Archive for February, 2013

February 21, 2013

NEVER GIVE UP

My progress each year

My progress each year and still going!

Hi everyone!

My name is Jen and this is why I am a Healthy Housewife:

I had a beautiful baby girl in November 2011, however, I put on a lot of weight throughout my pregnancy to the tune of 14 stone!! I did not know where to start to even attempt getting the weight back off, I then discovered HIIT training and was introduced to weight training too.  I did 15 minute HIIT workouts everyday of my maternity leave and completely overhauled my diet, I started lifting weights twice a week as well, it took me a year to get back to where I wanted to be but I learned sooo much along the way that I want to share with everybody.

Crreating a vision board helps me with my progress

Crreating a vision board helps me with my progress

I am now back at my pre pregnancy weight and want to share everything I learned with as many people as possible, especially new mums! I post new daily workouts to my site everyday specifically designed to help tone and lose weight without spending hours in the gym, the workouts are 15 mins long and you can do them at home!! I hope my site helps as many people as possible reach their goals! I sent my pictures in to bodyrock tv not so long back and they made ‘bodyrocker of the day’ I was so chuffed, my message to everyone is no matter how bad you think things are NEVER GIVE UP! everyone can get fit!

Attached is the you tube link to my weight loss journey video! Thank you sooooo much for your support!https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=whtUC8ookXI

So proud of how far I have come! NEVER GIVE UP!

So proud of how far I have come! NEVER GIVE UP!

You can follow my health & fitness journey at: https://www.facebook.com/TotallyLeanFitness1

If I can do it, so can you! Thanks for reading my blog!

Jen

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February 20, 2013

I LOST 75 LBS. IN 8 MONTHS!

11 months into my journey

11 months into my journey I changed my life

Hello there! I have been a Healthy Housewives follower for sometime now and want to share my story so that you know that you are not alone.

I have been through so much in 2012. There was a time in my life that I was unhappy, unhealthy and depressed. At the time I was working around the clock and raising two kids by myself. My life was a roller-coaster. I ate junk food everyday and ordered McDonald’s breakfast every morning on my way to work. After a long days work, I would come home and drink wine every night to relax and wind down! I was so depressed. I would conceal it with a smile, but deep down inside I was so ashamed of myself. How could I let myself go? I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror anymore. I would take pictures of myself and crop out my body.. Humiliating, I was so embarrassed! I wouldn’t go anywhere for the fear of some on recognizing me and the weight I had put on. I had to do something, I had to change my life or I would die, I was already dying inside!

What got me started on my journey was seeing the results of a co-worker. She was on this crazy (Ideal Protein) diet. She lost a remarkable amount of weight in one month, I think it was like 20lbs or close to that number. I was blown away, needless to say I had to start the diet too! The diet restricted alot of GOOD food and number of calories. I think the limit was 500 calories a day. That is CRAZY! I was starving my body, no wonder I was losing the weight fast and (Unhealthy) might I add that too! The minute I would eat something that wasn’t on the diet menu, I would regain all the weight! It was terrible! All that hardwork and dedication all went down the drain! LOL! Then I started doing my research on what way is the best and healthiest way to lose weight. Eating clean (Food without and preservatives and additives) and  exercising!

I started walking 3 miles a day on my lunch break at work. It would take me a whole hour just to walk 3 miles. I was so out of shape, I remember thinking to myself, “I am only walking and I am so winded.” It was a terrible feeling. I didn’t let that stop me though, I wanted to beat my time every day. So everyday  I would walk a little bit faster and a little bit faster. During a session of my speed walking, Mother Nature decided to bestow her mighty winds and nasty storm weather upon me. I didn’t let that stop me either, I decided to join Anytime Fitness and I fell in love with the staff and facility! They made me feel so welcomed and the members that attended the gym were regulars. I turned myself into a regular. I would always workout on my lunch break and after work some days I would go back to the gym for another session of cardio, strength, or a class.

I was falling in-love with myself all over again. The praises, compliments and accomplishments was keeping me motivated. I was able to put on clothes that I couldn’t fit in before! WOWSERS, what an amazing feeling! I would wake up early in the morning an try on jeans that had been stashed in my closet for years. Tried the jeans on and it would fit, I would dance around the room like a MAD woman! “Giggles!” Did I fall off the wagon and cheat and eat unclean sometime? Yes, it happens. We are only human. “Dust yourself off and get back up again,” is what my Grandmother always told me.

