Exercise apparel – Senita

There are a few brands of athletic apparel I usually stick to because I’ve found they fit me well and are of high quality. Every now and then I’ll try a new or not super popular brand. I recently bought a pair of leggings from Senita. The style is called “Ellie” and they were $36, so a great price compared to other brands. For the quality, they are actually a steal! The material is super soft and stretchy. The rise on this style is a medium high and doesn’t slip or fold at all. The pants hold their shape without being too tight. The material seems durable and this style comes in a few different colors (gray, plum, black and the navy that I bought). I also like that this particular style is a 7/8 pant which is perfect for a short female such as myself 😉

One of their selling points is there are two large pockets on the sides. I didn’t think this feature would be a tipping point or anything for me, but I really like the pocket! I don’t exercise with my phone on me but it’s still super convenient for my phone when we go on walks or if I’m running errands after the gym. I am extremely pleased with my purchase and will definitely be using this brand again.senita athletics ellie leggingssenita athletics ellie leggings

senita athletics ellie leggings

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Twins

Tessa is at a really fun and funny age right now. She’s always making us laugh and always let us know what she’s thinking, aka she’s kind of the little boss around our house 😉 People always say we look a like so when I got this crushed velvet dress we decided to match for a Sunday.  I love the age she’s at now and the last FOUR years have flown by way too fast, I know that sounds cliche but I  wish she could stay little forever. I love having her around the home being my little shadow.

velvet party dress

velvet party dress

velvet party dress velvet party dress Women’s velvet party dress from ToSave, an e-commerce site. I also had my eye on some of their other random products like baskets (for the never ending flow of toys), a bike phone bag and a camera bag (for my hobbies I don’t do enough of;)

Oxfords

I’m not sure how well I could pull off this style but lately I’m low key loving oxfords! I’ve had my eye on this platform style, because what 5 ft 3 inch girl wouldn’t want to be just a bit taller? 😉 I like how these are styled with cuffed or cropped jeans, I could also picture them with cropped jeans or trousers, or more dressed up with a dress or skirt. gray vintage oxfords fsjI love how Blair styled her oxfords – so classy with the blazer and midi skirt!

oxfords

First and third images are from FSJ,  I probably spent a good hour browsing their site including more oxfords and sandals (like wedding, beach, flat, etc). Middle image from good ol Nordstrom 🙂

Motivating your workout

New year, new goals – which often include physical or fitness milestones, I know mine certainly do! I made progress in a few areas last year and this year (knock on wood I stay healthy) would love to finally knock off the last few pounds of pregnancy weight. It generally isn’t hard for me to stay motivated to exercise once I’m in the habit. Currently, I go to the gym right after dropping Brent off at school. They (24 Hour Fitness) has child care that Tessa goes to and enjoys. Repetition until something becomes a habit has been key for me. My other motivation is finding something I really love (playing soccer) and focusing on how exercise makes me feel, t’s not always about the numbers. Here are a few more tips for getting and staying motivated:

Motivating Your Workout

By Christine H.

Motivation is a question for the ages. Businesses and marketing agencies spend millions of dollars and hours seeking the secret to motivating behaviors. And each of us is engaged in a constant battle with ourselves to overcome laziness and accomplish our own goals. This battle is never more evident than when we’re trying to set fitness goals.

Every person is different, and a trick that works for me may not have the same power for your workout. However, it’s always worth a try, right? So, in order to better motivate your workout, here are some ideas.

Rock the Playlist

We all know that a workout is better with a good playlist going, but you might be surprised at just how powerful it can be. In fact, it can affect performance so much that professional races often restrict the use of music players during competitions in order to eliminate the edge that it might give. Music can help you to coordinate your body’s rhythms and have a more efficient use of energy. Various studies have also shown that it motivates us to work out more often and for longer periods of time.

