Friday Favorites

HAPPY FRIDAY! We made it! Give yourself a pat on the back for making it through the week. Gold star for you! I used to do this thing on the blog called ‘Wednesday Worst’ and ‘Friday Favorites.’ This was waaaaay before I blogged my own personal style.. I used to follow red carpet trends and post my least favorite celeb looks and then looks I loved. It was exhausting, haha. I’m still going to post my Wednesday Worsts and my Friday Favorites, but now I’m going to focus more on fashion and beauty related items that I have personal experience with. STARTING WITH…

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VII code oxygen under eye masks. GUYS. This is the stuff dreams are made of. I promise you the skin under my eyes has never felt softer or looked more energized. I’m a shit sleeper. I work until 3am sometimes and wake up at the butt crack of dawn with the girls, and when I’m not working until 3am I’m still awake until at least after midnight every single night. By law, my under eye circles should be out of control, however, I’ve been using these beauties recently and the difference is noticeable. I felt softer skin immediately after the first use and I can see the skin under my eyes brightening after 5 uses. I have 3 sets left and I’m torn between wanting to use them all the next 3 nights or space it out and save them so they last, hah. These are great because they are made to be slept in. You stick them right under your eyes, push a little bit to keep them in place, and slumber away. I will say the first time I used these I woke up and one was missing. I have no idea how long it stayed in place for, but my under eye did feel soft and smooth, so long enough I suppose. It does not say on the package how often to use these, but after a little searching on the website I found it says to use them 2 to 3 times a week. So one box of 8 should last you at least a month. OH MY GOD I just realized I only have one set left while counting how many came in a box!!! Oh man… this is sad news guys. SAD SAD news. Click the link above to get more details on these little life changers and of course, to buy a box of your own. You will love the results! Image-1 (2)

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A Fit Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with Charlotte everyone thought I was so small and tiny and “all baby.” When you compare pictures of my pregnancy with her to my pregnancy with Kennedy, I somewhat resemble a beached whale. It’s actually scary to look back at those pictures. I did not take care of myself AT ALL. I was totally embracing “being pregnant,” aka, indulging in every single craving and sitting on my ass like a slob all day. I wasn’t working, I didn’t have any other kids to chase after, I gained weight pretty quickly. This time around I decided I was going to take better care of myself, and thank god I did! Just one week after having Kennedy I already fit into my jeans. SUCCESS! Here’s a few tips on how I stayed fit during my pregnancy.

image-74SPORTS BRA: TARGET || LEGGINGS: VICTORIA’S SECRET

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If you haven’t guessed yet my secret is… prenatal yoga! I love yoga in general. It helps relax me and to be honest, it’s an easy but effective workout which I love. I am so not the kind of person who looks forward to going to the gym. I hate/cannot run, I never know what to do when I go by myself, it’s a waste of time really. (I did do Crossfit for a while a couple years ago, which I really loved. Perhaps I’ll have to get back to that). SO, sitting in the privacy of my own bedroom is a good place to do some yoga. I tried to partake in this workout at least 2-3 times a week. I was watching these workouts on Youtube. I have a super busy schedule so the fact that each segment is only about 10 minutes long is perfect for me. There are SO many benefits of doing prenatal yoga as you prepare for your labor and delivery. Personally it helped me figure out how to “breathe through the pain.” Pushing a kid out of your…….self(?) is no joke, and I never took a birthing class for either child. I noticed when I feel pain I tense up and stop breathing, so in the middle of pushing I remembered my yoga breath and out came Kennedy 2 pushes later! image-76 image-77 image-78

In addition to trying to be more active I stopped indulging in my cravings. Actually, to be honest, during this pregnancy I didn’t crave as many crappy foods as I did last time… score! HOWEVER, it still happened occasionally, but there are some super quick and easy alternatives to the usuals! For example, when I craved a milkshake, I opted for a homemade smoothie instead. When I wanted ice cream (which was almost every night), I’d grab some yogurt and throw in trail mix (and M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces, don’t judge me). Last time I’d have french toast and a side of sausage about 2-3 times a week, no joke. This time I vowed to stay home more and forced myself to have Special K cereal. When I did venture out for breakfast I opted for egg white omelets. I have a huge sweet tooth so sticking to healthier foods was quite a challenge for me, but totally worth it.