If I can do it, so can you! You can follow me and check my progress at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Healthy-Housewives/221907394505946?sk=messages_inbox&action=read&tid=id.488832194511873#!/fitsquadNOLA

Thank you for reading my blog!

Martini

 

February 20, 2013

CHARACTER BUILDING

Powerful words to encourage a HEALTHY lifestyle!

Powerful words to encourage a HEALTHY lifestyle!

Hey Everyone!

It’s your Feb 2013 HH of the month Lacey Pruett!

This weekend, I participated in a leadership conference for a nutritional supplement company but left with much more than renewed leadership skills. Little did I know that by surrounding myself with like-minded people, discussing something we are all passionate about, would lead me to tears. The key-note speaker was former President George W. Bush. No matter your political affiliation, it’s pretty cool to listen to a former leader of America. What does he have to contribute to an arena filled with nutritional supplement advisors? Character building during tough times and strategic decision making.

Former President George W. Bush speaking at the conference

Former President George W. Bush

It’s seems that everyone in America wants to be healthy, fit, and improve their life in some way. People spend hours researching the latest diet fads promising pounds that melt away, purchasing latest energy drink promising superstar powers, and coercing prescriptions from their doctors that promise effortless weight loss success and anxiety elimination. Despite the adverse affects to their bodies, people want quick results with minimal investment. Even better–no exercise necessary is ideal. America doesn’t have time to workout. Nor do we care to prepare appropriately nourishing meals. This is why obesity–even worse, childhood obesity–is on the rise in our country. Kudos to our current First Lady for her efforts with the Let’s Move! program. We need to do more to grow awareness that fitness is fun! This is why I love the Healthy Housewives–I support ambassadors for healthy living, and in my opinion, we need more.

First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign Let's Move!

First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign Let’s Move!

So when George W. Bush commented about the reaction of the American people when he had to make some difficult decisions, it made me sad. We never know where a person is coming from, and seldom do we have the entire story. Yet we are quick to judge, quick to criticize, and quick to turn negative against something or someone. When he counseled us to know what we believe in and what our core values are and to never waiver, I teared up again. I recalled several situations as I began working in the fitness and wellness industry where my core values were tested and judgement almost shook me off balance. People are quick to criticize things they fear, and I think new routines, new diets, new goals are scary changes for some people, and some cope by finding reasons to not get healthier. When I was tested, I ran hard to those in my life whom I trusted and who served as personal advisors to me. Thankfully, I got back on track quickly because fitness enthusiasts have lots of work to do.

Figuring out where to start can be hard.

Figuring out where to start can be hard.

Convincing others that in order to become a better person, spouse, sibling, parent, employee, one needs to prioritize their health and wellness is no easy task. People are quick with excuses and despair. I teared up again as the former President spoke about how our nation must do a better job with identifying and treating mental illnesses. Our nation is grief-stricken by citizens under the influence of drugs (over-the-counter, legal, and illegal) and alcohol taking innocent lives, hurting others, or hindering their own well-being. Mental wellness needs to be a part of overall wellness efforts. You read correctly! Not only am I going to encourage you to exercise, nourish yourself appropriately, and include high-quality supplements into your daily regime, but I want you to find time for daily (mini, if need be) retreats to clear your mind, de-stress, and center yourself on peace and clarity. Go for a walk; hide in a quiet room, closet, or other area for a few minutes; take a drive and listen to calming music; even better, stare out a window in silence and absorb the beauty around us. Somedays all you have is five minutes at a time, but perhaps other days you can practice yoga, swimming, or other calming activities. I wonder how different society would be if we all meditated regularly.

People ask me why I spend the money and time to supplement, eat, and exercise the way I do. It’s so I don’t have to spend the money later on doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medication, and surgeries. Our bodies are magical machines when given proper care and concern. The truth is, it only takes a small amount of time and energy each day to maintain proper health. Subtle changes lead to great successes! If you care for your body, it’ll perform optimally for longer periods of time. Who doesn’t want to look, feel, and perform optimally? At under $5 a day, I’m able to ensure the highest quality nutrition for my body. With an hour of activity time six days a week, I maintain a fit and fun lifestyle. Investing in and prioritizing my health and wellness is one of my core values, and I’ll take former President Bush’s advice and never stray, apologize, or make excuses for it–even when I’m criticized.

