Good evening, my friends! I am so so sorry that I have not been on here in so long. Things have been super crazy starting a new, full-time job, along with juggling my personal business, and most importantly, my family. I’ve been meaning to write a review of Honest Company products for such a long time, and it just hasn’t happened. I have to tell you that I have not been paid, or gotten any freebies in exchange for this review, however, the link below is an affiliate link. That fact does not, in any way, affect what I am about to tell you though.
I first heard about Honest Company from a friend while I was pregnant with my son. I loved that their diapers were eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and made with “naturally derived, plant-based, and sustainable materials”. When my son was about 6 months old, and we had gone through most of the diapers from our baby shower, I decided to check them out. I was pleased to find out that I could get a 7-day trial of the diapers and wipes, for FREE! *Side note: they do require you to put in your credit card info, so that if you do not cancel your trial (I think within 10 days of arrival??), the will charge you and begin your monthly subscription.
Photo courtesy of www.honest.com
When the trial pack came, I was so excited to see such adorable prints on the diapers. I had never seen “cute” diapers, but these sure were! I am also VERY picky about wipes, so I was a little concerned about whether these would measure up to my standards. I was pleasantly surprised by the wipes though! Long story short, we chose not to cancel the subscription, and began getting a box full of diapers and wipes (6 sleeves of diapers, 4 packs of wipes) every 4-6 weeks. One of the things I really like about them is that you can choose either a 4 or 6 week auto-shipment, and can update your ship date, and diaper designs, as needed at anytime before the bundle ships.
The other great thing about Honest Company is their customer service. It is phenomenal! I have never felt so respected, and seen a company go out of their way to help me out. A few months ago, we decided we wanted to start potty training, but they had just shipped a new shipment of diapers. They were nice enough to exchange the diapers for training pants at no charge to us, they just emailed me a return address label and shipped the training pants the next day. When the training pants came though, they were actually too big for my skinny mini, so we kept the one sleeve that we had opened, and returned the rest with the shipping label, and kept the original diapers that had arrived the previous day.
Photo courtesy of www.honest.com
As for the diapers themselves, they are great too! They are extremely absorbent, and I don’t think we’ve EVER had a leak, which is saying something! Even overnight, we never had to worry about him leaking out of his diaper. The wipes have a very mild scent, and only use natural ingredients for the fragrance. They are biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and use medical-grade cloth. They are strong enough to clean a dirty booty, but gentle enough to wipe a dirty face and hands.
For more information, or to order you own diapers & wipes bundle, click here. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by, and please leave comments if you have any questions!
As you know, I’ve been working hard on my health, nutrition and fitness over the past almost year. I started in April, and was 100% on track for my first round of 21 Day Fix. After a few months of doing really well though, I started slacking a little. Since then, I have struggled to stay on track. While I’ve kept off almost the entire 22 lbs that I originally lost, I’ve found it hard to keep a balance.
Then I read a blog post by Melanie Mitro, top Beachbody coach of 2015. She swears by the 80/20 rule, and says it is her “secret sauce”. Basically, you eat clean and healthy 80% of the time, and can indulge 20% of the time. It won’t work for everyone, but it works for a lot of people. This can keep you from actually doing more damage by trying to be perfect all the time, and then feeling deprived, which can lead to binge eating. It also makes you more conscious about your indulgences, because you only get a small amount each day, week, month, so it pays to really think about it before you indulge.
Things I am going to do to help make this work:
Make a plan! Planning always works out so much better for me, because I don’t have to think and make decisions when I’m hungry (which is when I am much more likely to grab the first thing available, or that looks the yummiest). My favorite way to plan is by using an Excel spreadsheet to plan out my entire week of meals & workouts. Then, when I am hungry, I just look at my spreadsheet and know what to grab. This helps with grocery shopping too, because I make my list based on what meals I have planned for the week, and then I can minimize impulse buying at the grocery store.
Track what I ACTUALLY eat. I’ll be doing this in my Excel spreadsheet, by changing the font color from black to blue as I eat my planned meals, and I will have an extra section at the bottom for cheats. Then at the end of the week, I can really see how well I did, and plan better for the following week.
Always workout on a day where I have a “cheat”. This way I can be sure to counteract the cheat with some exercise.
Remind myself that it is OK to have these cheat meals. Life is all about balance, and that includes what you eat and drink too!
Have accountability partners to keep me honest and make sure I am staying on track. The way I do this is by co-hosting a free monthly Facebook group with my dear friend and coach, Mandy Leimer Triplett. These are closed groups, so others on Facebook cannot see what we are posting about, so as to maintain our privacy. Each month we have a different theme, though beginning this month the group will stay the same in order to maintain a higher level of consistency in the group. We post about our struggles and successes, food choices and workouts, and healthy recipes we’ve tried. If you would like to be a part of our group, you can contact me by clicking here and sending me a message on Facebook. We are always looking for other uplifting people to join our team!