Here are a few comparison shots from both pregnancies so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about…

 

If you’re in the middle of a pregnancy now, take it from me, treat yourself well! When all is said and done you will really love and appreciate yourself for it!

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Paleo Update

Holy MOTHER OF GOD. You know when you see yourself, and you’re like ‘I look ok but I could stand to lose a couple pounds, but I don’t hate myself.’ That’s where I was at a few months ago. I thought, for just having a baby, I was doing pretty good. And I was. I was, by my standards, a sloppy mess, but I was working hard at losing the baby weight and that made me feel good about myself. Actually,  I shouldn’t say that. I lost the baby weight within months of having Charlotte, but my body never rebounded. SO I was more trying to get my actual body back to where it used to be, not so much the weight. ANYWAY! As you know I started doing the Paleo diet again, sometime in March I’d say? Maybe April? I forget, but I know it was before Easter, because come Easter I stopped. Not on purpose, it just got too hard to keep up with, and then summer came and it got even harder. I still tried to eat better and I added in a few Paleo recipes a few times a week, but I was no longer eating strictly Paleo. 

About a week and a half ago I had the courage to step on the scale again after falling off the Paleo wagon. I avoided it for a long, long time because I was certain I had gained back all of the weight I lost. AND much to my surprise, I was only three pounds away from my goal weight! I decided, screw this, I’m doing it. And today my friends, I hit that target weight and it feels so mother effing good I can’t even explain it! A week and a half ago I decided I was going to start eating MUCH better, got rid of most of the junk food in my house and replaced it with healthy alternatives (it’s super easy to do with a child since I have to have these foods around for her anyway, now we can share hah). I also started doing yoga one to two times a day, either in the morning before Charlotte wakes up, or at night after she goes to bed, and sometimes both. When I told my husband I hit my goal weight this morning he goes, “good, can we stop eating healthy now?” HAH! You would think that, but now that I’m here I don’t want to lose it, especially after how easy it’s been and how great it’s making me feel. Want to see my progress? Brace yourselves.

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oh my god, woof. It is INSANE the difference just a few months can make! I’m going to try my hardest to keep posting healthy/paleo recipes on here, because honestly, that’s pretty much what got me to this point, just changing up my diet and I’d love to share them with you guys! 

Far left I was 117.6. The middle picture was taken exactly one week later during the peak of my paleo diet and I was 114.6. The far right picture was taken today after eating healthy but not strictly paleo, and keeping up with yoga daily, I am 110.4 pounds! BOO YAH BABY. After having Char I kind of fell into a depression, especially with summer approaching I pretty much just accepted that I was never going to get my old body back. I was going to the gym, I was eating “healthy” and nothing seemed to make a difference. But after looking at these pictures next to each other it shows you just have to stick with it. Set a goal and don’t stop until you get there! If I can do it so can you! Until next time, kisses!

 

Recipe: Shrimp Scampi [Paleo]

I was never a huge fan of shrimp. I would only eat when I had hibachi. My husband tried to get me to eat or make it ALL the time and I would constantly tell him no, because I don’t eat shrimp. Meanwhile I hadn’t had it since I was like 11 and I just resigned to the fact that I didn’t eat shrimp because I didn’t really eat when I was 11. I’m so mature. Little by little I would try it every now and then, and one day I realized, I actually like this. So needless to say I try to cook with shrimp more often because I know Matt really likes it, and I’ll actually eat it.