Thanks for reading my blog,
Lacey Pruett

http://www.facebook.com/MrsTXUS2012
http://www.laceypruett.com

February 19, 2013

Snack Time!

hummus and veggies

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Let’s talk about something fun . . . snacks! Now, before we go too far, let’s demystify something. Food and nutrition can be loaded topics—some people have a great relationship with food, while others may think of eating as a confusing, guilt-ridden, boring, or necessary evil. Then we throw in snacks, and craziness breaks out! Snacks are often given a bad rap, mainly because many people choose munchies that are WAAAAY too full of calories, sugar, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Think of those tasty treats in vending machines and gas stations (not to mention your local grocery store, Aisle 17). We’ve all been there. I’m not proud of how much I love the taste of a kosher dill potato chip, but hey, I’m human. I avoid the siren song of this devilish dill delight because I know better—and my body deserves better, as does yours. Snacks will save your rear, in more ways than one.

apple hearts

Healthy gals and guys know one of the most important ways to reach their fitness goals is to eat 5-6 small meals a day, including snacks. Your body is an amazing machine, and it needs to burn quality fuel regularly throughout the day to keep you going strong. If you start thinking of food as fuel instead of something you have to deal with just to survive, your world will be rocked and you’ll become your body’s most powerful ally. Think of your nutrition schedule like this:

Meal 1: Breakfast

Meal 2: Mid-morning snack

Meal 3: Lunch

Meal 4: Mid-afternoon snack (or pre-workout snack)

Meal 5: Dinner (or post-workout snack)

Meal 6: Snack (or dinner)

Notice how you can incorporate pre- and post-workout snacks into your daily plan. You can also shift this structure to the morning if you like your workouts early. To keep your fire burning bright, eat every 2.5-3 hours. For your snacks, try to shoot for at least 10 grams of protein and 25-35 grams of carbohydrates by including 1 or 2 complex carbs (whole grains, veggies, most fruits, beans, brown rice, or oatmeal) and a little healthy fat (nuts, seeds, almond butter, low-fat dairy, or avocado). High-quality protein, carbs, and fats are going to keep you feeling satisfied and give you energy.

Nutritious Nibbles

  • 1 c. raspberries with ½ c. Greek yogurt
  • 1 small apple with 1 Tbsp almond or peanut butter
  • ½ c. cottage cheese with ½ c. mixed berries
  • 1 or 2 eggs (hard-boiled) with 2 whole-grain flatbreads
  • 2 Tbsp almond or peanut butter spread on 2-4 celery sticks
  • 6 carrot sticks with 1 low-fat mozzarella string cheese
  • 4 natural whole-wheat honey graham crackers with 10 red or green grapes
  • 1 c. low-fat milk (or almond milk) with 1 scoop chocolate (or other flavor) protein powder (can be whey or plant-based protein powder), along with a banana
  • Quick Basic Smoothie: 1 c. low-fat milk (or almond milk) with ¼ c. frozen or fresh berries with ½ fresh or frozen banana (Hint: Frozen fruit makes the smoothie thick and icy!)
  • 3 c. air-popped (or unsalted and unbuttered!) popcorn drizzled with 2 tsp flaxseed oil, 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, and dash of cayenne pepper, along with 1 apple
  • 6-10 veggie pieces: celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zucchini, or yellow squash dipped in 2 Tbsp hummus or low-fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Homemade Trail Mix: 2 Tbsp dried fruit, 1 Tbsp sunflower kernels or pumpkin seeds, 1 Tbsp unsalted nuts, and a pinch of unsweetened coconut flakes

If you need a basic snack, an apple and some nuts or maybe even a protein shake and a banana are great options. However, if you are headed to the gym, be sure to grab something rich in slow-burning carbs and lean protein (like oatmeal and scrambled egg whites) to fuel your efforts. Here’s one of my favorite recipes that I love to fix before working out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Yum!

Yum!

Banana Blueberry Power Snack

  • 1 whole-wheat English muffin
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • ½ banana
  • Small handful of blueberries
  • ½-1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Small drizzle of honey

Toast both halves of the English muffin. Spread 1 Tbsp almond butter on each half of the muffin. Slice the banana into small slices, and then arrange the slices flat on each half. Place the blueberries around and in between banana slices (the berries tend to roll off—trust me!). Sprinkle ground flaxseed across each muffin half, and then drizzle each half with a little honey. Yum!!

************

Keep fueling that beautiful body of yours, and have a super week!

~Brooke

February 19, 2013

Bad words….