So, if your workout has hit a wall, consider purchasing some good new tunes. In fact, if you want to get really in depth, check out this article for a guide to the optimal rhythm for certain workouts. Find songs that will encourage you to hit a goal heart rate at each point in your workout.

Get a Buddy

Most of us have immediate negative associations with the term “peer pressure,” but the truth is that it can also be power that we use to our advantage. For some reason, when the battle begins and ends with us alone, it’s a lot easier to shirk our proactive goals. After all, no one will really care if you skip spending this morning at the gym, right? Well, maybe you should change that. If you have the added pressure of disappointing a friend who will bring you to task, you’re a lot more likely to follow through with your health goals. As an added bonus, working out is often more fun, too.

Temptation Bundling

This might be a new term to you, but once you put it into practice, it will be your new favorite thing. Do you have a television show that you really like to watch? Or perhaps you like to listen to books on tape. Do you really love spending time in the steam room during the winter when your fingers feel consistently chilled? Well, what if you started telling yourself that you could only enjoy those treats when you’re working out? Of course, it will require a certain amount of discipline to get yourself to keep your own promises to yourself, but can you imagine how much more fit you’d be if you ONLY allowed yourself to watch television when you were exercising? This can be a big helper in getting you out the door because instead of focusing on the negative challenges of a workout, you’ll be eagerly anticipating the treat that you give yourself. It’s a basic case of Pavlov behavioral conditioning, but it works! Just remember that this is most effective when you simultaneously enjoy the temptation and the workout, rather than treating yourself afterwards or beforehand.

Try Some Cool New Apps

Technology has gotten in on the motivation game in a big way, and you’ll probably be delighted when you learn what kind of possibilities are out there. For example, one app helps power up your jogging by convincing you that zombies are chasing you. Others give you ninja workouts and reward you with leveling up as you accomplish more and more workouts. If you want to bundle peer pressure and technology, look into places like declare-it.com, where you’re held accountable for your goals by a community.

What are the best motivational tools that you use to power your health goals? Share below!

Patience, persistence and perspiration

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success”

(Napolean Hill)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote, especially starting off a new year. 2017 was a pretty great year for our family. We felt settled in a good routine with Brent’s school stuff, sports, church, work, etc. We had a lot of fun here locally in LA area (lots beach, baseball, new restaurants, Disneyland, etc) and road-tripped a few times up to Vegas and Utah. 2017 was also the first year I’ve been completely healthy since Tessa was born! That pregnancy was particularly hard and it’s been nice to finally see progress and the ability to regain muscle. Since her birth, I’ve had numerous injuries – hamstring, achilles, knee, back – and persistence has been key for me. During the weeks I wasn’t able to fully exercise, I was still at the gym rehabbing, stretching and strengthening and it’s finally starting to have good results. I’m not nearly where I’d like to be but I’m happy with the journey so far. Last year I also started playing soccer again with two different teams (a women’s team and a coed team) which is my main motivation for working out. I wouldn’t consider myself a natural at anything. I was never a natural soccer player or had any particular talent at the piano. These are two things I worked at all growing up and continue to practice and love today. (Thanks, Mom, for forcing me to practice the piano all those years!)

Looking forward, I am grateful to be done with 2017 as all years come with the positive and some negatives. I’m counting down the days to a week long trip to England next month and to enjoying more days at home with the kids. It’s bittersweet that they have to grow up. I know the days are numbered when I’ll have so much time with them, to watch them discover things for the first time and just to genuinely enjoy their company.