I had been making the Barefoot Contessa’s shrimp scampi for a while until we started this Paleo diet. It has twice the amount of butter that this recipe has, I think heavy cream… and pasta. Yikes! This is the Paleo recipe. I promise it’s just as yummy as ‘regular’ shrimp scampi! It has to be, because I’m kind of a shrimp snob now. Here’s all you need:

DSC_34272 T coconut oil
2 pounds shrimp | Peeled & Deveined [2 lb. serves 4 people]
3 T butter (or ghee)
4 cloves garlic | minced
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T fresh parsley | chopped
A pinch of cayenne pepper (you can add more to taste)
Sea Salt & fresh black pepper

I threw this over sautéed kale instead of pasta. And I know what you’re thinking… sautéed kale… again?! I swear I make more than just kale! haha but I thought since we added lemon juice to the kale it would compliment the shrimp well, and IT DID! So hush. If you want the recipe for my sautéed kale go here.

Step 1: Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp all the way through until they turn pink. [about 2-3 minutes, give or take]
Step 2: Spoon out the shrimp with a slotted spoon and set them aside. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add one tablespoon butter until melted then add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds.
Step 3: Remove the skillet from heat. Add lemon juice, chopped parsley, remaining butter, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
Step 4: Return the shrimp to the pan, combine with the rest of the ingredients.
Step 5: Serve over the side of your choice.

And that’s it! It’s pretty easy. I’d say the most difficult part is making sure the shrimp is cooked all the way through and not overcooked. But this is a really delicious recipe. My husband added a sprinkle of parmesan cheese to his shrimp and it was really good, ha. Not paleo, but whatever. Hope you guys like it! Until next time, kisses!

Recipe: Almond Banana Smoothie

This is, BY FAR, my favorite thing to have for breakfast… or lunch. I literally have one almost every single day. It’s the most delicious smoothie I’ve ever tasted. I’m not a huge fruit person… in fact… I hate most fruit. Pineapple is about the only thing I’ll ever actually want. Come at me with an apple and I’ll hit you. Unless it’s covered in caramel and candy… then it’s ok. My point is, I hate super fruity smoothies. I just can’t stomach them. So this is the perfect one for me.

This smoothie recipe is located in my Paleo cookbook and it’s SO easy to make (especially if you have a Ninja Kitchen) that I figured I’d share.

Here’s all you need… DSC_3424

1 banana
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
3 ice cubes.
1 cup coconut milk (i’m using almond/coconut milk here… just as good)
a pinch of cinnamon. (and a little for garnish)

And you obviously combine all of the ingredients in a blender or Ninja Kitchen. I cut up the banana into pieces to make it blend faster… which I’m sure is what everyone does. And that’s it! Top it off with a little sprinkle of cinnamon and there ya have it… the best damn smoothie ever! It takes me about 2 minutes total to make this every morning, I have it down to a science now. Try it out, let me know what you think! Enjoy. xo

Recipe: Citrus Beef Salad Stir Fry [Paleo]

It’s recipe time, my loves! This is one of my favorite recipes from our Paleo cookbook. I’m a huge stir fry person. I don’t know why, but I really like it. They have a whole section in this book on stir fry so I’m pretty much in my glory here. Anyway. Here is the recipe for Citrus Beef Salad Stir Fry:

IMG_2958What you need:
cooking fat (coconut oil)
Stir Fry Beef (if you can’t find it already packaged, just buy 1 pound tender cut beef and cut it into thin strips).
1 onion – sliced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 lemons – peeled and segmented. – Use the peel for 1 tsp. zest
2 oranges – peeled and segmented. Use the peel for 1 tsp. zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (from lemon #2)
1 Tablespoon orange juice (from orange #2)
1 tsp fresh ginger – grated
A big bunch of spinach (If you’re a big spinach fan like I am, use A LOT of spinach because it wilts down to almost nothing after you cook it for a few minutes.