Bianca asked me the other day, “Mommy, when will I be old enough to say bad words?”…of course my reaction was, “NEVER!”…LOL….and then my sweet little Bianca said, “well sissy says S-up, and upid”…which is code word for shut up and stupid…both “bad words” in our house. 

But it got me to thinking…at what age do we really start to be come less conscious of our word choices. I am not an avid cusser (sorry if that is not a real word), and I certainly try not to drop a bomb in front of my children or mixed company, however, I am not going to lie and say that I do not curse. I do. And when I do, I typically don’t feel any judgment or value associated with it. When did that happen though?

So, my question is, how do you handle cursing in your household and what do you consider a bad word? Here are a few of my thoughts. 

1. in our house we have words that are bad…beyond the obvious, such as stupid and shut up. 

2. there are words that are completely unacceptable in our house like retarded, dumb, idiot, moron…anything that basically is hurtful to another person and their intelligence

3. while its not always right, we kind of follow the do as I say not as I do principle on this one…meaning there will be times where we get angry or upset and slip..and its important for our children to understand that does not give them an automatic hall pass to use inappropriate words. 

4. have an open and honest relationship with your children so they can come to you openly when they have questions about words they have heard at school, on the radio, on tv etc. Because we live in a world where its normal to hear inappropriate language and I feel if your kids hear it , but can talk to you about it, then they most likely won’t use it. 

 

The more we can arm our vocabulary with positive words, the less bad words we have to use, and in turn our children will use. No need for washing the mouth out with the proverbial soap!

Image

February 14, 2013

Make your Valentines Day Sexy and Healthy! And Fun for the kids too!

d91b04e2a0779ba693098bbb03572a7bValentine’s Day is here! For most of us, it’s the same every year! Lots of thought and time goes into planning a romantic dinner out.  Reservations must be made well in advance and most restaurants hike up their prices and serve you what they bought on special! They get to serve you a very expensive (not always healthy) 3 course dinner with wine and dessert.  It always sounds so good in theory but at the end of the evening what are you left with? I’ll tell you…a very full tummy, a wallet with a big dent and the only thoughts in your head are going to bed and I mean sleep. 

I’m not saying you can’t have a special evening but maybe you can celebrate Valentines Day in and bring the romance home.

Dinner In.

80e51716eca565b5e1976571f515f0ef

So skip the reservation, stay home and make dinner a romantic event! Turn off the TV, listen to your favorite music, have a glass of wine or make a special valentine cocktail with fresh fruit juice.  Then cook as a couple. Prepare a big healthy salad with lots of vegetables, homemade veggie pizza or even something quick and light on the grill. Don’t kill yourself on a meal with tons of preparation.  This should be fun, easy and sexy!

Dessert

images

Now, the good stuff.  After a light healthy meal with great company its time for some healthy chocolate indulgence!

Guiltless Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

Cooking spray (make your own)

6 ounces 70% dark chocolate
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
3 egg whites

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place 8 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups on a large baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Combine chocolate, orange zest and vanilla extract in a medium bowl over hot boiling water. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
  4. Puree bananas, sweet potato and honey until smooth.
  5. Remove the melted chocolate from heat and fold over banana puree and 1 whole egg. Mix well
  6. Whip the egg whites until soft peak
  7. Slowly fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
  8. Spoon mix into ramekins, filling them almost to the top.

Bake for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, remove and serve. Warm center of the chocolate should be soft.

 Cooking Spray Ingredients

  1. 1 part olive oil (or your choice of oil)
  2. 5 parts distilled/filtered water
  3. 1 misting  spray bottle

Instructions

Mix in your spray bottle 1 part oil to 5 parts water. Shake well and store in a cool dark place.

Roses

We all love roses.  They are beautiful and I love them but during Valentines they are super expensive or very cheap and don’t last very long either way. Rather than giving or expecting roses suggest an alternative, such as a fresh herb plant that smells great and can be used in cooking or a lovely houseplant to purify the air in your home.  Here is a great suggestion that involves rose, kids and a craft. That’s a Valentine Trifecta! Every child loves crafts and parents and grandparents love items made by their little ones.  Sit down and make these rose cards together!

DSC_5451

Fun for the kids – Rose Cards craft

  1. 1 stalk celery
  2. Red and green tempera paint
  3. Blank note cards

Cut celery down to the bottom of stalk, dilute red tempera paint with a bit of water, put onto paper plate, dip celery in paint, and press onto a paper note card, leaving a rose shape!

