March – August 2020 Favs

Pinterest Recipes

Yearly Organizer/ Calendar

Books📚

Top two are from library. Bottom is mine because I love adventure books!

Ikea (desk n nightstand)

La Colombe canned coffee

5K HIIT Walking Program

Image is a screenshot from My Fitness Pal App Blog.

I DID IT!!!! Yes, all the caps and all the exclamations because I’m proud of myself! I had to fight to finish this challenge. I struggled with self doubt, poor food choices, exhaustion, angry kids, asthma issues due to the fires as well as a bunch of LIFE. I was originally thinking this would be easy compared to the Chloe Ting 2 Week Shred and I was right however as this was longer it presented different challenges. I regret nothing and would encourage everyone to try it as long as your doctor says it is okay.

Distance not shown as it was a countdown type thing

It took me 1 hour 11 minutes and 8 seconds (1:11:08) to complete this 5k but I did it. It was past 9pm but I finished. I was shaking and crying but I finished. I was having breathing problems but I finished. My knees hurt but I finished. Now my feet are swollen (need different shoes), my hair smells, my kids are crying and the dog feels ignored but I finished. I am currently writing this right after finishing and as tired as I am I feel amazing.

I’m thinking about my next fitness challenge as they seem to keep me motivated and active while inside. I have a vague idea but I know whatever it is, I’ll complete it. I know the scale won’t magically go down a ton without steady healthy eating habits but it is a start and it is contributing to improving my mental health which is extremely fragile. Any little thing I can do to feel amazing, especially if it is free, I’ll do because feeling amazing right now is an accomplishment by itself. With everything going on in the world, I think everyone should find something big or small that makes them feel amazing! Please pick your version of amazing safely ❤

Dino Dig

My son loves dinosaurs and most all prehistoric creatures. He wants to be a paleontologist thanks to YouTube and Jurassic Park; yes, I know it is a questionable movie for his age but he loves it. I went exploring online a few months ago to find the right excavation kit for his age. Spoiler I didn’t find one. What I did find was one kit on Amazon and one at Target.

I found Dinosaur Eggs on Amazon for $22.85 in March 2020; it’s $19.99 as of date of posting. The box says it is not for 0-3 years old at all. The recommended age is 6+ years old. This kit includes 12 eggs with dinosaurs inside, 12 chisels, 4 brushes and 12 dinosaur information cards.

Pros:

  • Keeps him engaged
  • Helps develop patience
  • Interesting way to learn to use new tools
  • Variety of dinosaurs

Cons:

  • Hard to get dinosaur out without soaking in water or help from adult
  • Brushes are thin
  • Chisel is hard for him to use (longer chisel would be great)
  • Takes a long time to get the dinosaur out if you don’t soak it
Learning Guide looks just like the box cover above

The National Geographic Dino Fossil Dig Kit was found at Target but I do not recall the price. I did find the same kit on Amazon for $9.97 as of date of posting. This is not for children under 3 years old. The box recommends ages 8+ years old. The kit includes on T. Rex shaped brick with dino poop, mosasaur tooth and generic dino bone, 1 chisel, 1 brush, 1 magnifying glass and a learning guide.

Pros:

  • Exciting for all ages (namely me, I was excited…)
  • Easy to chip away with small amount of water poured over per instructions
  • Packaging doubles as a container for the dig brick which contains mess
  • Colorful
  • Brush and chisel easy for son to use without help
  • Learning guide was great even for my son who knows a decent amount about dinosaurs/ paleontology
Counter clockwise: Mosasaur tooth, poop and bone between brush and magnifying glass

Cons:

  • Only one brick
  • Not something a younger kid can continually play with

Overall both kits are great considering the price and contain learning guides/ cards for later reference. The Dinosaur Eggs kit is good for multiple kids and continued play since the eggs contain small dinosaur toys. The Nat Geo kit is good for a more dig like experience and has a magnifying glass that will definitely be fun to use for other experiments.

1 Month No Takeout

The title sums up the post but I’ll elaborate! Please note I’ll use restaurant, takeout and fast-food all referring to food we didn’t cook at home.