Thank you for visiting my page! I’d love to know what tips you have for staying on track, so don’t forget to leave them in a comment below! xoxo
When I started my health and fitness journey back in April, I had no clue what “clean eating” meant, but I knew it sounded scary, overwhelming, and like it would seriously be NO FUN. Honestly, if someone had told me that 21 Day Fix meant clean eating before I bought the program, I might not have even gotten it. I just knew clean eating was not something I wanted to do. In all seriousness, I didn’t even realize that it WAS clean eating for several weeks after starting the program, because I really knew nothing about clean eating, nor did I have any interest in learning about it.
Then one day my coach used that term to describe how we were eating and it all clicked. I had unknowingly learned how to eat clean, and how to enjoy it! And it worked! After just 21 days of eating clean, and exercising consistently, I lost 9 lbs and 7.5 inches. And after 3 months, I had lost 17.5 lbs. After that, I got a little more relaxed about what I ate, and slowly slipped back into some bad habits.
I still maintain a roughly 60/40% clean eating diet, but that number should be more like 75/25 to maintain my weight. I’ve been lucky and haven’t gained anything back, but I do still have more weight that I want to lose (10-20 lbs, depending on how much muscle I gain), so I should be much more healthy in my eating habits than I have been lately. The next couple months will be a little less travel-filled, so I have decided to get back into my healthy eating habits, just in time to make sure I make healthy choices during the holidays.
I made my first clean eating meal plan today, which I will start on Monday, so I thought I would share it with y’all, in case you are like me and think that clean eating has to be scary and just flat out not fun. I’ve included links to the recipes that I’ll be using next week to go along with this meal plan, so be sure to check those out too.
Oh my goodness, ya’ll! I cannot believe it has been a whole month since I posted anything! I should be fired! Seriously though, things have been super hectic lately with celebrating our anniversary, going to Disney, staying on top of my school work, starting to night wean (don’t even get me started), making Halloween costumes and keeping my business running. Add to that the fact that we’ve been sick twice in the past month, and it’s a wonder we have survived! Side note, I think we are going to try and find a natural doctor to do a scan on us (recommended by my Young Living friend) to see if we might have food sensitivities that are causing us to get sick so frequently. I know Gabe is in school, but I still think it is a bit much. I’m starting to worry about the effects of so much antibiotics will have on his tiny little body. So if anyone knows anything about natural doctors or food allergies causing sickness (like sinus infections and ear infections), please share your knowledge with me, because I’m pretty clueless.
Moving on! So Halloween is my hubby’s favorite holiday, always has been. After 11 years together, it has become one of my favorites too. And one our the best things about Halloween is watching all the spooky movies. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for kids movies, but now that we have a toddler, it is just about the only movies we watch. But I wasn’t going to let that keep us from watching movies this Halloween. So instead, I went on a search to find the best Halloween movies for kids. And I found some great ones, some that I haven’t thought of in YEARS! So here they are, my top 5 Halloween movies for kids!
The Nightmare Before Christmas
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
What are your favorite Halloween movies? Please share them in the comments! And as always, thank you so much for stopping by to see us! xoxo
If you have been wanting an Amazon Prime membership, but aren’t too thrilled with the thought of paying the full price, today might be the day for you! TODAY ONLY (9/25/15), Amazon is offering their prime membership for just $67. Still sound like too much? Let me tell you what you get from becoming a Prime member!
FREE 2-day shipping on millions of items (some places even offer 1-day shipping on certain items!!)
Unlimited ad-free access to over a million songs
Instant streaming of thousands of movies & TV shows with Prime Video (this has been a great one for us, because there are TONS of kids movies, as well as documentary type videos of beautiful places set to the sound of relaxing music, perfect for lulling a toddler to sleep, or setting a calming backdrop while relaxing at home)
Free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive
Read free books each month through Kindle First and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (review to come this month!)
If you are interested, you will need to sign up between 12 a.m. Eastern time (9:00 p.m. Pacific time on September 24) and 11:59 p.m. Pacific time (2:59 a.m Eastern time on September 26). Offer is only valid for new members. This is an annual membership that will renew automatically at the full price of $99/yr after the first year. You may cancel at anytime. You can sign up for Amazon Prime by following this link. While it is an affiliate link, it is not mine, so I get NOTHING from you signing up. This link is for the wonderful Mommy Octopus, which is where I first learned of this awesome deal! Enjoy!
