March – August 2020 Favs

Pinterest Recipes

Yearly Organizer/ Calendar

BooksπŸ“š

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 ❀

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 πŸ™‚

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

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 itπŸ’› 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

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

Highwater Jamboree

After having our second child, I felt the need to update our emergency plan. We’ve had a plan since finding out our neighbor’s house burned down; this happened years before we bought our home. It helped us see the urgency in having a plan because you never know when an emergency will occur. The first thing we did was get food that was easy to carry but would provide what we needed. Then we tasted it to see if we’d actually want to eat it; totally unnecessary but it definitely wasn’t something you’d overindulge in. Next we packed dog food, rain smocks, flash lights, batteries, etc. We never bought the water we needed nor did we get a few other essentials but we felt it was a good start. Plus we weren’t entirely sure where to go from there. So we researched, made a plan then did absolutely nothing until…

I receive an email from the City of Sacramento about the second annual Highwater Jamboree – Flood Prep Exposition. This seemed like perfect timing but I was surprised as I didn’t realize there was a first. Anyways I read the email, clicked on the link and decided we definitely needed to attend. While I went for information regarding how to prepare for natural disasters common in our area, I knew my toddler would love all of the emergency vehicles.

Sacramento Police Department Helicopter

The morning of the event I told my son we had a surprise for him. He was excited but didn’t really know what was going on as we didn’t give him much information. As we drove to the event, I explained a little about what he could expect. I let him know we’d be going to an event to show us how to be prepared for emergencies. I compared it to popular shows he watches then let him know we would be seeing similar things. Finally, we arrived but there was little to be excited about because we parked far away. After walking for a bit, he saw the vehicles.

Truck used for maintaining the city drains and sewer systems; don’t remember the name…
Fire Truck!

Each vehicle had an attendant. The one above showed him how they use a camera, on what looked like a remote controlled car, to see inside the pipes. The attendant/ operator also explained how another item (looked like a small space rover) worked as well as giving a brief kid friendly explanation of the pipes on display. He went on to tell him the importance of keeping the drains clear of leaves and trash so water can enter the drains and be safely transported away from the streets.

Bulldozer
Hubby and son inside a backhoe loader
City Sanitation Vehicles
M.I.C – Mobile Incident Command

My son’s favorite was a toss up between the bulldozer and the excavator. My favorite was the M.I.C. I was able to speak with the officer inside to get details on what this is used for, where it goes and why it is important. I’ll post two views from interior and one video showing the exterior to my YouTube channel Journey to Mommy (links at end of post). I do state in the video that I don’t mention names or show people because I’m a firm believer in privacy. Please note no one asked me not to show them or mention names; this was a choice I made. Once we finished viewing all the vehicles, we went to the tents. All the tents had different information on various agencies that help before, during and after an emergency.

The City of Sacramento Office of Emergency Services tent stood out the most. It was a one stop shop for preparation. The attendants asked about who was in my home and what elevation I was at. These questions are important as having a pet, small children and/or elderly would change your preparation needs. The elevation is important because flood zone versus non flood zone dictates whether or not you should plan to stay in your home or leave. Both require different planning. These were things I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Below are all the pamphlets I received. If you don’t have a plan acquiring these would be a good way to start as well as checking out your city website to see how they operate in case of emergency.

Diet?

With all of the updates I’ve given regarding my diet, you think I would’ve stuck to something by now but you’d be wrong. My problem is the same as a lot of others. I start something, am super excited, something comes up, I’m thrown off then whoops. I get derailed, down on my lack of self control then I start the cycle all over again. Well this time is different because I won’t give up. In the words of a cool Instagram meme I’ll just yell “Plot Twist” and keep on going. This won’t be perfect, pretty or pleasant but I know it will be worth it because health.

Going forward, I’ll be making short weekly videos about my diet week rather than the same old blog posts about what I did or didn’t do. The videos will be faster seeing as how I’ll be cutting out the desire to add pictures or any other window dressing. I’ll be talking about how the week went which will include hits, misses and whatever in between. I also post product review videos. In about a month, I’ll be redoing the MyChelle Perfect C Pro Serum. I loved it but didn’t finish because I got pregnant. Yes, I could have continued but I didn’t as my skin is unusually nice when I’m pregnant so I didn’t think the review would be fair. However with a toddler and an infant I feel this will really put the serum to the test.