Make sure you apply even pressure when you press down on the celery. Add glitter, green leaves and write a Valentine message such as “Be Mine” on the outside of the card. The inside is left blank for sweet love notes for friends and family from your child.

Kids Non-Candy Treats

No_Candy_Valentines

There are healthier ways to say I love you, than loading our kids up on the heart shaped boxes of candy from the grocery store.  Here are several cute alternatives I found on Pinterest.

(1) Bouncy Ball Valentine by The Crafting Chicks

(2) Free Printable Valentine’s Bookmarks by Summit Avenue Design
(3) Ruler Valentine by Thompson & Spring
(4) Silly Straw Valentines by Plucky Momo
(5) Glow Stick Bracelet by Kommuicated
(6) Love Bug Valentines by Dandee
(7) Pencil Valentines by Write with Moxie
(8) Play-Doh Valentines by Paging Supermom
(9) Race Car Valentines by Paper and Pip
(10) Magnifying Glass Valentines by Dandee
(11) Recycled Heart Crayons by The Long Thread
(12) Super Star Glasses by Plucky Momo

Whatever you do, I hope you all have a very Happy Valentines Day! Kathy, Fit Fashionista

February 13, 2013

A Healthier Spin on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's day!

Happy Valentine’s day

Happy Love Week, everyone! Depending on where you are in life, your relationship status, and your admiration or abhorrent opinions of “Hallmark holidays,” you either just rolled your eyes at me or smiled. As this month’s Healthy Housewives cover model, I want to chat a bit about how to use this week to your advantage, by sharing love with others and yourself in a healthy way.

I’m not sure why Valentine’s Day gives everyone permission to push health by the way side and go out for too much wine and too much dine. When I asked a few men what their plans were for the big day, I heard dinner reservations, mounds of chocolate, and pastry breakfasts among the surprises for the ladies in their lives. I sat quietly as most boastfully shared their delicious displays of affection with me, followed quickly by sarcastic comments about the cost and stupidity of such a day. Interestingly enough, I had a difficult time finding ladies who already planned out what they were doing for the men in their lives. Ladies, let’s not drop the ball here! Nowhere does it say that man is in charge of celebrating Valentine’s Day, and women are to always be the recipient of delicious fare as a sign of affection. What a great way to surprise the man in your life and take the pressure off that’s historically been placed on him. I have a feeling you’ll win in the long run.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, below are some healthier suggestions and ideas to show your special Valentine that you appreciate them, with the added bonus of celebrating their health goals, too.  Feel free to add one or two (or all) of these to your game plan for February 14. Oh, and I am speaking to both men and women with these suggestions!

Couples that run together stay together!

Couples that run together stay together!

  1. Plan a morning run or morning workout together. Nothing says, “I think you’re swell” by meeting for a sweat together. Let’s face it, nothing is sexier than sweat, and since we all look like Greek Gods/Goddesses when we are sweating, this could lead to more fun.
  2. Prepare or purchase a healthy breakfast to show that you appreciate the person’s commitment to their own health and wellness. Plus, you’ll get to benefit from a nourishing meal to start your day of love.

    Food shaped in a heart makes your loved one smile!

    Food shaped in a heart makes your loved one smile!

  3. Create something by hand—a card, poem, drawing. If you have to send it electronically, scan your creation to the person, so they can see the personal touches and time spent on the work of art. Giving your time and energy to such a gift will leave the other person feeling loved and appreciated.
  4. Do both of you love music? Log into your iTunes account and make your Valentine a playlist with songs that fit your relationship. This no calorie option could lead to an invitation to work out together, and you know what that could lead to… endorphins!
  5. Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Get your Valentine moving by placing small clues and/or surprises at various places you’ll know they’ll be throughout the day… Make them find a flight of stairs to walk up before opening a clue; the next clue has to be opened while walking; the next clue is at their gym’s check-in counter (make sure you know schedules first); the final clue has dinner plans attached or is stuck to a movie for movie night. Be creative and personalize this activity.

    Create a Valentine's scavenger hunt!

    Create a Valentine’s scavenger hunt!

  6. Infuse a few bottles of water for their day with strawberries, cucumbers, blueberries, or any other favorite fruit. As they hydrate throughout the day, you will be thought of… and so will your thoughtfulness.
  7. Send your Valentine out the door with a Salad in a Jar. This clever, homemade lunch is healthy and personalized with the person’s favorite salad ingredients. Start with a basic mason jar, pour the dressing on the bottom (a little goes a long way) then put other (heavier) veggies, nuts/seeds, then place spinach on top of them, and for some sweetness, maybe a few strawberry slices or blueberries. A nice note attached to the lid is a sweet addition.

