New Year, New Mom: 21 Day Fix Review

I can’t believe the month of January has come and gone! Like so many other people I started the new year with a resolution to become a better me. I’m usually so wrapped up in being “mom” that I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was in terrible shape and absolutely needed to make a change for the better.

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I started the 21 Day Fix on January 4 and haven’t looked back! What I love most about it is how simple it is to follow. The meal plan is flexible and easy to prepare and the workouts are a mere 30 minutes a day.

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I’m a very all-or-nothing kind of girl so I researched as much as I could and followed the meal plan to a tee. This included starting every day with Shakeology and drinking ALL my recommended water.

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The hardest part was finding time to workout when my hubs was working late and I had two babes to corral. Instead of waiting for them to go to bed most nights I would set them up with their dinner & the ipad at the picnic table and get my workout in! Pressing play is the hardest part!

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The meal plan promotes eating every 2-3 hours. Instead of a carb filled snack or a calorie loaded specialty coffee my NEW go to is an apple with almond butter!

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Along with the support from my challenge group I think I was so successful because I made a plan each week and stuck with it! My meals were made ahead of time and my workouts were set in stone!

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I’ve gotten a lot of questions on my meal prep so I thought I’d share how I have been preparing for each week! This is a sample of a weeks’ worth of meals. To keep things simple I make the same lunches and dinners for a whole week. I do my meal prep on Sundays and never have to cook the rest of the week. It really is worth it to not have to mess my kitchen daily!

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Pictured above are turkey bowls, buffalo chicken bowls, and my Shakeology supplies.

Turkey Bowls: Lean ground turkey with low sodium taco seasoning, one yellow container of a rice/quinoa blend, and a yellow container of beans and corn. I usually add 2 tablespoons of salsa the morning I am going to eat it. I either eat the bowl plain or add to a cup of spinach to get another serving of veggies in. Recently I started leaving out the corn and only using one yellow container total between the beans and the rice.

Buffalo Chicken Bowls: I boil boneless skinless chicken breasts in plain water for about 30 minutes. Then I shred and add Mrs. Dash chicken blend,Frank’s wing sauce, and a diced red onion. I like to eat cold on top of pre made broccoli slaw. For dressing I combine plain greek yogurt and dry ranch. If I haven’t had a blue container for the day I add goat cheese too!

Shakeology Staples: I usually freeze a cup of spinach to add to my Shakeology in the am. Sometimes I add frozen banana or frozen berries too!

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I try to do a lot of my shopping at Costco and Aldi. At Costco I buy my chicken, ground turkey, microwave packs of the rice/quinoa, spinach, eggs (SO cheap!), almond butter, and broccoli. I can get away with shopping every other week for a lot of those items mentioned. Read my Costco Must haves here.

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I also utilize Aldi as much as I can because their prices are pretty amazing for some staples to my meal plan! This taco seasoning was 39 cents a pack!

Also on the meal plan are eggs! My hubs and I have been addicted to hard boiled eggs and I have to share a few egg tips with all of you! We each take 2 eggs with us to work each day so it’s safe to say I’ve kind of become an egg-pert! On my meal prep day I also boil my eggs. I place them in cold water and bring the pot to a boil. Once the water is boiling I remove from heat, cover, and set a timer for 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark I transfer them immediately to ICE cold water. They turn out perfect every time! To peel them easily, use the back of a teaspoon. A co-worker told me this tip and it has been life-changing!

 

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So that’s where I’ve been the past month! Following my meal plan, doing my work outs, and making ME a priority. I’m down 15 pounds and UP a whole bunch of energy!

I’m starting my next 21 days TODAY and cannot wait to see my results.

What are your favorite 21 Day Fix meals?

**Edited: Since writing this post it has seen a lot of traction on pinterest. If you are getting started make sure to read my 21 Day Fix Must Haves and my 21 Day Fix Costco Staples

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Holiday Happenings {Metro Detroit}

Tis the season, right?

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We have been on the go the entire month of December and have experienced some pretty cool activities in and around Metro Detroit!

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We headed to Bronner’s Thanksgiving weekend and the babes each picked out their own ornament. Hubs and I have started an ornament collection for each of them since they have been born. Bronner’s is the LARGEST Christmas store in the world! People come from all over to experience all the different ornaments they have to offer!

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Frankenmuth

AKA Michigan’s Little Bavarian. The town is absolutely adorable to walk around during the holidays! We met Mike’s family there and enjoyed a family style dinner at the Bavarian Inn!

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Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

An old village decorated to a tee with a real working train. We got train tickets for once it was dark out and enjoyed all the lights while singing Christmas carols aboard the train!

 

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Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

The grounds were lit up and we lucked out that the weather was so mild! They passed out hot cocoa and cookies and there was a bon fire to enjoy too!

