Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What I Eat in a Day: Work Day

I thought it would be fun to share some samples of what I eat in a day.  I always love to see these types of posts because it gives me ideas on different things I can try to spice up my eating life.  Today I'm sharing a typical day of meals for a work day for me.


I'm usually eating breakfast super early and just don't have the time or energy to make anything fancy.  Most days I like to stick to cereal.  Yesterday, I had this yummy Almonds & Oats cereal with about a half cup of Unsweetened Original Almond Milk.  I'm both diabetic and lactose intolerant so this is a staple in our fridge.  I also use a digital food scale to measure the amount I eat so I know how much insulin to take.  Measuring my food also helps me to control portions.  This is one serving of cereal, according to the box.

After my cereal, I like to make a cup of coffee and sit down to put on my makeup while I sip it.  Since I'm diabetic, I stick to sucralose and sugar free creamer.  Hazelnut is my favorite!

Morning Snack:

That cereal doesn't keep me full the entire morning (at this point, it had already been four hours since breakfast) so I like to have a healthy snack around.  Yesterday I had a banana.


These days I'm trying to keep my lunches both healthy and yummy.  I had carrots, grapes, and a ham and cheese sandwich on a hamburger bun.  

Pre-workout Snack:

I get home from work pretty early most days and then I like to work out.  That puts a good bit of time between lunch and dinner so I try to have a healthy snack.  What I eat depends on what kind of workout I do.  I was doing strength training this day so I had a smaller snack of a mandarin and some unsalted peanuts and raisins.  On cardio days I have to eat something that will keep my blood sugar from plummeting during my workout.


After my workout, I usually shower and then eat dinner.  Yesterday's entree was leftovers from the night before: chicken thighs, artichokes, carrots, and white rice seasoned with a bit of fat free Italian dressing and pesto.  The original recipe is here but we modify it a bit to suit us and depending on what vegetables we have around the house.

Since there wasn't that much veggies in the entree, I also had a side salad.  It started with a handful of spinach leaves.  Then I added just a tiny bit of shredded cheese, some chipped carrots and broccoli, and mild banana pepper rings.  For dressing, I'm trying out the Athenos Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.  It has way less calories than regular ranch.  I also do the thing where you pour the dressing in a small dish and then dip your fork in instead of dumping all the dressing on top of the salad.  I'm not sure about this ranch though.  It tastes different than the Hidden Valley Ranch I usually eat but I still think it's good and tastes way better than most light ranch dressings.


Then there is my weakness: dessert!  I'm trying really hard to lose the weight my doctor told me I need to lose and skipping dessert is so hard for me!  I have the willpower to pass on almost any foods out there: fried foods, cookies, brownies, chips, soda... but ice cream has always been my weakness.  And not even necessarily ice cream, but all frozen desserts.  When I found these Outshine bars are made with real fruit and are only 60 calories, I thought they were worth a try.  They are really good and satisfy my desire for daily dessert.  Eventually I would like to try making my own frozen fruit bars so I ordered some dishwasher safe popsicle molds from Amazon but they won't be here for a couple of days.

And that's it!  I'd love to hear what you all eat in a day too!  I love getting ideas on new things to try.  Leave me a comment on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!  All my social media links are at the top right of my blog page.  😀

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Healthier Lifestyle Tips

My Back Story
Why I am even writing about eating right and exercising today?  In general, that's a topic that has never really interested me at all.  Here's my back story.  A year ago, I changed jobs.  I love my new job and I wouldn't change that, but with the new job came new habits and not so healthy ones at that.  Before going to work for IT, I was a teacher for nine years.  Teaching kept me active all during the work day.  I was constantly on my feet and moving.  I also ate healthy because I packed my lunch every day and the only thing I could eat was what I packed.  Now I have a job where I sit in meetings for hours at a time, then sit at my computer for hours at a time.  I also have time to go out to lunch (pretty much) as often as I want for as long as I want.  And I work with a group of people that I love but who I also enjoy socializing with at those lunches.  Fast forward a year into this job: My ankles started swelling up for no apparent reason.  Sometimes they would get so swollen that they would be pretty painful but then it would go away on its own.  While I was in Europe, they got particularly bad, especially my left ankle.  When I got back from the trip, I went in to see my doctor and she confirmed what I already thought.  The problems I was having with my ankles were being caused by them retaining water from all those fattening and sodium filled lunches out.  Those lunches out and a new sloth like lifestyle also helped me to gain ten pounds in the last year, which didn't help my ankles that are now supporting the extra weight.  My doctor and I both agreed that the best thing I could do would be to start eating better, and exercising more, and be sure to take breaks from sitting during the day to get up and move.  That was a month ago and I've really made some changes to my lifestyle in the last month to start living a healthier life.  I know there are people out there just like me, who are looking for the motivation to get started on a healthier path so I thought I would share some tips that worked for me.