Directions:
Step 1: Melt 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan. Stir-fry the beef until ALMOST fully browned.
Step 2: Before it cooks completely, remove the beef from the pan and set it aside.
Step 3: Add a little less than a tablespoon of coconut oil (the pan will still have juices in it from the meats) and add in the ginger, onion, and garlic. Stir fry for about three minutes.
Step 4: Return beef to pan and add lemon & orange juices. Bring to a boil. Add the bunch of spinach.
Step 5: Cook only for about another minute or two, just until the spinach wilts.
Step 6: Serve over bed of segmented oranges and lemons, top with the zest for garnish.

And viola! There you have it, kids. My favorite paleo stir fry recipe so far. It’s super yummy. Try it out tonight and tell me watcha think! Also, in the book it says it serves 4… but I’d say this is more for like 3 people. Matt and I finished almost all of it. I’d add a little more spinach & beef if you’re cooking for 4 people. Use the amounts I listed above if it’s just you and one other person. Hope this helps! Until next time, kisses!

Recipe: “Spaghetti” with sautéed Kale.

This recipe was actually a little frightening to me. I have never experimented with spaghetti squash before, but my sister-in-law makes ‘spaghetti’ with it ALL the time. I figured it was time to step out of my comfort zone. And come to find out, that was the easy part. The sauce was what was intimidating!

IMG_2940In the above picture we made it with the Bolognese sauce it called for in the recipe, but if I were to make it again I’d probably just toss my own sauce over it because it’s pretty much paleo and this was a pain in the ass, HA. Ok so instructions for both (spaghetti and sautéed kale) are as follows:

Spaghetti Squash:
All you need is literally…. the squash. One large squash was exactly enough for my husband and me. If you’re cooking for 3 or 4 people I’d buy two, and so on. 

Step one: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step two: Cut the squash in half lengthwise.
Step three: Remove the seeds from the middle, much like you would do to a pumpkin.
Step four: Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Cook for 28-35 minutes.
Make sure to check the squash at the 28 minute mark. If it overcooks it’ll become mushy and you won’t get the ‘spaghetti’ effect you’re going for. Scrape it with a fork and it should shred. If it scrapes easily you know it’s ready.
Step five: When the squash is completely cooked, scrape the halves with a fork. They will end up looking like little piles of angel hair pasta, pretty much. Pour your favorite (paleo or healthy!) sauce over the squash strands and you’re all set!

 

Sautéed  Kale
What you need: 1-2 bunches fresh kale. (1 bunch was enough for 2 people.)
1-2 cloves garlic – minced.
Juice from 1 lemon.
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil.

Step one: rinse and trim kale. Make sure to cut off JUST the leaves! If you get a piece of the stem when you’re taking a big bite it will taste really, really bitter and gross. Chop leaves into bite size pieces – they sauté faster.
Step two: Melt the 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large non-stick frying or sauté pan and add garlic. Cook garlic for about 30 seconds then add half the fresh kale. Cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute, then add the rest of kale.
Step three: Let everything cook down for about 10 minutes. Make sure to keep stirring so garlic doesn’t burn.
Step four: When kale has finished cooking, spoon onto a plate and cover with a little lemon juice.

You can add salt and pepper to taste for any of these dishes, but I’m trying to stay away from using TOO much salt. If you’re going to add some, make sure to use SEA SALT. 🙂 ALSO my husband LOVED the lemon juice on the kale but it’s easy to overdo it. If you’re only cooking one bunch of kale, squeeze just half the lemon. 

And there you go friends! That is one of my healthy dinner recipes. Give it a try tonight, I promise it’s super yummy and you won’t even realize you’re not gorging yourself on carbs!