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Somerset Santa

By far the most magical experience around! The staff is super friendly and doesn’t rush you along at all!  You can bring your own camera and take as many pictures as you’d like! After taking pictures each child gets 3 coins they can redeem throughout the mall!

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…we always make sure to get a selfie with Santa too!

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What did we miss? The Rochester Lights are always on our list but we only saw them from the car this year! Any other must have spots to visit during the holidays?

 

 

 

It’s a Wonderful Life

Tis the Season to take a step back and reflect on how lucky I am. I have an amazing family, a solid career, and some pretty amazing friends. I thought it was fitting that for our Christmas card this year I chose the phrase

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

This year we had a mini photo session with Luna Signature to get some pictures for our Christmas card. We met with Aleksandra on a Sunday in October and LUCKED out. The weather was gorgeous and the babes were so cooperative! *Mental note to self, 4pm is the ideal time for them!

When I’m planning our outfits I always start with Giada! I had this Matilda Jane Platinum top that I knew I wanted to use. The colors were not traditional Christmas colors, but I thought it could work by adding some red accents!

I love mixing patterns and textures when I’m dressing our family for photos and using a variety of colors!

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What do you think?! I think the colors turned out great and Aleksandra did an amazing job of capturing our little fam!

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For the actual cards themselves I tried a new company and went with Mix Book. I ordered them on a Thursday, chose standard shipping, and they arrived the following Monday. I was SUPER impressed with that turn around time.

Here they are!

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Check out our previous cards!

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Shop Small Blog Link Up { Accessories }

It’s no secret I LOVE shopping small. Handmade gifts are always the most unique and shopping from a small business owner allows me to have a more personal connection to the items I buy.

I posted last week my favorite apparel shops and today (Cyber Monday!) I’m sharing my favorite accessory shops!

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AK’s Hidden Gems has the most adorable and affordable necklaces and bracelets for your little fashionistas!

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Darling Delilah is one of my FAVORITE headband shops! Her items are so unique and she sells one headband for $5 every single Friday! How cool is that?

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Closet of HJK makes bows and bowties with a guaranteed 1 day turn around time! I love that I can order a bow and it can be used as a hair clip or a clip on tie!

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Bow Kay makes so many cute bows. I shop from her all the time. Recently she made this crown, though, and it is to die for!

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Have you been shopping small this season? Join the link up and share your favorites!

Minty Snaps Styled Shoot

Last weekend I had the pleasure of working this Eunice from Minty Snaps.

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We got together for a styled shoot. Eunice was looking for a whimsical look and inspired me to get Giada her very first floral crown.

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We met super early on a Sunday morning and searched downtown Birmingham for the perfect backdrops.

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It took a little bit for her to “warm” up….

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…but then Eunice got out some fake snow

…and Giada was her smiley, happy self!

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These pictures mean the world to me! I cannot wait until Giada grows up and looks back on these. They really capture her personality and her sweetness.

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Details on Giada’s Style:
Brown Dress: Adorable Essentials / Floral Crown: Bow Kay / Gold Dress: Borrowed from a friend (similar styles on Zulily) / Gold Headband: Darling Delilah

Want your own styled shoot? Minty Snaps is offering a 30 minute styled Free Session to one follower! Details will be on Facebook later today!

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All photos taken in Downtown Birmingham, MI by Minty Snaps

Shop Small Link Up Blog Link Up { Apparel }

 It’s no secret I LOVE shopping small. Handmade gifts are always the most unique and shopping from a small business owner allows me to have a more personal connection to the items I buy.

Now that the Holiday season is officially upon us Kelly from Happily Ever Mock and I decided to organize a link up of our favorite Small Shops! Why not shop small for Christmas this year? Better yet participate in Shop Small Saturday (11/28)!

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Join us by sharing your favorite small shops. Grab our image, link back to one of us, and add your post to the bottom!

I will be posting my favorite small shops in two separate segments; { Apparel } & { Accessories }

First up is Apparel!

Fresh Apparel has catchy slogan tees for the entire family! I’ve written about them several times because they just keep coming out with best stuff!  You can always use code “BESTDRESSEDBABES” for free shipping too!

Adorable Essentials is exactly what is says it is. Essential items for your little ones that are adorable without breaking the bank! Adorable Essentials carries a plethora of ruffle pants and tops that can be worn with your boutique clothing. A lot of times I will buy Matilda Jane tops and then pair them with the more affordable Adorable Essentials bottoms. This is a mom ran company with always provides FREE SHIPPING and has amazing customer service!

They also have some pretty amazing holiday dresses too!

Freshly Picked is by far the classiest company around. They always seem to amaze me with their generosity and kindness. They have grown over the past several years by leaps and bounds but still have the small shop feel. Every time I have ever hosted a giveaway with them I receive a hand written thank you in the mail. If you are looking for moccasins for your babes you really should support them!