    Salad in a jar is a fun concept!

    Salad in a jar is a fun concept!

  8. Is your Valentine a child? Start them out right with nourishing habits and make heart-shaped banana pancakes or strawberry (pink) French toast. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to send them away with a sandwich that’ll remind them they are loved. Better yet, hide a few heart-shaped dark chocolates in a baggie of granola for a snack. Of course, decorate the bag.
  9. If your valentine is far away, and the use of technology is inevitable, make it good. Set up a dinner date via Skype, and see who crafted the healthiest Valentine’s dinner. Whoever wins can receive a prize… hopefully in person at a later date.
  10. Finally one of my favorites… forgo dinner altogether for some time together at the spa. Part of health and wellness is rest and relaxation, so don’t under-estimate how much your Valentine will appreciate the opportunity to do absolutely nothing, compliments of you.

Finally, remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t just a day to show someone else love. Perhaps this is your year to share some healthy love with YOU. Plus, treating yourself on Valentine’s Day ensures a great story when someone asks what your Valentine gave you this year. Here’s wishing all of you great health this Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy the precious time you have with a loved one!

Enjoy the precious time you have with a loved one!

Thanks for reading my blog,

Lacey Pruett

https://www.facebook.com/FitandFunLifestyle?fref=ts

https://www.advocare.com/11065258/default.aspx

February 12, 2013

An early delivery….

If you are reading this on the day it was posted, then today is February 12, 2013. Exactly 7 years ago today I was blessed with my second daughter, Bianca Elle. She was born at 6:10 am weighed in at 6lb 2 oz. She was perfect. I can remember holding for a quick second while the nurse snapped a picture and whisked her away. I thought to myself, wow, this is new since my last child. What I didn’t realize is that they were giving me the picture because they were not allowing her to stay with me. Bianca, while a healthy weight, and breathing on her own, and seemingly perfect, was born 6 weeks early. Let me take you back….

Before I got pregnant with Bianca I had gone for my yearly check-up and the doctor discovered some pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. We did a procedure called a LEEP, which removed the part of the cervix that was affected. When I became pregnant with Bianca, the doctor told me that this could cause me to have a condition called an incompetent cervix. He said I could go about my pregnancy as normal, but when I reached 16 weeks, they would start to do transvaginal ultrasounds every two weeks to monitor the length of my cervix. If it shortened each week, and reached a certain number, I would have to go on bed rest. I thought to myself, no way that will happen. At the time I was still an elementary school teacher and I bartended one day a week. But, as the story goes, I indeed did have to go on bedrest from month 5 of my pregnancy on. It was tough…I had all these grand plans of writing books, scrapbooking, showering…lol…but mostly I watched television and tried to not worry about my butt growing larger and larger. One night , February 9th, I woke up in the middle of the night to wet pants. I thought, geez Danielle, did you really just pee on yourself. But, as I examined closer I realized that it was clear and odorless. In a panic we called the doctor and he informed me to go directly to the hospital as it seemed my water was leaking. Oh no! Please no. Its too early..my baby wasn’t ready yet. The doctors decided to hold my labor off some…they gave me steroids to strengthen Bianca’s lungs, and then induced me on February 12th at midnight. 6 hours and a few pushes later, there she was. Perfectly healthy and a really great weight. They said at that rate she could have been 11 lbs had I gone full term (my theory is that she was just crowded in my belly, because I am a pretty small person, and decided it was time to come out). They took her to the NICU and for the first time in my life my heart was completely broken. Matter of fact, as I write this, I am overwhelmed with the memory of that feeling. To all you mothers out there who did not go home with your baby right away, or ever for that matter, my heart hurts for you. Because Adrianna was 4 at the time, I knew I had to go home. I asked to be released the very next morning, which they agreed to. I saw a lactation specialist and pumped and pumped and pumped in hopes of producing enough milk to bring back up to the hospital each day. I called the nurse every hour, and she was happy to talk to me and tell me how Bianca was doing. I would drop Adrianna off at daycare in the morning and sit with my Bianca all day until it was time to pick Adrianna back up. I would just hold her against my skin and when it was time to go, I would cry and cry until I had no tears left. She was only in the NICU for a week, but that week seemed like an eternity.