Yum! Today is National Pancake Day! Pancakes are one of my absolute favorite foods! It was one of the first things I learned to make on my own, and remains one of those comfort foods that can take me back to a time when life was much less complicated. But when I started on this road to health, that was one of many unhealthy habits I gave up. I used to have pancakes at least a few times per month, sometimes having it for breakfast, sometimes even for dinner (because breakfast is even better when it is for dinner, am I right?). So you can imagine how thrilled I was, when I found not one, but TWO pancake recipes in Autumn Calabrese’s new cookbook, FIXate! I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t tried either yet, but SOON! Honestly I’ve just been too lazy to go buy the ingredients, since they aren’t things I normally keep in my kitchen. I might try them this weekend though, since I’ll be visiting family and there will be more people to feed (since this recipe serves 5!). Anyways, here is the amazing recipe. If you try it, please comment below and let me know what you think!
Photo & recipe from FIXate by Autumn Calabrese
Vanilla Protein Pancakes With Pears and Cinnamon
Serves: 5 (2 pancakes each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Container Equivalents (per serving): 1 purple, 1 red, 2 teaspoons
2 cups sliced pears
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 scoops whey protein powder, vanilla flavor
Nonstick cooking spray
1. Combine pears and cinnamon in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
2. Combine almond flour and coconut flour in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.
3. Place almond milk, eggs, extract, and protein powder in blender; cover. Blend until smooth. Place in a large bowl.
4. Add almond flour mixture to almond milk mixture; mix well.
5. Heat medium nonstick skillet, lightly coated with spray, over medium-low heat.
6. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until edges start to set. Completely loosen pancake from skillet. Flip with spatula; cook for an additional 90 seconds.
7. Continue with remaining batter.
8. Serve topped evenly with pear and cinnamon mixture.
Tip: Leftover pancakes can be reheated in the toaster.
Variation: Substitute chocolate protein powder for vanilla protein powder and 1/2 sliced large banana for pears.
Photo & recipe source: FIXate by Autumn Calabrese
If you would like more information about this cookbook, or to purchase, you can contact me at email@example.com, or on Facebook at Natalie Rodriguez: Fit Not Fat with Nat.
I’ve attempted to write this post several times over the past several days, but haven’t
been able to finish. This subject is close to my heart, which makes it harder to put things into words. This is something I haven’t shared with many people, but, especially this week, I think it is something that needs to be shared. If I can help save even one person, then it is worth the uncomfortableness that I am feeling now.
When I was 14, my mom passed away from brain cancer. My dad did the best he could to help my sister and I deal with our mom’s death. He gave us the option of backing out of camp that year (she passed away 2 weeks before camp began, we chose to go anyways). He sent us to see a therapist (we asked him to discontinue therapy, he did). He took care of us, amidst his grief of losing the woman he had loved since he was 12 years old, put food on the table, involved us in school activities, drove us to school every morning, attended our soccer games, school plays, spent time with our mom’s family, etc.
Despite all this love that I was getting, I started to sink into a very dark place. I became depressed, though I didn’t really understand what that meant (I’m only now, 20 years later, beginning to understand it). But I was really good at putting on a smile and pretending that I was ok. But I wasn’t. At such a small school, it wasn’t easy to find people who related to what I’d been through, so I turned inward instead. I spent more time alone, and took out my anger about my mom’s death, on my dad. I became so angry with him that thoughts of running away consumed me. I even wrote “runaway” letter, and hid them under my bed.
As time went on, I began thinking more and more about death, and eventually starting wishing for it. I started wishing that I had been the one to die, because at least then my mom would’ve been there to take care of my little sister. I thought how cruel it was for God to take our mother away, from two little girls who needed her so much, instead of just taking me away when I was so unhappy with life anyways. I didn’t want to live in a world where my mom wasn’t. I started thinking about what it would be like to take my own life, and how I would do it. I weighed the pros and cons of different methods, which would hurt most, which would be quickest, which would be easiest. But I thank God that my parents had instilled such a strong sense of love for my family in me. I can honestly say that saved my life. The only reason that I never attempted suicide was because I couldn’t bear the thought of making my sister and my dad go through another loss. Because I knew what it felt like to lose someone you loved so dearly. And I knew my dad and my sister loved me. I couldn’t imagine how much worse it would be to go through a second loss, and this one self-inflicted. I couldn’t do that to them. No matter how mad I got at my dad, I still loved him, and I loved my sister, and I knew that she was just an innocent child in all of this. She needed me more than ever at that time in her life, and would as she grew up, and I had to be there for her since my mom wasn’t. I knew it was what my mom would’ve wanted.