My husband and I had a terrible fast-food/ takeout/ restaurant habit. It was so bad that I would meal prep then we’d get takeout and have lots of food waste as we wouldn’t double back to eat what I cooked. I kept watching my weight balloon because I ordered whatever sounded good at the moment. My new peak was/is 251lbs; I’m only 5’6″… As the horror of this new depressing milestone set in, my husband pitched the no fast food idea to me. I quickly agreed but was worried he’d have to be my strength due to my sugary coffee addiction. Little did I know I was going to do great!

Week 1: The biggest challenge was finding a coffee alternative to my Starbucks addiction. In case you need an idea of what I mean, I’d go to Starbucks and buy 2 drinks (grande and venti) usually with extra espresso or a syrup and a pastry (chocolate croissant). It was expensive and not the best choice for me. The alternative I found was La Colombe available at some Target and Costco locations. I have tried the four flavors available near me but they have more (listed by preference): Mocha, Triple Shot, Vanilla with regular milk and with oat milk. Though the month is over I continue to buy these or brew coffee at home instead of going out.

Purchased at Costco in Northern California

Week 2: I really started missing the convenience of fast food. The ease of going through the drive-thru or waiting until night before eating because I could. Around this time I realized I could meal prep without it being boring. I decided to start planning my meals a day or two before we went grocery shopping. I thought of what I used to order and simply switched the drive-thru for the grocery store. I even went back to finding quick flavorful meals on Pinterest. I can’t decide if I want to write about the things I’ve tried on Pinterest or not but here’s a picture of one meal we loved. My husband ate it with his steak on “fancy” days when he didn’t feel like eating his regular meal.

Oven Baked Lemon Garlic Shrimp

Week 3: We went to the grocery store way too much. This was a strange issue. We were eating at home like we planned but we weren’t sticking to our normal food. We made lots of unnecessary trips to the grocery store for wine, sake, sushi, pastries and frozen pizza. Needless to say I was eating at home but my extras were eating up the money we were saving. Again I had to take a look at what I was eating, when and why. I knew I was an emotional eater but the detailed answers to those questions became clear during this month. Once I started addressing them, I was able to make a more realistic meal plan.

Week 4: I was doing well and even preferred cooking all of my meals. It was a different form of self care. I was choosing to put my health first with every meal I cooked. I had to plan, commit and cook. I would listen to music, think about fun things to do with the kids or just have random internal conversations with myself. I could keep this up no problem. At the end, I knew I’d go back to eating out especially sushi as nothing compares to the actual sushi bar but this time it would be rare versus regular. Plus we like to support local and try new restaurants.

Week 5: The month ended and I had my first take-out in over 32 days! I was excited since I was armed with this new resolve to only eat out occasionally. I opened it up, took a bite and immediately thought “that’s it, right back to old habits” then something cool happened. I felt GROSS. My stomach was bloated and upset, my feet and hands started to swell and I couldn’t finish it. I COULDN’T FINISH IT!!!! That might sound awful to some but for me it was great. It was proof my choices really were having a negative effect on my health. At home, I controlled all of the ingredients and the amounts but when someone else does the cooking you can’t control it. Sure you can order healthy alternatives, eat at certain places, etc but at the end someone else is still in control.

Conclusion: If you want to try something different or challenge yourself, go for it. You might be shocked at what you discover. Did I lose a bunch of weight? No. Did I save a ton more by eating at home? No because experimenting with food can be pricey. I didn’t expect what I did get. We did start eating all meals at the table. I started being more aware of what I was eating as well as the snacks my kids were eating. My oldest tried kale. I’ve started to take better care of myself; no more quarantine slump. Overall I feel better, am more aware of what I’m doing and am more present with my kids. I also have a schedule and am starting to get active. I would definitely consider this experiment a success. I’ve even moving on to a new challenge but that’ll be for a separate post 🙂

Dec 2019 – Feb 2020 Fav

I forgot to actually post the individual blogs so I’m combining three months worth! Going forward, I will include recipes I love if I have one for the month. I will try not to repeat anything but if I like it then it’ll more than likely show up again.