Loving where you live

11 moves in 11 years of marriage. Now that Brent has started school we hope to stay here for a long time. We’ve loved getting to move around and see all parts of the country. One of the best parts of moving so much is being able to be a tourist in your own city, we’ve always been really excited to check out the best views, attractions, hidden gems and food in all the cities we’ve lived in. There really has been amazing things about each place we’ve called ‘home’ even if only for a short while – from the historical sites in DC, the BBQ in TX, the canyons in UT and the castles in Scotland. I feel like we feel settled here in Chino Hills and one of my favorite things about this suburban gem is all the parks and hiking trails. While we haven’t taken advantage of the hiking trails and state park (that supposedly have redwoods!) that are just minutes from us, we have because of the kids checked out a ton of parks. Chino Hills has a lot of open space preserved which is one of the most beautiful things about it. We are close to LA but far enough away to feel definitely suburban. One of my favorite places to walk around with the kids is the Chino Wetlands. It’s actually near a prison and an industrial area but inside the park is very peaceful!

chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands park  chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands park

Museum of Ice Cream

We finally were able to go to the Museum of Ice Cream here in LA after purchasing tickets back in April! They’ve sold out in every city they’ve been in so I feel lucky we were able to get tickets. It was very visually appealing and had tons of cool art. I kind of thought it would be more like a museum, as in educational, it was more like an exhibition which was still very interesting. We did get to sample some pretty good ice cream and thought the museum was well run.

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA    museum of ice cream LA museum of ice cream LA museum of ice cream LA  museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

Fall y’all

Growing up in Southern CA, I never was really aware of seasons until obviously moving to Utah for school. Since then, we’ve lived in cold climates, snow, extreme cold and extreme hot. I enjoy fall when the temperatures drop a little, the breeze picks up and evenings are so cool and pleasant. My favorite falls were when we lived in Virginia and the trees and changing colors were unreal! Today was the first day in LA area that it felt a little like fall, and only in the morning. This weekend brings another heat wave, ha, ha!

CA fall  fall outfit Tobi fall outfit Tobi sunrise necklace

fall outfit Tobi

CA fall

CA fallCA fall pumpkin patch

We’re looking forward to the fun things that fall brings besides maybe a small drop in temperature – dressing the kids up for Halloween and the upcoming holidays. This is the first time in our 11 years of marriage that we’ve lived in CA and it’ll be so nice not to have to travel far or in poor weather to be with family!

Wearing: grey cardigan / sun necklace / black top / birkenstocks / denim / Dr. Scholls leopard flats / lularoe leggings / thank you to Tobi for partnering on this post and for having affordable clothes that fit my style 🙂

How to Save Hundreds per Month on “Fixed” Expenses

This article is obviously not written by me as I’m not the best with money but I found it interesting and informative. Since before we got married, we’ve tried to find ways to save money and cut expenses. It’s something we are constantly doing since that time 11 years ago and even now we find there are little things we can improve on. Sure I still, years later, miss my magazine subscriptions but in the long run, am glad we have been able to travel, relocate, have kids, a house, etc.

Thanks, Christine, for guest posting this article 🙂

When you sit down to determine your budget, you probably divide your expenses into “fixed” and “variable.” This is a great way to find wiggle room and cut back on certain indulgences. We immediately take a good look at how much we spend on eating out, entertainment, and gasoline. However, sometimes we don’t label those “fixed” expenses correctly. In fact, there are a lot of things that you can do to reduce your payments on things that seem like inflexible necessities. For example, utilities often seem out of our power. No matter what, you’re going to want heating in your house, you must have insurance, and cutting back on an internet connection will significantly reduce your quality of life (and sometimes even your job prospects.) But at the same time, these costs could be draining your finances much more than necessary, as this article points out.

There are often ways to cut back that we don’t even notice. You can get the same services for cheaper when you shop around, you can bundle and save, you can cut back on parts of a bundle that aren’t giving you any value, or you can play hardball and make a deal with your service provider. Think outside the box, consider everything flexible, and if you really want to cut back on your expenses, then make some changes! Here are some ideas:

Renegotiate Your Internet Bill

It’s surprising to most of us how flexible the monthly internet payment is. First of all, take a good look at whether or not you need the best package. Households seldom need more than 40 mbps, unless they have several gamers playing at once. My household of three simultaneous streaming services going at a time was just fine at 30 mbps. Additionally, don’t get suckered into added-on cable services and landlines if you don’t actually use them. Even if you get it for just a few dollars more per month, it’s not worth it if you don’t actually want to use it. Then, start playing hardball.  I’ve talked down internet providers from an 80$/month deal to $25. Do some research, look up deals online. Compare the prices for your current provider with a competitor in the area. Think of a number that you want and then doggedly ask for it. Don’t forget to follow up on it, too, to make sure that it becomes your regular payment.