As I’ve gotten older, I still struggle with feeling depressed at times. Sometimes it comes on because of a rough time in my life, but sometimes it just randomly hits me when everything is going well. But as I’ve learned more about depression, and as I’ve built a life I love, I’ve found more reasons to live. I still live for my sister and my dad, but along the way I have added friends and family, and most importantly my husband and son, to live for too. I live for those who want so desperately to live, but can’t. I live for those who’ve lost loved ones to suicide, or to death. I live, to give others who struggle with depression and suicide the knowledge that they are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and you are so very loved, even by people who have never met you! If you struggle with depression, there is help and there is hope. If you need someone to talk to, I am here for you. Just drop me a comment. Or go to www.twloha.com for additional help. They can connect you to the organizations that will help you with your specific struggle, be it depression, addiction, suicide, self-injury, etc.
This is not the blog post I had originally intended to write for World Suicide Prevention Day. I really just planned on telling you statistics and ways to help (which you can still find at the end of this post), but as I started writing, I realized there are so many websites out there with this kind of info, but there is nowhere else that you can learn about this specific story. And while there are other stories like mine, everyone relates to different stories for different reasons, and maybe there is that one person out there who will relate specifically to mine. If I can help even one person, I have done something positive by bearing my soul to you.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “In 2013 (the most recent year for which full data are available), 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.” The 10th leading cause of death!! The TENTH! I’m sorry, but that is HUGE. In the time it took you to read this blog post, at least 1 person took their own life. But, there are ways that you can help.
According to WebMD, “Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to commit suicide include:
Always talking or thinking about death
Clinical depression — deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating — that gets worse
Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
Losing interest in things one used to care about
Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
Saying things like “it would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
Talking about suicide or killing one’s self
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Be especially concerned if a person is exhibiting any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between 20% and 50% of people who commit suicide have had a previous attempt.”
If someone you know is exhibiting these behaviors and warning signs, there are ways that you can help. You can be there for them. You can refuse to leave their side. But please, don’t for a single second think that it can’t happen to you, that your friend wouldn’t do that to themselves, or to those they love. When you are depressed, you don’t think clearly or rationally, you don’t consider the implications of your actions, and someone you love very well could attempt to take their life. Please do not hesitate to call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or the deaf hotline at 800-799-4889. Doing so could save their life!!
Photo courtesy of https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/
George C. McGough Nature Park, also known as “Largo Turtle Park” is arguably one of the best parks in Pinellas County. Unfortunately, it is not very well known. I have lived in the area for over 8 years, but was just recently made aware of this hidden beauty.
Located at 11901 146th St N, Largo, FL, this FREE state park is open to the public Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Mondays). If you plug this into your GPS, beware! It took me past the parking lot and into the neighborhood next to the park. To get there, travel west on Ulmerton Rd. until it turns into Walsingham Rd. Then continue on, until just before the bridge to the beaches, and make a right onto 146th St. N. The parking lot will be on your left.
Screetch Owls in Nature Center
Once you arrive, head into the nature center to purchase your turtle food for just $0.50. While there, make sure you check out the little screech owls, snakes, frogs and the hands-on children’s activities. Be sure to talk to the volunteers too, they are a wealth of knowledge, and very friendly!
Snake in Nature Center
Once you have your turtle food, head out back to the two turtle decks, so you can feed the abundances of turtles that has given this park it’s common name. There is a board that shows what types of turtles they have, by one of the decks.
Turtles under the Turtle Deck
We were most impressed by the Florida Softshell Turtles. They were huge! Also, look toward the bushes and trees and you might catch some turtles sunbathing.
Sunbathing Turtles by the Turtle Deck
And watch out for the Muscovy ducks! They like the turtle food too, and they aren’t afraid of humans!
Muscovy Ducks on Turtle Deck
We chose not to check out the boardwalk on this trip because it was getting close to naptime, so instead we headed back toward the nature center. We made a stop on the deck behind the nature center to see all the birds of prey.
Franklin & Eleanor the owls
They have several injured owls and hawks there who are receiving treatment or living out the rest of their lives in protection from predators because of their injuries. Our favorites were Franklin & Eleanor (the owls).
Children’s Table in Nature Center
After a little coloring in the nature center, we headed out so we could make a quick stop for lunch before heading home for nap. Next time we will be taking Daddy with us, and we will definitely check out the boardwalk. I guess you can walk all the way back to the intercoastal waterway!
Boardwalk to Intercoastal (Photo courtesy of largo.com)
View of Intercoastal (Photo courtesy of largo.com)
Thank you so much for stopping by, please come back again! Do you know of any hidden gems in the Tampa Bay area? Please share them below, in a comment. We are always looking for new fun things to do around the area!