Pillowcases from YugTex and Alpha Home

  • Soft
  • Affordable
  • Washing machine friendly
    • no fading as of 4 washes
  • Multiple options
  • Purchased on Amazon

Canvas Wall Art – Green Leaf

  • Might have mentioned before
  • Decent size
  • Good color/ print
  • Purchased on Amazon

Hairstyle

  • Idea from Keke J. on YouTube
    • Keke J. Method
  • Style takes a long time but also lasts a while (2 weeks for me)
  • Great as prep for passion twists as suggested by Keke J.
  • Helped me retain moisture while in protective style
  • No need to add hair as I liked the style without it

Espresso Metro

  • Great place to read
  • Good chicken tamales
  • might have to pay for parking Monday thru Saturday

Dansama Passion Twist Hair 18″ (7pks) T/BUG

  • Suggested by Keke J. on YouTube
    • Video name “SAVE YOUR COINS! Affordable Passion Twists W/ Keke J. Method”
  • Current price is $36.80 but when I bought it was $29.90; point is this is very affordable especially if you’re experimenting like I was
  • Multiple colors
    • I chose T/BUG which was very different for me and I liked it; next time I’ll buy T30 to compare and see which color I like better
  • Very soft, no smell and easy to separate
    • only 1 piece gave me trouble but I was tired so it was probably my fault
  • Purchased on Amazon

Solo Dates

Self-care is all I hear about nowadays. I thought I was doing it accordingly until I realized it started to feel like everything else on my To-Do List. Then it got lost in the day-to-day. Once I was feeling good and burned out, I started to think about self-care again. What is it? How do I set aside enough time for it? What should I do during this self-care? And what’s the difference between self-care and hiding in the bathroom with a book and/or a snack?

Well thanks to my husband forcing me to have alone time, I discovered solo dates!

At first, I didn’t know what to do. I grew increasingly annoyed trying to make a plan. Then I remembered seeing a trailer for The Photograph. I knew hubby didn’t want to see it so I decided I’d go see it by myself. Normally I’m not a romantic movie kind of person but this looked interesting and I liked both actors. On Saturday, I got dressed and ran out the house like a little kid leaving on the last day of school before summer vacation (do they still have that?).

I decided to treat my city as a day trip. I took pictures as I normally would while in a new city. I intended on taking pictures of my movie ticket, food and beverage as well as of myself but I was too busy enjoying myself and only took pictures afterwards. The movie theater only had six other people and they were all couples. Everyone was spread out so I was in the row by myself which felt like having a giant home movie room. The movie was good and I’d recommend it if you want a romantic movie that doesn’t feel too cheesy or painful to watch. Next on my solo day trip was exploring the city; yes still my own city. I Googled nearby introvert friendly places but nothing seemed to catch my attention. I drove around aimlessly until it hit me. The LIBRARY!! It was quiet, introvert friendly and best of all free. I looked for the book I started reading during our cruise; it came from the cruise ship library. Once I got a new library card and asked some questions, I ordered the book and looked for two more. With books in hand and renewed energy, I went to a local chain restaurant, ate then headed home.

My second solo date was easier to plan and a little fancier. I knew I’d be going to an early movie because the ticket is cheaper and the theater is usually 90% empty. I got slightly dressed up, threw my stuff into my purse (no diaper bag for me) and left. I was running late so still no pictures before the movie. This time The Call of the Wild was my movie of choice. It was better than expected and focused on the dog so for me it was perfect. Since I skipped breakfast and popcorn doesn’t fill me up, I decided to go eat. I continued the tourist theme and looked for small independent looking places to go. The first was a restaurant I wanted to go to for a while but they didn’t have any parking available. I defaulted to a small coffee shop instead.

Time Siege by Wesley Chu
Espresso Metro chicken tamale and latte

Espresso Metro is the cafe I ended up at. I’d driven by it many times before but never stopped as I was usually looking for something. This time I decided it would be my last stop on my solo date. I went in, told the barista it was my first time there. She recommended food (chicken tamale) and a beverage (custom latte) based on my preferences. The place was quiet but not empty like the theater. I took out my book and began reading. After a few minutes, which turned out to actually be over an hour, I noticed the customers coming and going. It had a pleasant buzz of noise but not too much that I couldn’t ignore. I continued reading until I wanted another drink. This is when I realized the actual time elapsed was a few hours so I concluded it was only right to make another purchase.