Hopefully you’ll join me weekly on YouTube to see diet related videos as well as an occasional review πŸ™‚ It’s Journey to Mommy and the picture on YouTube is the same one I use here. https://youtu.be/ZT8y9dqsFGs

Help Wanted

The picture above was only edited to include a modesty paint splatter because I chose to put it there. Besides that nothing has been done to the photo. Why do I have such an honest picture? Well I had an experience a few months ago that I thought should be accompanied by a picture for context. I was going to make this a pity party post but after having time to think about it decided to make it a teaching moment.

A few months ago I gave birth to a healthy baby. While everything turned out okay, I hadn’t been feeling myself due to things out of my control namely hormones. It had been a while since I had gotten out of the house without my little ones so hubby took me out for a midweek date. Everything started off great. Dinner, adult conversation and planning for the future. Then we decided to extend our evening by going to the mall. First I went to a makeup store to buy a liquid concealer along with two impulse buys. I was on a high because I really wanted the concealer but couldn’t justify buying it as I don’t wear makeup regularly. However my hubby is awesome and he was trying to spoil me per usual. The second store WAS my favorite. Just to clarify I am intentionally leaving out the name but I will say it was not Bath and Body Works. Now the story…

I was really excited to go to my store as I usually get to spend a decent amount on fun but completely unnecessary bath products. I went in with the intention to replace a skincare item and to get a few new bath balls. I walk in (see image above) with a huge smile on my face and no spending cap! Now I would never go too crazy but I was happy with the dollar amount I set for myself. I walk in the store but for the first time no one offers to help. Please note the store was in no way busy; there was maybe three customers not including ourselves. I figured someone would get to me when they were done however no one approached us. Then an additional associate walks out from the back and still nothing. I thought maybe they are changing places with the cashier but again wrong. I decided to say what I was looking for just in case they all assumed the other associate helped me but again nothing and one associate even avoided me. To reiterate small store, not busy and I am very hard to miss as I was dressed in a bright color. Right as I see an associate headed my way I smile and begin to form the words for the description of the items I’m looking for when she continues walking to help the customers that just walked in. At this point I am crushed because I have no other reasoning as to why I haven’t received assistance. Even my husband was annoyed to the point of wanting to complain.

So we go to the candy store next door in an effort to pick me up so I could work up the nerve to go back and give them a second try. The candy store was equally empty and the associate immediately greeted us and asked to let them know if we needed any help or had questions. This is all I wanted but didn’t receive at the previous store. We were greeted so nicely in the candy store I nearly cried. I was hormonal, still dealing with post delivery things and happy to be out of the house and that gutted me. I eventually walked to the back of the candy store so no one could see the tears forming. Now my husband was upset because I don’t cry easily. I explained to him that I haven’t dealt with that much profiling in YEARS. I thought “that stuff doesn’t happen where I live” because it is so diverse. Well I was wrong. Once I got it together, we brought our purchases to the front, made a few impulse buys, thanked them for their great customer service and left.

As we left and passed the offending store, my husband asked if I wanted to go back to complain. I declined. I was so sad that the thought of doing anything else gutted me. What if I went for dessert and the same thing happened? What if the way I looked put people off and that is why I wasn’t helped? Maybe my attitude seemed XYZ? Well by the time I arrived home I was still emotional but I started thinking. I didn’t do anything wrong. I am the same person I always am when around others. I smile at the very least and speak when at my best. I could have looked better but I was dressed the way I felt comfortable and in what could fit my post baby body.

The lesson I learned was to treat every customer like they matter. Don’t pick and choose who you will help. If you are at work in the customer service business and said customer has not been rude, violent, etc then you should give them the same customer service you want to receive. Or at the bare minimum ask if they need help. I don’t expect anyone to bend over backwards or go out of their way to help me. But what I do expect is common industry standard courtesy whether or not you think I have the money to be there. Because your actions might not have direct consequences but knowing you changed a persons day should matter. I consider myself a decent human trying to raise decent humans. I hope my children’s actions never cause anyone to feel the way I did that night at the bath store when Help was indeed Wanted…