1. Start tracking your activity with a fitness tracker, pedometer, or even use your smart phone.
Having some way to set a goal and then monitor your progress is a great way to stay motivated.  This was really important for me because I'm the type of person that needs a report card and enjoys data.  I'm currently using the Fitbit Alta and I love it.  However, if you don't want to make that kind of an investment (over $100 for most trackers), there are other options.  You can buy a pedometer for under $10 at Walmart or Amazon.  Or most smart phones (iPhone, Android, Windows) come with free health software that can do the same thing.  For me, a tracker was the best option, as I always wear a watch.  It encourages me to make little changes like parking farther away or taking the stairs.  But each of those little steps add up to big changes.

2. Invest in some workout clothes you like.
If you are short on money, then of course any clothes will do.  You could shop garage sales, find your favorite band shirts at Goodwill, or ask around for hand me downs.  For me, I didn't even own shorts that I could fit into any more (stupid extra weight!) and it was way too hot here in Florida in July for pants or capris, even inside.  I bought several different styles but found that my favorite pieces were inexpensive loose fit Bermuda shorts ($6.86) and loose fit tank tops ($4.96) from Walmart.  I love that the shorts are long enough that they protect my thighs from rubbing together and they have deep pockets.  They come in fun colors as well as neutrals so you can mix and match.  I also love the loose fit tanks.  They have colored ones with great graphic messages and also plain ones in black and grey that go great with those fun colored shorts.  I also was in need of sports bras.  I picked up some great ones from Target but they were pretty pricey.  The two shown in the image above are both from Burlington and work every bit as much as the ones from Target but cost less than half the price.  For me, having workout clothes that I liked wearing and thought were cute helped to motivate me to change into them.  Step 1, right?

3. Invest in proper footwear.
You might already own sneakers that are perfect for working out but for me, I didn't own a pair of athletic shoes at all.  Yup, not one.  And I have wide feet which make it hard to find sneakers that are comfortable.  But I found that Nike offers a couple of pairs of running shoes in wide sizes, including the Revolution.  I have the Revolution 2 and 3.  I like the 3 better because it's a bit lighter and sleeker but I find both work great for workouts and they weren't too terribly expensive compared to most athletic shoes.

4. Find exercise that you like to do.
When I used to think of exercise, I always thought of running and sit ups.  I hate running and I hate sit ups so I thought I hated working out.  But I really just had to find something I enjoyed.  I started with just walking but found that it's just too hot in Florida at this time of year.  I had two Workouts for Dummies videos laying around the house so I moved on to those and found that I actually really like them!  One is a basic aerobics video (Fat Burning Workout for Dummies) and the other consists of 4 short 15 minutes targeted strength workouts for specific areas (15 Minute Workouts for Dummies).  And it turns out I actually enjoy aerobics!  Which led me to find JessicaSmithTV on YouTube.  She has great aerobics workouts like these [1] [2] [3] and also anything else you could imagine: yoga, pilates, kickboxing, and strength training.  I've watched quite a few of her videos and I feel like I've only scratched the surface.  I love her positive energy and variety of videos.

5. Eat better.
I know that sounds like such a general thing but I know that I really need to just stop making bad choices about what I eat.  First of all, I need to stop going out to lunch so often.  There was one week where I went out for lunch four times.  And I never tried to order the healthier options.  All the carbs and fried foods right here, please.  I need to focus instead on packing my lunch more often, eating more fruits and vegetables, and making better snacking choices.  Lately I've been trying to snack on things like bananas, raisins, nuts, and veggies instead of vending machine junk.  And I need to cut back on the ice cream.  There was quite awhile this summer, where I was having one sundae cone per day... which over a week's time adds up to an entire day's worth of calories!  And I know I can still go out to lunch every so often but I need to make better choices about what I pick when I do eat at a restaurant.  For example, my favorite Tijuana Flats meal is the beef & beans nachos with additional queso, which is over 2,200 calories.  If I just got two chicken tacos with salsa instead, I could cut out about 1,800 calories and still enjoy a delicious meal with friends.