Espresso Cafe Chai

I purchased a chai and made small talk with the new barista as the previous one was done for the day. We chatted, I picked up my drink, went back to my table and continued reading. After another hour, I decided to head home. Upon my return, we were able to go out to dinner with just the two of us so it turned into a date night. Dinner and hanging out was the perfect way to end my solo date.

My solo self-care dates won’t always be the same but for now leaving the house with a book, phone charger and an explorers mindset has worked out great<3

Monster Jam 2020

I like things that go but my son loves them! As soon as I found out Monster Jam was coming to our city, I knew we had to go. Thanks to Blippi via YouTube he knows all about monster trucks especially Grave Digger. So I knew this would be a great surprise especially since he’d been keeping his room clean and being a great big brother.

Once the day came, I casually mentioned to him that we had a surprise for him later on in the day. He was curious but quickly let it go because toddler… Soon it was nap time and I finally told him so he could rest before his late night. This didn’t work and tears followed. After he finally calmed down, he passed out. By the time we woke him up, it was time to go.

Earth Shaker and Grave Digger

We prepaid for parking so we were walking to the place along with lots of other excited kids. There were a few rowdy young adults but they didn’t bother anyone just generally loud and possibly intoxicated. Upon walking inside, the crowds were packed around every booth that was setup with merchandise and food. Our seats were way at the top but I didn’t mind as the view was better and seats were affordable. Below are a few moments he is still talking about so I felt the need to include them. I will also post clips on my YouTube channel but be warned they were shot on my mobile as professional equipment or any type of decent camera setup were prohibited.

El Toro Loco and Monster Mutt
Scooby Doo and Grave Digger
Megalodon losing it’s top!
Scooby Doo and Black Ops
Monster Mutt (?) and El Toro Loco ATVs
El Toro Loco loses a horn!

Tips

  • Bring noise cancelling headphones
    • no matter how high up you are it is loud…
  • Be prepared to wait in long lines if you buy merchandise after the show
    • buy early if possible to avoid lines and to ensure you get what you want
    • get your bubble skull when you see them because they WILL run out
  • Make sure your little one is prepared for the down time
    • he loved seeing the construction type vehicles but if your kid isn’t in to that then make sure they have snacks or something during that time
  • FYI for sensitive groups; the fuel smell is very obvious and could be worse depending on how close you are
  • Duration 2-2.5hrs
    • make sure your kid wants to sit that long
    • my son was okay but he was more focused on the candy and started playing with the earplugs towards the end
    • if your child doesn’t want to sit that long but would love it, definitely buy the cheap tickets so if you leave early it won’t feel like a waste

Final thoughts: The prices were on par for a special event but the small toy monster trucks seemed very affordable ($10/ truck). I would like to thank the mom next to me for letting me have her new earplugs as I forgot to bring the pair I had. She didn’t hesitate or make any judgmental faces; she just leaned over asked if he’d use them and handed them over ❤ Due to this act of kindness, I’ll bring a spare pair to the next event I go to. Well feel free to ask me any questions as I did enjoy the event and so did my son and husband!

November 2019 Favs

1. Radius Organic Mint Aloe Neem Toothpaste
2. UBeesize 7.9″ Ring Light w/ Tripod Stand
3. Dippy Cow Custom Nails: Geometry Full Set in Short/Regular
  1. I received this for free from Social Nature however I plan to buy it when I finish this tube. The texture takes some getting used to as it is not the same as traditional toothpaste. The mint is subtle so if you prefer an overpowering mint taste you won’t get it. Be aware that the closer you get to the end of the tube the easier it is to waste it due to falling off of the toothbrush from squeezing hard to get it out.
  2. Purchased from Amazon. I’m slowly getting into creating better pictures and videos for my blog, YouTube channel and family but I didn’t want to spend a ton on equipment. This simple lighting and stand set were/ are perfect. The light has multiple settings and the stand can be used with a camera or your phone.
  3. I’ve posted about Dippy Cow Nails before but each time I buy more I can’t help sharing! Even as I write this I’m waiting for more because I wanted to place one big order before her baby arrives ❤ She’s great at what she does and has amazing customer service. I would like to reiterate what she has posted which is orders take a while as she is independent and works alone. She is based in the UK so all international orders will take longer and she recommends tracking. For more details, please visit her website: http://www.dippycownails.com
  4. MoValues Authentic Jade Roller and Gua Sha Set purchased from Amazon. This is a video only as I forgot to take a picture… But here is a little blurb in case you don’t want to watch the video. I bought this in November 2019 and I’m still loving it💛 I keep it in the storage bag in my refrigerator. After cleansing my face, I use the roller and if time permits the gua sha. The roller works great to de-puff my face, ease tension headaches and is very relaxing. The gua sha seems to relieve pressure in my sinuses. This isn’t medical advice but this is how it worked for me. Here’s the link in case you do want to watch my 2min unboxing video! https://youtu.be/FORYKgo4lE8

