4.28.2017

Favorites On A Friday: Blogger Style

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I don't discriminate when it comes to Friday.

Bring on the weekend!

And don't let the door hit you on the way out, work week.

When it comes to sharing some of my favorite things, I keep a few lists handy so I don't forget to discuss them on the blog. While I hope my suggestions help someone out, I also write about them so I can refer to them later on. My memory has faded since having E (WHY does that happen?!?) so writing things down is a necessity!

I really try to keep my favorites themed, if possible, and today's topic focuses on all things blogger related. Bentley, Like the Car has been around for almost seven years - SEVEN YEARS! It started off as a creative outlet where I could dump all the random thoughts circulating in my brain and then I took a sabbatical  (minus the pay part) while I was pregnant and during the first year of E's life. Since one of my goals was jumping back into the blogging world, I felt like it was an ideal time to share some of my beloved blogger things with you!

Followers App


Fellow blogger and real life friend, Lindsay, wrote a fabulous post about growing your following on Instagram. She has worked her tail off expanding her brand in the online community so I was excited that she divulged a few of her secrets! 

One of the tips she had fully supported of my disdain for those who play the follow/unfollow game on Insta. Following her suggestion, I downloaded the Followers app and haven't looked back. It's perfect for tracking your activity on the Instagram platform and I love the feeling of vindication when I unfollow the bigger influencers who attempt to play the game with me.

And for your enjoyment, a picture of Lindsay and I from yesterday:


See? I told you we knew each other in real life! #twin

iPad Keyboard

Here at our casa, we have one laptop for the entire family. E is too young to fight for computer time, but J and I have run into times where we both needed to use it. Instead of purchasing another computer, I decided to try a keyboard for my iPad.

It was an excellent idea for a fraction of the cost of a new computer! I wasn't sure I would like it at first, but it has grown on me. It's the perfect solution: I can type out my posts while J uses the computer and quickly go back to insert any graphics or photos when he is done (or from my iPad if I am really pushed for time). 

Instagram Loop


Do you follow me on Instagram? If so, then hopefully you saw and participated in the Building your Mom Tribe loop that I co-hosted with a few other mamas.

I was really excited that a spot opened up to co-host with Ally! When I participated in the loop a few weeks ago, I sent her a DM and asked that she keep me in mind when she picked her hosts for the next loop.

Bloggers, do not be afraid to take this approach. 

If you stumble across something that interests you, take the initiative. It can lead to connections with other bloggers, readers, and hopefully gain some exposure for your brand as well. If you are interested in getting a group together for something like this, please keep me in mind! 

Blog Linking


Here and there, I tell stories about parenting my vibracious toddler, E.

One of my recent posts discussed the number that ALL parents need, which I shared in a linkup party. A few days later, I received an email from Laura who said she was going to link up to my blog in her own Friday Favorites. This was cool for numerous reasons. First, someone I didn't know in real life ACTUALLY read my post and secondly, she found me through a linkup party.

Raise your hand if you don't know what a linkup party is.

Link Party


Until recently, my hand would be raised. I swear they were not around (or at least as popular as they are now), when I began this journey a few years ago.

So what is a link party?

It's when a host or group of blogger hosts insert code into their blog to group all their blog posts together give other bloggers a chance to link their blog to the party.

Sometimes the host(s) will pick a detailed theme like Most Embarrassing Moment or something less specific such as Tuesday Talk. Each link party is a way to connect with other bloggers and showcase your content. It can lead to new connections and a future shout out, link or even feature on another blog. Even better, it will help you find new sites to add to your reading list!

That's enough about my favorite blogger things, but I would love to hear what your preferred blogging tools or tricks are! Do you have anything to add or is there something you loathe? I want to hear ALL about it.

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone! Our little family has a semi-unusual,"first time for everything" weekend planned.

I hope to share all the details with you on Monday so see ya then!




*Linking up for Friday Favorites with MomprofessionalsSmidge of ThisCup of Tea, and Meet @ the Barre

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4.27.2017

Confessions - 4.27.17 -

Who is ready for the weekend?!

These last few weeks have been tumultuous - so much so that I started keeping a "confessions" note in my phone.


