Friday, August 30, 2013

6 Months Through: a Shaklee 180™ post

So it's been a full 6 months since I began my adventure as a Shaklee blogger. First of all, can I just say how incredibly grateful I am to have gotten this opportunity? It has been amazing. Secondly, I'm going to warn you that this is one very long post.
Shaklee 180™: Shaklee Blogger

I set my sites high in the beginning, hoping to lose 30-40lbs, but I didn't really have a concept of what I was going to accomplish or the real work it would take. I only got about half way to my goal weight, but lost quite a few inches.

It's hard not to compare myself with all the other awesome women who completed the program with me. They've all seen some pretty impressive results. I could use about a million and ten excuses for why I didn't work out more, or why I caved to my emotional eating more often than I'd like to admit. The simple truth is, I failed. Not completely, but I failed myself. I don't want to discount the work that I've done, because there is a definite difference in how I look and feel. I'm just disappointed I didn't accomplish more in my time as a Shaklee blogger - because I know I could have.

But, here's the thing:

I don't have to stop. 

There's nothing standing in my way. I can and will continue working toward my 40lbs weight loss goal - I'm over half way there! And the funny thing is, I'm finding the pounds I lose aren't as satisfying as the number of inches I drop. Why didn't I ever think to track my progress with measurements before? 3lbs in a month is okay, but an inch off each my waist, hips, and chest? Way more exciting. Also, pictures. I wish I hadn't been so embarrassed when I did my before pictures and let my husband help me out. True, I felt so terrible about my body at the time that I cried over those pictures, but now I wish I had more pictures (and better quality ones!) to compare.

Everyone has set-backs. 

Nothing worth having seems to come easy. It's hard work, and sometimes you fall off track. That's when it's okay to forgive and forget and get back to work. Having dessert one night, or treating yourself at the fair (which is always a mistake, despite how good that fried twinkie tastes at the time), is not a failure.

This is not a diet, it's a lifestyle. 

You can drop weight by restricting calories, but to be fit you need to be active and eating healthy. Eat real food. Try to stay away from junk, but don't worry about the extreme. Vinnie Tortorich says, "It doesn't matter what you eat from Thanksgiving to New Year's, it matters what you eat between New Year's and Thanksgiving." And honestly, if I allow myself the occasional treat, I can get back to business without feeling totally deprived. A healthy lifestyle isn't about deprivation, right? It's about treating yourself better and feeling better because of it.

So I have a plan.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sunset at the Zoo: our latest trip to the Oregon Zoo

Recently, our family was given the opportunity to attend the final Sunset at the Zoo for the summer. This event is held regularly throughout the summer at the Oregon Zoo and includes super fun activities like live music, face painting, hula hoops, Disney princesses, and I can't even remember what else because it was so jam packed full of great things to do.

By popular request (or the demand of my 5 year old), we started our visit off with a trip on the zoo train. I grew up going to this zoo, but I'll admit I'd never been on this train before. It was like fulfilling a childhood dream... sort of. The kids loved it, and it was so fun to be able to take them on the train.

We had dinner on the lawn while listening to Mr. Ben perform. It was relaxing and way more fun than going to a regular restaurant. I wish I would have thought to pack a picnic like most of the families around us. It was so fun to watch the kids run around and dance while we all still managed to eat our dinner. AND I never felt like the kids being loud or active was bothering anyone. I guess that's part of what made it so relaxing - the kids could just enjoy being outside, and they enjoyed the fun music in their own way. If you follow me on Twitter (and you should), I'm sure you may have noticed all the Vines and pictures I was posting.
just sitting on a lion, what are you doing?

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Triathlete: a Shaklee 180™ post

The Triathlete: a Shaklee 180™ post

Remember when I said I was gearing up for a triathlon? Well, I did it! I even managed to shave a few minutes off my best training times. And I was lucky enough to have my husband put together a little video for me.

It was a low-key event my mother-in-law invited me to participate in with her, and it was perfect for a first triathlon. I was a bit intimidated, but ended the race proud of what I accomplished. I'll be honest, I felt as I tired as I looked!

my personal cheer squad
the husband who supported me through this crazy race

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program.  I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own.  I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor.  