The Ride Along of a Lifetime

Did you read my Highwater Jamboree post? If you didn’t, here’s the link https://jtm2015.wordpress.com/2019/11/05/highwater-jamboree/ The first picture for that post was a helicopter. I didn’t elaborate on it because I wanted to keep the experience as a memory for myself however it is now relevant.

Helicopter picture from the Jamboree

After making our way through the large vehicles at the jamboree, I spotted the police helicopter. Once I saw the pilot, I bombarded him with most of my big questions. He graciously answered all of them as well as providing encouragement to get my pilot license. I was beaming from ear to ear after our conversation and it made me even happier that I attended the Highwater Jamboree. What I didn’t know was that my husband spoke with the sergeant while I was talking to the pilot. Hubby jokingly asked about a ride along in the helicopter and the sergeant gave him his card and told him how to schedule the ride along. The sergeant let him know the wait could be a while but it could be possible to get in on a cancellation if there were any.

A few days later, hubby gets a call asking if we could make it and he jumped at the chance. All he told me was to be ready by 4:00pm and wear comfortable shoes. I thought he was taking me to a fun dinner so I did my makeup (rare), got dressed and put my wig on. Later on he told me my sister would be watching the kids so I got really excited thinking he was taking me a little farther than I anticipated. Finally he comes home, my sister arrives then we take off. I spent the entire drive trying to figure out where we were going. We chatted, made a few jokes then reached the area. I was still confused as the location didn’t really reveal much. Okay I might have been too excited to see the obvious. But once I saw the pilot I lost it!

We followed the pilot to his office, saw the inside, asked questions, signed paperwork and took a golf cart to the helicopter. We got a quick lesson on helicopter safety, I asked more questions then the water works started… I couldn’t contain my excitement. I should mention I don’t cry easily but fulfilling a bucket list item made me burst with emotions. As we were in flight, he showed us all kinds of cool things in our city including our house! We headed towards a neighboring city and he began to go over the controls. I was wondering why he kept going over the controls then he asked me the most amazing question. Would you like to fly? Needless to say I lost my mind and agreed possibly before he even finished. I confirmed the controls and proceeded to have the experience of a lifetime. I followed a river, looked at an amazingly perfect sunset and flew over beautiful homes.

These of course are just highlights but I had to share. Not only did I learn you can have a ride along in a police helicopter but I got the spark I needed to ignite my imagination and show me what was possible. I can be a pilot if I figure out how to pay for school while being a stay at home parent. I don’t know how but I’m sure I’ll eventually figure it out. What the future holds I don’t know but what I do know is thanks to my husband I enjoyed the ride along of a lifetime ❤

October 2019 Favs

  • MyChelle SPF
    • I discovered this brand thanks to a free sample from Social Nature. I bought the full size from Sprouts. It is reef safe, used for whole body and can be used by everyone 6+ months
  • Reusable Starbucks cold cup
    • Purchased from Starbucks. I mostly use it for water. I love that it fits in the cup holder in my car and the straw can be used for multiple cups not just the one it was made for
  • Amazon Items
    • Women’s Padded Underwire Full Swing Support Maternity Nursing Bra
      • Gives great support, easy to use with one hand, affordable
    • Eillet 5-Pack High Waist Tummy Control Panties
      • Holds in mommy pouch!!
  • Target (the entire store!)
    • Relaxing place to shop where I can buy coffee and snacks to make the trip that much more fun
  • The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferris
    • Biggest take away is SELF CONTROL!! I love it because it works as long as your self control stays strong
    • Diet details will be on my YouTube channel