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Week One: The Paleo Kickoff

So here’s my recap for the first week of my Paleo diet. In the first week I lost 3 pounds. I weighed in at (I can’t believe I’m actually to admit my weight and even go as far as to post pictures on here…. kill me) 117.6 pounds on day 1. YIKES! Believe it or not… my lowest weight throughout college was always between 116 and 118… so being 117 after having a baby was actually nice for me, ha. BUT like I said… my body was (and still is, really) absurdly flabby in all the wrong places. It is actually like my body is slowly melting. WHICH is the whole reason I started this silly diet in the first place… to lose weight and tone up. SUMMER IS COMING PEOPLE!

What I like most about the Paleo diet is, it’s healthy! You are not depriving yourself of anything that’s good for you, ha. And it’s not like juicing, where the second you stop you gain back like all of the weight. They have really delicious recipes and even paleo desserts that won’t make you feel guilty after eating them! And apparently bacon is paleo… so, I mean… there is a god.

Ok, so here we go. Brace yourself. And please don’t judge me haha!

rach dietLeft: starting weight. 117.6 pounds. Right: (exactly one week later) 114.6 pounds.

Side note… spray tans are magical, aren’t they?

Here’s the first item on your paleo diet list: (complete with pictures! you’re welcome).

Appetizer: Peaches and Basil wrapped and ‘fried’ in bacon.

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This one is SO easy! All you need is coconut oil, bacon, peaches, and fresh basil and a frying pan.

2 peaches – cut up into slices
6 – 10 slices bacon (depending on how many you want to make)
6 – 10 pieces fresh basil
1 tablespoon coconut oil.

step one: slice up peaches and tear large leaves of basil.
step two: on a large piece of wax paper or a cutting board, place the slices of bacon. At one end place the basil and slice of peach. Start rolling. 
step three: melt one tablespoon coconut oil in a nonstick frying pan.
step four: place the bacon and peach wrap in the frying pan and ‘fry’ until the bacon is crisp and fully cooked, turning once. 

helpful tip* use tongs to handle the bacon so they don’t unwrap while you try to turn them or take them out of the pan. :]

and voila! you’re done. that’s seriously how easy this appetizer is. You can sprinkle with a little balsamic glaze or vinegar to top it off. It’s really delicious! Who knew bacon was paleo? I certainly didn’t but I’m ecstatic that it is! haha.

Tomorrow I’ll try to post another recipe for you guys, hopefully a main course one. Hope you guys enjoy it! Until next time, kisses!

 

Introducing the Diet Diaries!

As we all know I have a 9 month old daughter. Since having her, I’ve lost a few pounds here and there, but nothing significant. Actually… I got down to my pre-baby weight relatively quickly BUT my body was, obviously, not the same. And not just not the same, like, nowhere NEAR what it used to look like in my previous life, hah! I really wasn’t super motivated to go to the gym or work out, even though I have a great friend Kelsey who motivates me to do a class with her from time to time. I have never, ever, ever in my life been a diet person. I just have no will power. Can’t do it. However, I woke up one day, looked at myself in the mirror, gagged a little bit, and realized summer is only a few months away. My husband and I belong to a beach club close to our house and the thought of being in front of anyone in a bathing suit makes me want to crawl in a hole and die. SO I decided it’s high time I start losing the rest of this baby weight. Time to get motivated.

A few years back my husband and I did the Paleo diet while we were doing Crossfit. I used to be terrified of cooking… I absolutely hated it. So this diet really sucked for us, hah. It’s all fresh food and clean eating, it’s also called the ‘Caveman Diet’ basically eating only things that cavemen would have eaten, but I’ll get into all that later. So I was really bad at the Paleo diet because I hated cooking and it’s ALL cooking, ALL the time. Now I love to cook… it’s weird, but all of the sudden I enjoy it. We bought this enormous Paleo cookbook last time so I dug it out and realized they actually plan out your meals for the week up to like 8 weeks or something.. maybe even more. So I’m like ok, they plan this out for me literally step by step, there’s no reason not to do it. So I literally sat down, picked out all of my meals and sides and snacks for the week, went to the grocery store and bought myself and my husbands a week’s worth of some healthy ass shit. Excuse my French. Long story short (not really, sorry) we have been on this diet now since Tuesday the 5th, I’ve lost 6 pounds and Matt’s lost 8. We do one week strict, strict Paleo and have one cheat day. Then the next week we do a looser paleo (I MAY have a little cheese and here and there, shh, don’t tell anyone), and again, have a cheat day. Then the next week (this week) we’ll be strict again. So the point of this whole post is that I am going to basically document my weight loss and how I’ve been doing it. There are some really amazing recipes that I want to post too. (I’ve been taking pictures of almost everything I make, cause I’m weird like that). So I’ll post a menu for the day and maybe that way you guys can try out some healthy meals too! It’s been pretty fantastic and I feel really great about myself, I sleep better, have more energy during the day, and it’s been fun to cook and try new things too!