But here we are, 7 years later! Bee is such a unique kid. She loves Harry Potter, and dinosaurs, and garage sales. She has never a met a paper clip or a piece of paper that she didn’t want to put up for safe keeping. She plays volleyball, loves animals, and makes my heart melt with every smile and funny joke she makes.

Happy Birthday Bianca Elle Hinson! Image

February 12, 2013

Love on the Run

hearts

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Valentine’s Day is growing closer—will you be ready? By that I mean have you been treating yourself with loving kindness? Or have you been running yourself ragged moving at Mach 10, desperately hoping you don’t fall apart before you finish all the things that MUST BE DONE? I have absolutely no idea what that feels like—ha! With this craziness in mind, I’d like to share several of my favorite tricks on how to relax when your time is tight. As with any healthy relationship, not every caring gesture has to be grand. Little things can be profoundly powerful, as you will see.

breathe rock

Deep Breathing: You’d think we’d know how to breathe correctly, seeing as how we’ve been doing it all our lives. But we would be wrong. Most of us breathe shallowly from our chest, our shoulders naturally rising on every intake of breath. Yes, this gets the job done, but at a cost. We form the habit of shallow breathing and the muscles we use to do this (chest, shoulders, neck, and back) compensate by becoming stiff and tight. When we are stressed or worried, especially over a period of time, our body’s stress response causes us to take short, small breaths, which then causes our shoulders to creep upward toward our ears, when then causes those shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles to tighten up. Before we know it, we feel breathless and trapped, with burning, aching muscles and a raging tension headache. No, no. This won’t do!

Try It!

Start by putting your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Now, breathe in like you normally do (using your mouth or your nose), with your chest rising below your left hand. That should feel natural to you. Now, breathe in through your nose while expanding your belly below your right hand. Do you feel the difference? Try it again, noticing the way your breath slows down as you inhale through your nose and the larger capacity your “belly,” or diaphragm, has for expanding. This is called deep breathing, or belly breathing. This action floods your cells with oxygen, clearing up your muddled mind, and slows your heartbeat, lowering your blood pressure. Take another deep, slow breath in through your nose, expanding your belly, and then breathe out from your mouth. Do this 3-5 times.

love hand

Healing Touch: It’s nice to have a great massage therapist on your speed dial, but escaping to her quiet studio for an hour is not always possible. Luckily, you can enjoy the healing power of touch given by your own two hands.

Try It!

First, find a calm place. Then as you look at your hands, set your intention to spread healing through your touch. This doesn’t have to be weird or woo-woo. Just notice the warmth and strength of your hands as you work. Starting at your left hand, use your right hand to firmly squeeze the muscles of your left palm and fingers. Then let go and move up your wrist an inch, then squeeze again. Let go and inch your way up your arm the same way, firmly squeezing then moving up, all the way to where your shoulder meets your neck. Then switch hands, and work your way from your right wrist up to the top of your right shoulder. Gently place the palms of both hands on either side of your neck, resting your fingers around the back of your neck (but don’t squeeze!). Just rest your hands gently around your neck for 10 seconds.

occipital massage

If you have a tension headache, this is your go-to move: Take your palms and place them gently over your ears, then spread your fingers out. Your thumbs should be almost touching along the bony ridge on the back of your head. Now take your thumbs and move them outward along that ridge to the bony edge half an inch behind your ears. If you feel softness and not bone, keep moving away from your ear until you feel the bony ridge of the base of your skull. Hook your thumbs underneath that bony ridge and press upward firmly (according to your comfort level) and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then move each thumb half an inch toward the middle of the back of your head and press upward again and hold. Do this until your thumbs meet in the middle.

Now, press the heels of your hands into your scalp, moving around your head after each squeeze. Take your fingertips, and carefully press your temples (or rub in circles). You may want to wash your hands for this next part if your skin is prone to breakouts. Your face is delicate, so you will use just your fingertips now. Start at the middle of your chin and gently squeeze your skin along your jawbone between your thumb and first two fingers, working out toward your ears. Then, come back to the center and while keeping your mouth relaxed, squeeze your lips between your fingertips—it’s probably best that you do this move looking away from other people (or toward a mirror if you need a laugh!). Now, starting at the crease where your cheeks meet your nose, gently press two or three fingertips in place along your cheekbone, working in little increments toward your ear. Then come back to the center, and with one or two fingertips, do the same gentle press along the lower orbital bone (below your eye), working outward and around the entire bone (above your eyes). For an instant stress reliever: Starting at the inner edge of each eyebrow, squeeze and hold the eyebrow between your thumb and forefinger for 8-10 seconds. Then work your way outward, squeezing the eyebrow as you go.