6. Drink more water and less everything else. 
This is something I see with a lot of my coworkers and something that was a problem for me in the past as well.  It's really easy to drink a couple of cokes or a couple of beers and not realize that you've added in hundreds of extra calories and tons of extra sodium.  And even diet soda seems to have an addicting effect where you just want more.  A few years ago I switched from Diet Dr Pepper to drinking ice water and I noticed that my thirst seemed to be quenched better.  I'm currently working on cutting back on the amount of coffee that I drink.

7. Find a time of day to exercise that works for you.
I know for a lot of people, their preferred time to exercise is early in the morning, before work.  That will never work for me.  As am employee of a school district, my report time is early and my commute fairly long.  I already get up at 5:00 AM and I will never be motivated enough to wake up at 4:00 AM to work out.  For me, I've found the best time is after work but before dinner, so I'm usually getting started around 3:30 or 4:30 PM.  Now that does mean that on some days when I have busy evenings, I don't get a chance to work out.  But for most days that is the perfect time for me.  I can shower right after and then eat dinner and still have a bit of time to relax.  I was already a night time showerer anyway, so maybe that's why that time suits me better.

8. Find a support system.
It's always easier to stay committed to something when you have people helping to hold you accountable.  For me, it's been my husband and good friend M.  We all three have Fitbits so we added each other as friends and now we can check in on each other's progress.  And my husband has been really supportive about rearranging our schedule in the evenings so I can get my work out in.  He also gives up the television every evening for as long as I feel like working out.  The phrase, "How many steps did you get today?" has also become a topic of conversation every evening in our home.

9. Get plenty of sleep.
Getting a good night's sleep will give you more energy for your workouts but will also help stave off the cravings for extra calories in junk.  And if you're doing strength exercises, sleep is a great way for your body to recover and repair those muscles.  If you've been eating well and exercising but can't seem to lose weight, good sleep might be the missing piece.  If you want some hard data on your sleep, the Fitbit tracks it or you could also try downloading an app for your smart phone.  I wore my Fitbit to bed for a few weeks but found it uncomfortable to sleep while wearing it.  What I learned was that I am a light sleeper and need to go to bed earlier because I don't get a lot of deep sleep.  Kind of already knew that though.

10. Don't sit for extended periods of time.
There is a lot of research out there (check out this infographic) that shows that sitting for prolonged periods of time is incredibly bad for your health in general.  So bad, that even 30 minutes of exercise a day can't combat the problems that sitting causes.  And how many of us spend our whole day at work doing just that?  My doctor told me that I should get up and walk for a few minutes every 20 to 30 minutes in order to prevent the swelling in my ankles, as well as eliminate the lower back pain I've been having and prevent future diseases.  To be honest, I definitely feel much better when I get up often throughout the day and go for a short walk.  And a quick brisk walk does much more to wake me up than a cup of coffee!

I still haven't lost any weight, but I know that I'm feeling one hundred times better than I was before.  My ankles aren't nearly as swollen and the lower back pain I was having a few months ago is completely gone, as long as I make sure to get up every 30 minutes or so and move.  I also know that losing weight takes time and just as I slowly gained the weight, I know I'll slowly lose it.  In the meantime, I'm happy with the small progress that I'm making each day.  Workouts that used to leave me exhausted and sore for days now leave me feeling energized and great afterward.  I feel proud of myself each time I make the effort to get up and move, sweat, and get one step closer to my goal of not only losing the extra pounds, but also making healthier choices that will lead to a longer, healthier life.

**Disclaimers: #1: I am not a health care professional.  Take this advice at your own risk and always remember to consult your doctor before making changes in diet and exercise programs.  #2: I am not sponsored by any company.  All products mentioned were purchased with my own money and all opinions are my own honest, unbiased opinions. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Shop My Stash Drawer

Hey friends!  I've been crazy busy with work lately and I know I'm about to go into at least two more crazy weeks so I made it a point this weekend to empty out my shop my stash drawer and refill it with makeup that was easy and fuss free so I can out the door quick.  Low maintenance has been the name of the game lately for me.