Freshly Picked is hosting a HUGE Black Tuesday sale! Make sure to head there early!

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The mom behind Delaney’s Den is local to me, like 2 miles away local! She makes all kinds of custom clothing! I love her style and colors she chooses. We recently received this mustard colored dress and it is pretty amazing in real life!

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Anchors & Eyelets makes some pretty amazing boutique inspired dresses. She always combines the best fabrics to get a vintage feel that I absolutely adore!

 

Last but not least It’s So Me Boutique is a brick & mortar shop in downtown Utica with the largest collection of boutique clothes. I dare you to go in and not buy everything in sight! If you aren’t local to Michigan, they also went live with their website! Stop in their shop on Saturday or shop their site!

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Where will you be shopping this holiday season? I’d love to hear some of your recommendations.

Friday Favorites: November Edition

I’ve been slacking on posting my Friday Favorites so today I’m sharing ALLLLLL my favorites from November. I’m linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals!

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The first day of November started with one of my favorite things; clearance shopping the day after a holiday! I got Giada a ton of clearanced Halloween costumes that I plan to give her for Christmas as a dress-up trunk!

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Her and I got some use out of our matching Matilda Jane! I love that they make coordinating patterns for toddlers, big girls, and even tweens!

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I think the weather this November has been my favorite ever because it is so unexpected! We’ve seen sunshine and 70 degrees which is very uncommon in Michigan. The babes have been soaking up every last second of it because I know the white stuff is coming soon!

Getting gifts in the mail from your Aunt?! For sure a favorite of Giada’s! This sleeping bag and pillowcase from Land Of Nod is SO Giada and she loves watching Sofia from this cozy thing! I want one in my size please!

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Over the summer Mike and I traveled to California kid free. The entire trip was amazing and we spent an entire day in Napa touring different wineries. Our favorite one by far was Raymond Vineyards. We  loved it so much we joined a wine club! We get a hand-selected box of wine 4 times a year and we just got our newest shipment.  Hello wine night to us!!

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Throughout high school and college I always kept a paper planner. It was my go-to for keeping myself organized and (probably due to technology) I strayed away from keeping a paper planner.  Recently I decided I needed a new one and ordered this one from Plum Paper. It was everything I was looking for and more! Adding all the fun stickers is my favorite part!!!

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I’ve been committed to planning more nights out for hubs and I  I recently and chose Downtown Detroit for our latest adventure. Let me tell you this was just what we needed!  The city is making a comeback and the nightlife is perfect for any age. We met up with some friends, drank some swanky cocktails, and soaked up all that Detroit has to offer. The lights…the views.. the company… it was one of my favorite nights out.

A new photographer to the area contacted me to do a styled photo shoot of Giada. Eunice from Minty Snaps wanted to build her portfolio and I happily obliged.  She has twin boys of her own so she needed a little girl model. We met in downtown Birmingham on a very chilly (but sunny) Sunday.  I’m sure anyone who has dealt with a 2 year old knows they don’t just cooperate the first time you ask them to do something! So you can just imagine the amount of sugar, hot chocolate, and begging & pleading we had going on that day. But what really got Giada to cooperate was the fake snow Eunice had up her sleeve!  She finally opened up and was a total ham for the camera. The pics are TO DIE FOR and I cannot wait to share the rest with you later!

As November is drawing to an end I am so excited for my favorite holiday; Christmas!  Christmas decorations are popping up everywhere and I cannot wait for this special time with the kids! Partridge Creek is always decorated so nice! Giada and I swung by there last weekend after a baby shower and the trees were magical!

Have a Happy Friday! Stay tuned for A Shop Small link up I will be hosting tomorrow! I can’t wait to share all of these amazing small shops!

Sprouting Threads

Disclosure: This complimentary box was received for review purposes. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received.

Raise your hand if you are a busy mama?! I’m pretty sure that the word busy is synonymous with the word mom. In fact I don’t know a single mom that claims to have “spare” time. Being busy just goes with the territory I guess!

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That’s why I was so excited to learn about Sprouting Threads, a new solution to buying kid’s clothing. Sure it’s easy buying clothes when babes are young, but once they get older (and have an opinion of their own!) it gets much harder!

Ari is at an awkward size lately. He’s in between a 4 and a 5 and certainly has an opinion on the clothes he wears. Wrangling him into a fitting room to try on clothing while his sister runs amok isn’t exactly at the top of my todo list.

Sprouting Threads is the perfect solution to this! Similar to Stitch Fix for adults Sprouting Threadsis for kids ages 2-8 and allows you to try on hand selected clothing in the comfort of your own home. Keep what you like and send back what you don’t! Members are also given the option to “rethread” (or send pieces back after their child outgrows them) for store credit.  A $20 styling fee is refunded when keeping 2 or more new pieces. Prices vary depending on what is kept. Free shipping both ways.