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Let Your Kids Be Kids: Be Mindful of Your Words

Back in May, I decided to start including some more spiritually inspirational posts on the blog. I was hoping to make it a regular thing, but one thing led to another and now it's August. Making no apologies for how I blog or how often (because if we're being honest here, I know you don't depend on my posts for much), here is my latest addition.

"How we speak to our children and the words we use can encourage and uplift them and strengthen their faith." ~ Rosemary W. Wixom

I think, as adults, it becomes easy for us to get caught up in our own responsibilities and burdens. I think that can affect our expectations for our children in day to day life.

Since reading this talk, I've taken my reactions to G acting out in a different way. I'm not perfect, and I don't always react in a way that I am proud of, but I have tried to make this a habit. When G is particularly acting out, I take his hands and ask him (sometimes repeatedly) to listen to me. Then I simply tell him that I love him, and that I love him no matter what. This is something I used to do with him after I'd lost my own temper. "Even when I'm mad at you, I still love you." Now this sentiment is echoed back to me after G has had an outburst. I don't know what prompted me to start saying it to G when he is upset, but it calms him. It doesn't make all his hurt and anger go away, but it helps.

I got a little insight later when we were talking about N. He said "Sometimes I wish I never had a baby sister." I told him this made me sad. He said "Sometimes she's grumpy and I don't want her." I told him I love her all the time, even when she's grumpy, just like I love him and want him all the time. He said, "Even when I'm grumpy and mad?"

"Yes - I love you and want you with me all the time, no matter what." 

I'd had no idea he had that fear, but I am so glad we could talk about it. I am so glad I could tell him absolutely that this fear was baseless.

Kids will act up, and act out. How we choose to respond shapes their views of the world, and of themselves. We can't always be our most patient and generous selves, but we can strive for that.

"And then may we pause to listen, for a child is most capable of speaking great and marvelous things in return." ~ Rosemary W. Wixom

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The First Potty Training Update

First, I should answer the most asked question related to our potty training adventure: Which potty training pants are we using?

There are a LOT of great brands and styles out there. In the end, I decided to go with the least expensive option. I would love to try out just about every kind on the market, but let's be realistic - I'm not exactly Kim Rosas here, although it would be fun. We used plain old Gerber training pants with G, and it worked out for us in the end, so I happily settled on doing the same for N. This time around, though, we went a little fancier. Tracy (from the Uncoordinated Mommy), directed me to her Potty Training Pinterest board. What she really wanted to show me was this tutorial on the blog It's a Long Story.
DIY waterproof training pants

Basically, you take Gerber training pants, add some flannel for additional absorbency, and a limited layer of PUL for a somewhat waterproof effect. Of course, I did things slightly differently. First, I had to order the training pants off Amazon because no stores in our area apparently carry size 18-24 months, and that's the size my petite little girl needs. I made one pair per the instructions then scrapped the idea. Well, not entirely.

I felt adding all that flannel made the underwear too much like a diaper - it was absorbing too much. If it's not uncomfortable when wet, how would it seem like we were doing anything differently? So I skipped the flannel on the rest of the batch. I did add the PUL to each pair, but I didn't use a pattern. The training pants were too irregular for me to come up with a pattern that would fit the PUL to each pair consistent enough for me. I just cut rectangles the width I wanted (measuring the widest point of the training pants that the PUL would be covering, and using my rotary cutter to get it nice and even). I pinned it in place to the training pants, then carefully snipped away the excess around the leg holes. After that, I used a zig-zag stitch all the way around. I'll be honest - sometimes I wish I had a few pair without the PUL. Am I weird?

We've had some success, and a lot of head butting. Have I mentioned how stubborn and willful my little sweetheart is? She's the type of kid that will tell me "No" when I very nicely tell her she needs to be nice to her grandma. She's two. I'm hoping she out grows this.

My only consolation in this particular battle is I'm pretty sure she won't be going to school still wetting her pants. She gets excited when she goes in the potty. The problem is, she doesn't seem all that broken up when she doesn't make it in time. Like, at all. We're just getting started, though. Even if things get worse, they'll eventually get better.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced while potty training? Any advice you'd care to share with us? Any stories of moments that made it all click for your little ones? 

