of you!!

Bella And The City

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