I confess

... that when I fly somewhere I feel extremely skinny when the seatbelt buckles without me adjusting the belt from the person who sat there before. #itsthelittlethings

... that I had to give a presentation for our entire company at our annual meeting and was extremely nervous. About an hour after it was finished, I received an email from one of my coworkers (who I rarely get to chat with and barely know) saying what a good job I did. The two minutes he took to compose that email meant SO much to me. #goodpeoplestillexist

... that as someone who ADORES Starbucks, I could not care less about the Unicorn Frappuccino. It sounds disgusting and yet, what an awesome marketing ploy! The marketer inside me regrets not thinking of something similar. #butIaintfallingforit

... that no man should mess with a woman's parking spot. My husband was working on his car for a few days and took up the ENTIRE garage, eliminating my parking spot.  #peoplecouldattackmeifIparkoutside

... that I felt vindicated when someone tried to pull the follow/unfollow game with me on Insta and I unfollowed them. #yougetwhatyoudeserve


4.25.2017

Whole 30: Round Five Results

Another round has come and gone on my Whole 30 journey.



While each round presents a new list of challenges and achievements, this one was particularly testing. During these thirty days, I was faced with a trip to Auburn for A-Day, tornadoes, a less than twenty-four hour work trip to Chicago, and my daughter's T&A surgery complete with a slumber party in the hospital for the night. Needless to say, it would have been very easy to fall off the wagon. 

But I didn't. 

I'm not sure how or why I didn't, but I somehow managed to remain strong. The biggest challenge was traveling out of town for work. Thankfully, my coworker was understanding and I was able to chow down on fruit and nuts as needed. I'm just glad it was a short trip!

Let's discuss what everyone wants to know...the results. 

For this round I did something different. I purchased a body composition scale prior to starting (our old scale was having issues) and decided to take before and after measurements using my new toy. Please note, that I am not obsessed with the scale so not weighing myself during the round was very easy for me. Also note, that I had been working out for a few months, but due to the craziness of my schedule I couldn't go to the gym for the last two weeks of this round. 

The Balance High Accuracy Body Fat Scale measures six metrics such as weight, BMI, body fat, muscle mass, hydration, and bone density. You can set up an individual profile with your gender and height to assist the scale with its computations. 

After round five of Whole 30 my stats changed as follows:
  • Weight: -9 lbs. 
  • BMI: -1.6%
  • Body Fat: +7.4% 
  • Muscle: -8.9%
  • Water: -7.7%
  • Bone Density: No change

NSV:
  • No post-lunch fog
  • Clearer skin (although I did break out near the end)
  • Better sleep, BUT I did start taking my sleeping aid again (due to the added stress near the end)
  • More energy

Initially, I was very happy because I lost 9 lbs. I also decreased my BMI, which I thought was good. However, out of the 9 lbs. lost it appears that 8.9 of that number was muscle that disappeared and that is disheartening. Equally disgusting was the increase in body fat. Sigh.

I know that I wasn't able to maintain my workout schedule and that will be changing starting this week - assuming things calm down in the planner. I wasn't as concerned about the water since that will increase again and was relieved that bone density showed no change. 

What now?

The plan moving forward is to keep to Whole 30 during the week and as much as possible on the weekend until vacation. I may jump on the scale before vacation to see how I'm adjusting. Following vacation, I will probably attempt another round to see how my body composition is using the same metrics. 

My clothes are looser and I noticed a difference so I absolutely do not think this last round was a bust. I do wish that I had used the same metrics in my previous rounds. 

Don't forget, I've written a few Whole 30 related posts for you:


If you're interested in trying this, I highly suggest reading It Starts With Food, The founder of Whole 30 talks about all the nitty gritty details behind this plan and why clean eating is ideal for your health. 

For all you Whole 30ers, I'm curious - has anyone else had strange results like this? It really makes me regret not measuring these different aspects sooner. 

*Linking up with Lindsay's Sweet World 
**This post may contain affiliate links


Lindsay's Sweet World
4.23.2017

Weekending: Stranger Danger

I am absolutely 100% in need of a weekend to recover from the weekend - heck, to recover from the last few months!

Even though this is technically a weekend recap post, our schedule has been so sporadic these last few weeks that I feel it's necessary to capture those fun details. This is a detailed post, but please stay with me until the end. I have something that I need help with. 