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Skora Base Overview

You may remember this post where I told you all about my new Skora Running shoes I was given and the company's philosophy to "run real." Well, I've been able to get a few more miles on those treads, and I'm here to give you an honest update. This will be short.

Some  affiliate links are included below.
photo via
I have worn my shoes everywhere and loved them. I've gone hiking, camping, cycling (as part of my triathlon training), and out and about on errands. The shoes are phenomenal. I love the feeling of being supported while also truly connected with the ground. I am a convert to the so-called minimalist movement. I had an injury to my right foot from falling down the stairs at my brother-in-law's house last fall (nothing broken, I think), and I felt like running in these shoes - allowing my feet to work how they are meant to - somehow worked the injury out. This is not a medical statement. I'm not claiming a miracle cure here. I just know my foot felt better while running in these shoes and ever since.

Now the downside. I haven't logged as many miles as I would have liked. The great thing about Skora shoes is that instead of needing to be replaced every 300-500 miles like most running shoes (as per manufacturer suggestion), these should last at least 3 times as long! My checkbook likes that. I mean, my husband.

I worked into these low profile shoes, but when I got up to a 5-1/2 mile run, I ended up with blisters on the tips of my toes. It turns out I really do need a size 8. (At least while running, since they haven't bothered me at any other time.) I'd noticed some slight rubbing earlier on, but figured they just needed to be broken in. Rule #1 with any kind of footwear - if it's a little bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, it will become incredibly uncomfortable over a longer period of time. Just don't do it. As long as I wear my good socks (PRO Compression or SLS3), I seem to be okay. Let's just say I've been wearing some bargain brand compression socks this summer... I'm working back up to wearing my Bases on longer runs. So far I have no trouble running a 5k in them, and my calves are loving me for it (or screaming bloody murder since they're getting such a better workout). I definitely need to move up a size, though, or never run more than 4 miles at a time again. (Not realistic.)

So, lesson learned. Sadly. Fortunately. And now Skora is having an end of summer sale on a lot of their styles. Some are as much as 40% off! I just need to convince my husband it's okay to invest in a third pair of running shoes this year. Darn that Total Money Makeover! Maybe I should buy a pair for him and then he'd understand... it's a need, not a want.
skora running base men's
shoes he'll fall in love with

Have you ever had a pair of new shoes not work out? How'd you deal with it? Any new shoes out there you think I should try out as long as I'm on a running shoe shopping spree? 

Disclosure: I was given a pair of SKORA shoes for use and review, but I was not compensated for writing this post. As always, all views and opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blogging Elevated

The Blog Elevated conference is coming up. It seems like I'm always hearing about the next big blogging conference, and it can get a little overwhelming figuring out which would be most worth my time, effort, and $$$. Every conference seems to have a ton of things pushing it to the top. I hadn't heard a whole lot about Blog Elevated until recently, but I absolutely love the motto.

"Be Inspired, Be Professional, Be You"

Isn't that just great advice for life in general? I think so.

If you're like my husband, you might be wondering why someone would want to go to a blogging conference in the first place. For me, it's pretty simple -- networking, inspiration, and education. I feel like there is so much out there for me to learn still that I have no grasp of what there is for me to learn. I just know I have learned so much just from blogging at this little space of mine, there's got to be more out there.

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this here before, but I used to be a hair stylist. Professionally. Don't even bother judging my skill on how my own hair looks - I know it's a mess and I blame it on my kids. Most of the time. Anyway, my point was this: the women I worked with in the industry who believed there was nothing left for them to learn were the women who would have gained the most from attending continuing education classes and trade shows. Their work (generally) was tired and uninspired. In other words, they did a lot of perms and shampoo sets, if you know what I mean. For me, tracking what I've learned and how I've grown only opens the possibilities of what more I could take in. There's always something more, right?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Body Weight: Losing the Comparison

All of a sudden, people started telling me how great I look and I started patting myself on the back for how far I've come. July was a rough month. I feel like it's been a tough year all together, but July was particularly hard with the passing of my grandma. I went almost completely off plan for weeks and lost zero pounds. I'm just grateful I didn't end up gaining weight with all the emotional eating that was going on. I'm still struggling with it. Somehow, as long as you don't look in the mirror (really look in the mirror), you can keep your head in the sand with whatever you don't want to see.