lavendar bushes

Soothing Scents: Depending on your mood, you may lean toward calming scents or revitalizing ones. There are so many lovely possibilities when aromatherapy is involved, but we’ll explore just a few. If you are in need of peace and relaxation, try lavender or eucalyptus essential oils. These scents are classic choices for all manner of calming rest. If you need a little boost, peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen are excellent choices. Another category of invigorating scents are the evergreens—cedar, spruce, and pine. You can find these essential oils in grocery stores, online, or my favorite massage supply store—Body Logic (www.ebodylogic.com) for $4-$15. These oils are very powerful, so if you want to use them on your skin, be sure to dilute them by adding them to a safe carrier oil or unscented lotion. You can also use these oils by making “smelling salts”—put ½ teaspoon of kosher salt into a little glass vial and then add 5 drops of your favorite scent and cover tightly. Anytime you need a whiff, just open the vial for a portable pick-me-up. You can also add a few drops of oil to a tissue or paper towel tucked nearby and enjoy. And if you don’t have oil, a nice fragrant (unused) tea bag unwrapped on your desk can transport you in no time flat (my favorite for tea-bag aromatherapy is Tazo tea in Earl Grey).

For Valentine’s Day and every day, may you find a few stolen moments to treat yourself to some TLC. Goodness knows we all need it!

XO, Brooke

February 11, 2013

Why your Skin Needs a Workout.

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At my skincare practice, The Skin Studio, one of the lines I carry is Rhonda Allison. Their professional products offer the purest, quality skin nutrition for daily home use and the most effective, safe, result oriented professional treatments available. Always looking to nature for inspiration, Rhonda blends the best of active natural ingredients with highly beneficial, scientifically developed compound to create a synergy of superior professional treatments and customized home care products that will transform the condition of your skin. “No Animal Testing only Human Testing.” The Rhonda Allison Company and its affiliates are environmentally aware of the planet and endeavor to GO GREEN whenever possible.
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I’m so excited to announce the new 2013 Signature Facial!
Here’s all,the juicy details as explained by Rhonda Allison herself.

For 2013 we’re focusing on exfoliation and infusion – exfoliating dead layers and infusing the skin with the antioxidants – with our signature facial aptly named Antiox Ex-Fusion. This treatment begins with the Liquid Enzyme Peel, a very unique exfoliant that combines an enzyme (papain) with low-strength acids in a liquid delivery. This is a fast-acting formula that works to dissolve and exfoliate keratin, yet does not require heat to do so. Upon removal skin is stimulated, and much smoother and polished.
Exfoliation is taken a step further with the Derma Peel, which when applied goes through changes with the skin as it works. Initially it starts as a gel, becomes liquefied, then forms a bond with the keratin to create a mild granular exfoliation.
To nourish the skin, L-ascrobic acid in the C-Peptide Complex strengthens, rebuilds and protects the skin. Antioxidants from grape seed extract, resveratrol, vitamin E, and omega-6 EFAs further support the regeneration process.
Skin will glow and feel instantly firmer with the potent dose of peptides and antioxidants that work to tone the skin and provide relief from free-radical damage. The blend of exfoliating, peptide and antioxidant ingredients along with the heating (warm compress) and cooling (Ice Globe facial massage) create the perfect facial workout.
Continuing the care at home
To keep clients on track with their new skin fitness program, send them home with a good cleanser, antioxidant and nutrient-rich serums, and a good protection formula. This might include:
Pumpkin Cleanser – antioxidant nutrition boosted with L-lactic acid
C-Peptide Complex – a powerful blend of L-ascorbic and collagen-building peptides
Antioxidant Complex Serum – firming, toning, moisture-binding, and antioxidant support
Growth Factor Serum Plus – enhances regeneration, healing and hydration
Eye Revitalizer – brightens, tightens and hydrates the eyes with beneficial peptides and nourishing ingredients
eZinc Protection Cream – zinc oxide, red algae, white ginger and green tea provide antioxidant support, hydration, UV protection and healing benefits
Grape Seed Parfait Mask – this can be used once per week with the Grape Seed Hydrating Serum to infuse the skin with resveratrol and vitamin E to tone and soothe the skin.

Experience all this and more. Visit theskinstudioonline.com for details and to book your appointment online.
Cheers!
Shelly Mac Klein