The process was so simple. I filled out a style profile for Ari, added his stats, and then gave a little description of his clothing interests. You can select how often you want the clothes to arrive and how many outfits you want. They have 4 main style profiles; sporty, vintage, classic, and funky. We got an outfit from each category!

The box arrived super fast and everything was packaged so nice!

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Based on your needs you can receive clothing from 4 different categories; Sporty, Vintage, Classic, & Funky. We received an outfit from each category.

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Ari immediately wanted to try on his “Sporty” outfit because little man is all about being cozy. We got Go Gently pencil pants ($38) and a Wes & Willy Moose pullover hoodie ($38). This outfit was the perfect comfy outfit while still looking cool! Ari loved it!

The next outfit he tried on was his “Vintage” look. The shirt was a Wheat Is button down ($52) and Viera Rose suspender jeans ($56). I can’t tell you how much I adore these skinny jeans. They are just what I have been looking for for quite some time! They fit him perfect and I am SO glad these were picked out for him! I think these jeans were MY personal favorite item of the whole box!

Next he tried on his “Funky” outfit and I think he enjoyed this one the most!! The sweater/shirt from Mini Shatsu ($42) was made to look like a cardigan with a bow tie and the red Tooby skinny jeans ($42) were the perfect fit for him. He immediately told me he could wear these to preschool! Ari normally doesn’t like jeans if they fit too tight so I put that on his style profile. I also put that he was in between sizes and Sprouting Threads knew which pants to send in a 4 and which to send in a 5!

Last up he tried his “Classic” outfit. The Andy & Evan open check shirt ($39.90) was meant to be worn under the Andy & Evan bicycle sweater ($46) with the dark elastic waist Kitestrings jeans ($44). I didn’t think I would care much for the classic outfit but I was incredibly impressed with the fit! Ari LOVED the elastic waist jeans and kept them on the rest of the day! The leather elbow patches were just adorable too!

 The whole experience was very smooth and I really enjoyed seeing what someone else would pick for my son! With the holidays coming I thought how great this subscription would be as a gift!

You can opt for monthly or seasonal deliveries and can get between 2 and 5 outfits per delivery (your choice). Read more about the company here. If you want to give it a try go ahead and sign up here for your risk free box! The $20 styling fee will go towards any items you keep and now through December 15 you can save an additional 25% with the code BESTDRESSED25!

 

 

Fresh Apparel: Holiday Must Have!

 

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I’ve written about Fresh Apparel in the past… their products are amazing and their designs are always on point. Every item that I have received from them has gotten a lot of love! So it’s no surprise that I am obsessed with their Holiday lineup!

It’s not the holidays without a night spent watching Elf and when I saw this tee I just about died.

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The slogan was perfect and the fact that it was unisex was even better. Both my babes can rock this tee all season long. I call that a mom win!

The shirts are American Apparel raglans and are so soft. No complaints from the babes on texture and they wash well!

Head over to Fresh Apparel and browse the rest of their holiday line of tees and sweatshirts! There is something for everyone and you will NOT be disappointed with your purchase!

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal?! Hilarious. I cannot wait to rock this!

    As always use code “BESTDRESSEDBABES” at checkout for free shipping!

A Thankful Heart

 

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I decided to join some other bloggers today and share what I am currently thankful for. November is usually very busy in anticipation of the holiday season, but it’s important to take a step back and really appreciate everything you have.

My family has so much to be thankful for.

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Careers.

My husband and I both work in the insurance world. Our industry is fast paced, ever changing, and allows us to provide for our family. Not only do we work in the in same industry, we actually work  in the same office for a family owned company.  Getting to work with your spouse each day is pretty unique and I am truly thankful we have this! Lunch dates are so easy to orchestrate when you sit 20 feet from each other!

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Support.

I’ve said this a million times, but we are beyond blessed when it comes to raising our babes. Hubs and I live by the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard”. We both thrive on hosting parties and planning social engagements, but none of it would be possible without support in raising our kids. It truly takes a village. During the week the babes go to an in-home daycare and Ms Sylvia is a godsend to our family. Leaving my kids everyday isn’t so bad when I know they have someone there who loves them like her own. On the weekends they have grandparents who spoil them with their time, love, and patience. Watching their relationships evolve is one of my favorite things. Last but not least we have support from friends. Between my incredible neighbors and our close friends we always have someone to help in a pinch. Even if that means bringing a bottle of wine over for a last minute playdate! I don’t ever take the support we get for granted.

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Tradition.

I’m thankful for the value my husband has placed on tradition. There are certain things we do every year and it makes my heart so happy looking forward to them. This time of year is all about making memories and we have some pretty amazing traditions we get to share with our babes.

What about you? What are you thankful for right now?