So, even with no weight loss, I was suddenly feeling great about my physical accomplishments this past week. And then one of my sisters-in-law posted this photo on Instagram:
It's not the worst picture of me, but it certainly wasn't making me feel any better about my body. I'll be honest - a few tears were shed. Here's the thing, though - I know these two beautiful women naturally tend to be thin, and naturally gravitate toward healthy portions and healthy foods (both of which can be a challenge for me). And they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. It's hard to not be jealous and want to be more like them in all ways. So how could I combat this mental war I'm waging on myself? How can I combat the self-deprecation and appreciate myself at times when I wouldn't otherwise? 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

5 Tips for Camping with Cloth Diapers

5 tips for camping with cloth diapers

I know I've written about camping with cloth diapers in the past, but I figured there might be a few people out there that would still appreciate a quick rundown on what I think are the most helpful tips. Seeing as how I've just gotten back from yet another family camping trip, I thought this would be the perfect time. Actually, back at the beginning of the summer probably would have been the perfect time, but let's not worry about that. (some affiliate links are included in this post)

1. Good Quality Wet Bag. It doesn't have to be expensive - just water proof and large enough to hold all the diapers you expect to use on your trip. I have a large Planet Wise wet bag I use, but I've used a large garbage bag on more than one occasion and that worked well too.
5 tips for camping with cloth diapers
The garbage bag hanging in the background? It's full of dirty diapers. Nice, right? Camping!

2. Flats. The reason I like using flats while camping is because they take up so much less space - in the diaper bag and the diaper pail. When camping with a family of 4 that includes a little one in diapers, space is a huge commodity. Other times, I have used AIO's (all in ones) for the simplicity, so it really just depends on what you're comfortable with and what's more important to you.
5 tips for camping with cloth diapers

Friday, August 2, 2013

SLS3 Compression Sock Review and Giveaway (closed)

Recently, I was contacted by Sebastian Linke. If you haven't heard of him, he's a triathlete who also happens to own his very own company focused on compression and triathlon gear.
via SLS3®
SLS3® has an awesome selection for men and women. Their back-story is pretty inspiring in and of itself. SLS3® was created, owned and operated by a husband and wife team who have both logged some serious hours as triathletes. When they first began the company, they only produced four items - a tri suit, top, shorts, and socks: the basic essentials for a triathlon. Their inventory has grown, but their attention to detail has stayed as stringent as ever. In fact, they even boast they have a defectives return rate of LESS THAN 0.5%.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty awesome timing when Sebastian emailed me because I had JUST signed up to do my very first sprint triathlon next month. Talk about stars aligning, right? He offered me a pair of their compression socks for use and review and I knew I couldn't say no.

What sets these socks apart from other compression socks I've tried in the past is they truly utilize graduated compression. What this means is more comfort without losing the benefits of compression technology.

This is from the SLS3® site:

According to our research (based on the results of 37 international sport compression studies) it is beneficiary to wear compression garments during exercise if you:
1) want to improve maximal strength, sprint performance and jumping height,
2) want to influence your oxygen intake and lactate concentration (endurance),
3) want to increase your stamina.
For compression during recovery you should know that:
1) Lactate concentration tends to go away quicker while wearing compression wear,
2) Muscle pain and swelling is reduced through wearing of compression gear,
3) Maximal jumping, sprint and power performance recover quicker while wearing compression gear.
SLS3® Compression Socks - Keeping It Cool!
The special material used for the SLS3 Compression Sport Socks is designed to keep you cool when wet due to sweat or extra water applied on the Sox. The cooling effect will you to keep your body temperature down ( especially in extreme hot races like Hawaii ) which results in an improvement of performance.

You can click here to read even more about how compression apparel works.