Tomorrow I’m going to post the first week’s pictures with a few menu items from the week. I’m taking a set of pictures every week, mostly to keep track for myself but whatever.  That’s what’s coming your way to stay tuned!

Anyway, since it is Monday I wanted to share with you an adorable video of my babe, Charlotte. She has this little trick that she’d been doing since she was like two months old and lately she does it all the time. And more recently she’s added me to the trick, so I had to video tape it. Hopefully it brightens up your Monday a little bit. 😀 Until next time, kisses!

The Saga Continues

A couple months ago I blogged about my adventure with at home spray tanning. I was testing the waters because, as I am pregnant, I can no longer go tanning. Not that I should even if I weren’t pregnant. It’s incredibly unhealthy, but I think we all know that by now. So this little bun in the oven was a blessing in more than one way, making me step up my health routine. The first at home spay tan product I used was L’Oreal Sublime Bronze airbrush tanner. As we all learned in my first post about it, my first experience was a little frightening, I ended up looking like a zebra. But it was all about my application. As time went on and I used the air brush tanner more, my tan began to even out and eventually (after about 4 to 5 applications) I had a pretty even and natural looking tan.

Just when you start to get the hang of a product and love it, it runs out on you. Ain’t that always the case? :sigh: ….. anyway. So I go back to the store and I stand in front of the glorious shelf of spray tan products and as usual I am left with a decision to make: do I purchase the one I already used and know how it works? Or do I purchase a new one and hope it works better. So I went with the new one. Let’s review.

So I saw Banana Boat and I think to myself… they’re in the business of tans, they must know how to give a good tan, right? WRONG. This product was awful! Let’s start by listing what it says right on the bottle:

“Fresh Citrus Fragrance” and “Advanced Fragrance Technology”– why does every air brush tanner have to put this on their bottle? IT’S A LIE. For all of them. Just stop saying it. None of your products smell like a freshly peeled orange, we’re not buying it anymore. Give it up. In fact! This product smelled so strongly that I had to spray myself one limb at a time then run out of the bathroom to take deep breaths. It smelled so strongly of chemicals, in fact, that I cannot imagine it’s healthy to breathe in at all, let alone if you’re pregnant.

“Color lasts up to seven days.” Now this one is just flat out bull honkey. The worst part of this spray tan? It doesn’t even show up! I used the L’Oreal tanner every other day after a while and with this Banana Boat tanner, I used it every single day and I never felt like I got any color at all.

The worst part of this while experience? I think the bottle lasted about a week IF that! What a waste of money. So between L’Oreal and Banana Boat the winner is?…

L’Oreal, without a doubt. Banana Boat… you really let me down here! But it doesn’t end there… After the Banana Boat ran out I, of course, had to go back to the store to find myself another bottle of this bad boy. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any left! So I relived this whole nightmare again. Only this time it wasn’t as bad. I just started using the 3rd self tanner though, so I will not reveal the results until that bottle is empty and done. Maybe it’ll work out better than the Banana Boat fiasco.

Are you guys into fake & baking or have you moved on to alternative measures? What have your experiences been?