Let's start with my clear plastic container, which houses the items I've been using every day without switching it up at all.  Although, it seems that my Benefit Erase Paste was photographed in the wrong place.  It definitely belongs here with the things I use every day.  I have pretty much used it every day since I got it back in December of 2015.

maybelline lash discovery waterproof mascara in very black - Love this for lower lashes!  The tiny brush does a great job of grabbing all those little lashes and making them darker and more defined without clumping them up.

maybelline colossal volum' express waterproof mascara in classic black - I love this mascara for my top lashes.  It holds a curl and gives length and thickness without being clumpy.  I'm personally not a fan of clumpy lashes.

elf lash curler - I'm not sure if elf still sells this exact lash curler but I love that the base is wide enough to fit all my lashes in without pinching the outer edges.

elf instant lift brow pencil in neutral brown - This brow pencil is the perfect color for me: not too warm and not too cool.  It's a quick and easy fill in for me and I love that the attached spoolie makes it even quicker - no digging for a separate brush.

elf clear brow and lash mascara - Again, quick and easy, but this gel also has just the right amount of hold.  And it's only $2!

mascara wands - Just a little something I like to keep around to brush out any clumps and separate my lashes after I apply mascara.

wet n wild fergie take on the day eyeshadow primer - This primer has been discontinued but I think wet n wild has pretty much the same product in different packaging now.  It's not as good as milani's eyeshadow primer in my opinion but it works okay and I'm just trying to use it up.

wet n wild color icon eyeshadow single in brulee - I reach for this shadow nearly every day as an eyebrow highlight.  I love that it's matte and for me it's really close to my skin tone.

cover girl simply powder foundation in ivory - I just love this powder!  It has great coverage without being too cakey looking.  I really like it on its own when my skin is clear or at times like now when it's not, it works great used sparingly as a setting powder over foundation and concealer.

Next we'll move on to the white plastic tray where I keep the items that I tend to swap out.  We'll go section by section, starting with lip products.

This little section has lots of sheer lipsticks.  These are the ones I've been reaching for the most.  Not pictured however, is maybelline baby lips in cherry me.  This one has been living in my purse because I've ended up using it almost every day, no matter what I start the day with.  I love that it adds just enough color, it's really moisturizing, and you don't need a mirror to apply it.

essence lip liner in cute pink - This is a nice neutral pink lip liner that works well under lots of other lip colors.  I pulled it out specifically to use with the neutrogena lippie.
neutrogena moisture smooth color stick in juicy papaya - This lippie is really moisturizing and comfortable and has just the right peachy pink color to match just about any other makeup you're wearing.
maybelline baby lips in pink glow - I loved my maybelline cherry me so much, I thought I might enjoy this too.  I'm still sort of trying it out so I pulled it out to remind me to use it more.
cover girl smoochies in #doubledare - This is another newer lip item for me.  I love that it has a beautiful peachy color.  Usually I find peach lip colors on me look bad but this one is sheer enough that I feel like I can pull it off while still getting enough of the peach color.  I would love to try more of these smoochies but I'm just so sure that I don't need them.  LOL
essence sheer & shine lipstick in 09  i feel pretty - This is a sheer lipstick in a purpley pink color.  It's just really fun and pretty.
essence sheer & shine lipstick in 03 bff - This is another sheer lipstick in a your lips but better shade.  It's just the most perfect color to really brighten up your face, even if you aren't wearing much other makeup.  I think it goes well with pretty much any other makeup and it's one of my current favorites.

I love lip products so there is actually a second compartment with more lippies in it.

milani color statement lipstick in pretty natural - This is my favorite lipstick ever!  If I have an important meeting and I want to look my best, I always pull for this.
essence long lasting lipstick in natural beauty - This is a great natural lipstick.  For me, it's very similar to my natural lip color so it's hard to tell if I'm even wearing anything.  It does a great job of smoothing and evening out.
sonia kashuk shine luxe sheer lipstick in sheer mauve - Luxurious shine and hydration are two great perks of this sheer lip color.  It's another that's close to my natural lips but with more shine and moisture.

Let's move over to the center, where my blushes are currently living.  I just now realized that out of these five blushes, it's only two different brands!  I guess I know what I like.

milani powder blush in romantic rose - This is the perfect natural matte color.  I wear it so often, I'm wearing down the rose pattern.  If you don't have this blush, you need it in your life.
essence silky touch blush in babydoll - A great natural pink blush with just a bit of a satin finish.  Great for days when I feel like my skin is looking just a bit dull.  I haven't had time for highlight lately so this is like a two in one.
essence silky touch blush in autumn peach - Same idea, but a lovely peachy shade.
milani minerals blush in mai tai - I know, I know, this blush has been discontinued for ages.  However, it may just be the most perfect matte coral blush on earth and I refuse to stop using it until it gets gross.  I know there are other people that still have this kicking around too!
essence blush up! powder blush in heat wave - Similar to mai tai, but with more orange.  A great warm coral for summer!  You can't really tell in the photo but it's an ombre blush that goes from bright orange to bright pink so you can control the tone of the blush depending on your mood that day.  Feeling more orange or pink?