Cut Back on Electricity

There are some things you can do to significantly reduce your electric bill without even changing your habits. First of all, replace your regular halogen light bulbs with LEDs. They take significantly less electricity and last longer. Then, add some powerstrips for your entertainment system. All of those plugs can drain a lot of energy, even when they’re not in use. Set those power strips so that you turn everything off when not in use.

Look over Your Cell Phone Bill

We know you want the best. There’s nothing more annoying than dropping an important call, or struggling to get data when you need to look something up. However, if you can cut your bill in half, it might just be worth waiting until you have a WiFi connection to look up that particular YouTube video. Start shopping around and see if a different network will give you a better deal. You might even find a better deal within your own network, by moving to a different plan, and making sure that calls to your most frequent contacts aren’t crippling you.

Save on Heating

If you live somewhere with cold winters, then you might notice that your utility bill spikes as soon as the holidays start. To a certain point this is inevitable. However, there are ways that you can minimize the cost of heating your house for the winter. First of all, do some weather-proofing and insulation. Heavy curtains on the windows, weather-stripping around doors and windows, and insulation in the walls and especially the attic can all make your gas use much more efficient. Get a blanket for your hot water heater. Its cost is minimal and it will save you a few dollars per month, quickly paying for itself. You can also lower the temperature of your hot water heater. How often have you put your hands under scalding hot water and realized it really doesn’t need to come out of the faucet that hot?

Review Your Subscriptions

This is especially important for entertainment subscriptions. Magazines, streaming services, even your Amazon Prime account are all luxuries. Sometimes you can share a subscription with someone else. Other times, you realize you really don’t need to keep up on that one show. Look at things like gym memberships and club fees.

Don’t Take Debts at Face Value

Is a significant chunk of your monthly income going towards something like student debt or medical bills? There are often ways to reduce those payments. Think about refinancing a mortgage, consolidating loans, and prioritizing debts or loans that charge crazy interest rates, and getting those paid off first.

Car Payments

Alright, ready to really take a chunk out of your monthly bill? Look at your cars. How much gas and upkeep do they take? Are you making car loan payments? Could you get by with one less car than what you have? Could you perhaps downgrade for a cheaper vehicle and reduce your monthly costs on the loan? Could you get a vehicle that takes a lot less gas? Could you use public transit for your commute, or bike to get errands done?

What are your best ideas for cutting back on “fixed” expenses?

 

*Updated* Favorite Product for Fuller Lashes: Rimmel Lash Accelerator

I’ve never had full, long lashes but I’ve never had the desire to pay a lot of money for that look. I do love how lash extensions look but it seems like a big cost and maintenance. There’s lots of serums and products out there, I found this one by Rimmel on Amazon and chose it based on reviews and price ($8!)

Before:  rimmel lash accelerator

After:

 rimmel lash accelerator

 rimmel lash accelerator

rimmel lash accelerator serum

The serum is super easy to use, you just brush it on the base of your lashes and use the lash stick or the brush. I use it every night before bed and have used about half the bottle as of now. I definitely saw results and feel my lashes are longer. It’s not the same volume you would get with extensions, but for $8 I am super happy with this product!

rimmel lash accelerator serum

11/29/17 – I’m now about 75% finished with the tube of lash serum. I’m still loving this product and here are some recent results:

rimmel lash accelerator serum

rimmel lash accelerator serum rimmel lash accelerator serum