Now we're moving on to face products.  Seriously, my skin has been awful this last week.  I think it's my fault too.  I didn't even think about it, but I worked out like four times this week with a full face of makeup on.  As in sweating like a pig worked out.  I shower right after but I'm sure sweat and dirt and makeup mixing into my skin and then me wiping it all on a towel probably contributed to this acne.  I've learned my lesson and now I've started washing my face with an Olay Daily Facial cloth before exercising so hopefully my skin will start to clear up soon.  Until then, I've pulled out several concealers and foundations to at least fake some clear skin.

revlon colorstay whipped creme foundation in ivory - I haven't used this one in quite awhile so I pulled it back out to make some use of it.  But now I'm thinking that maybe that jar that you dip your hands into might not be the best idea for my currently unhappy skin.  Maybe I should try the classic colorstay, now that it comes in a pump bottle?  Or I guess maybe I should pull out my elf acne fighting foundation.
benefit erase paste in no 1 fair - As I mentioned before, I love this.  I have horrible dark undereye circles and this stuff covers them incredibly well and also lasts all day long.  Worth every penny!
elf hd concealer in fair - When I have blemishes, I reach for this concealer over any other.  It blends out over zits incredibly well.  My only complaint is that it's too dark!  I've even tried mixing it with white foundation corrector and it helps but I can only wear it with certain foundations.
maybelline better skin concealer in ivory - I pulled out this concealer because it's lighter than the elf hd one.  I don't really remember how I felt about it so I figured I'd give it another try.
covergirl clean matte bb cream in fair - I love this stuff for when my skin is more clear!  It gives a bit of coverage (like a light coverage foundation) and it's so easy to apply.  I love it paired with a powder foundation.
rimmel match perfection concealer in fair - I used this concealer a lot a while back and I remember really liking it but I haven't used it in quite a while.  It's also lighter than the elf hd so I thought now would be a great time to give it some more love.
loreal infallible pro matte foundation in shell beige - This foundation is great!  The shade is just a tad too dark for me but the shade lighter is too light.  However, it matches the elf hd concealer really well and offers great coverage so they are a go to pairing for me when my skin isn't so great.

We're in the final stretch here: eye shadows and liners!  I have two photos here because this one palette is sort of covering everything under it.  😆

Too Faced Pixie Pin-Ups Palette - Hubby bought this palette for me years ago for Christmas and I always forget how much I love it.  The shadows are great quality and really easy to wear colors.  I just wish the packaging wasn't so bulky: There's only six shadows in it but it takes up a ton of space!

essence waterproof eyeliner pen - Great liquid liner pen!  Love this and highly recommend it.
rimmel scandaleyes eyeliner pencil in nude - I like to wear this on the waterline on days where I look extra tired for a brightening effect.
essence gel liner pencil in black blaze - When I'm short on time, I skip other liners and just use this to tightline.  Lasts great there.
hard candy baked eyeshadow duo in peace - I haven't used this for awhile but I know it's a great quick eye look, if you don't mind super shimmery shadows.
l'oreal infallible eyeshadow in endless pearl - This is a perfect matte cream shade.  I apply it with my finger and just throw a darker shade in the crease and I'm on my way!
essence eyeshadows in all i need; keep calm and berry on; triple choc - These shadows are fairly new to me and I'm really loving them!  I use triple choc often as a crease color.  It's dark enough to give some definition but not so dark that you have to be super careful.
covergirl trunaked eyeshadow palette in nudes - This palette is great!  Everything you need is right here and you can go anywhere from incredibly natural to more dramatic.
avon 8-in-1 eye palette in neutral tones - This palette however, can't stand on its own in my opinion.  That's when I pull in triple choc.  But if you like light shadows, there's a variety of tones and textures in this little palette.  I like it for when I'm feeling into natural looks but it's not my absolute favorite.
nyc smooth skin bronzing face powder in sunny - I've seriously had this bronzer forever.  It's not my favorite for bronzer (I feel like it's a bit too orange for me) but it makes a good light contour for eyes or a great transition shade to help blend out.

Wow, that's it!  If you made it through and read this entire post, then you have earned a high five and a round of applause!  🖐 👏