You may recall that E had a T&A procedure done on Good Friday. Recovery from this procedure can take up to two weeks. That's right, fourteen days of limited activity, watching her food and drink intake, and no school. Thankfully, our ENT said she could return to class after ten days if everything went well. However, we still needed to stay at home with her during the first week. I was able to work from home that Monday and our sweet Foxie came to watch E for the rest of the week. The week was filled with trying out the Walmart grocery pickup, covering Foxie in stickers, and getting Foxie out of the house in the evenings for Bible study, Thai food, and manis and pedis.





Personally, I had a very rough day staying home with E on Monday and while my mother has the patience of a saint, it was so important to me to try and give her a break in the evenings. Plus, I just love hanging out with my mother! I cannot seriously thank her enough for helping us out. 

Now onto the weekend....

A huge audit from HQ is being conducted for our division in a couple of weeks. We've been working on this audit (I don't think it's like your typical audit - remember, I'm in marketing) over the last few months and there has been some confusion over which sections need to be completed. Imagine my excitement when finding out that two parts needed to be filled out and I had only a couple of days before it was due. Ugh. My entire Friday was spent working on that and staying about an hour past closing time. Mom and I decided to go out to eat so E could get out of the house and I rushed home to pick them up for a girls night out. We feasted on Italian food and stopped by Dairy Queen for dessert on the way home. 

Before E's procedure was placed on the books, Foxie had already planned to sit for E while we had a date night to the Music & Miracles Superfest event in Auburn. Since she would be at home with E on Saturday night, we decided to venture out that morning with the hope of wearing down the toddler who started skipping her naps.

Our morning began downtown at a delicious restaurant that has the yummiest biscuits. This was perfect since E loves her some biscuits! The owner is local and owns numerous, unique eateries in the area. This one in particular boasts a rustic, eclectic design and is relatively inexpensive for breakfast food. I had a delicious biscuit sandwich with ham, goat cheese, and jalapeƱo jelly - my taste buds are watering just thinking about it!



Following breakfast we strolled through downtown, bought some produce from local vendors, and watched someone do more push ups than I can count (totally kidding, but it was a lot) to earn free food.


We headed back toward the house and I stopped at a local boutique to spend my gift card from Christmas on a dress and earrings for the concert that night.


Yes, I jumped on the tassel train. I really love this trend!

E also figured out how to open the door while we were on our way home.


That afternoon we headed to Acre for another delicious meal. This time I tried their salmon cakes and they did not disappoint.


Tickets were purchased so long ago that I totally forgot we were sitting on the field for the concert! Anyone who knows me is aware that I love ALL things Auburn. Sitting on the 50 yard line was right up my alley! I was THRILLED.





We basically missed the opening act, David Ray, since we were trying to get to our seats and grab some refreshments as it was quite toasty. Not as hot as on Game Day, but close. Budweiser was a sponsor for this event so I was able to have a cocktail in the stadium...legally. 


Kelsea Ballerini came on next and she was adorable.


Following her was Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Y'all.

My sorority, band-party loving self was beyond ecstatic to hear them play. "Sweet Home Alabama" in the Auburn stadium?! Yes, please!


We also witnessed the event crew climb up and down this structure throughout the evening. No, thank you. 


For those sitting on the floor, portapotties were set up on the lower level outside the stadium. J & I were pretty excited to walk under the stadium since it is my understanding that you only see this part if you are detained on Game Day.


The sole reason I wanted to attend this event was to see my boy, Thomas Rhett. He was SO good and charming. I love his music! Plus he brought his dad on stage who writes a good chunk of the songs on country radio. And my apologies for the pictures - my iPhone does not do well in concert settings.

 

Between Thomas Rhett and the headline, J decided to take a nap. Old man can't hang. 


Before Blake Shelton took the stage, one of his team members from The Voice (did I say that right?) came out to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Apparently, it was Morgan from season nine and she did a fantastic job - beautiful voice!

Finally, Blake took the stage and rocked out. He has such a fun personality and was entertaining to watch.



We didn't stay for his whole performance since we had to drive home and wanted to miss traffic. It also started to rain so we headed back to the house and got home sometime after midnight. 

It was a long day, but worth it! One thing that impressed me is that all of the artists sounded great. Sometimes you don't have the same experience with other genres of music. 

And I'm still bummed that I didn't have a football on hand to run in the end zone. 

Onto the stranger danger part....

While J and I were dining in Auburn, I received this message from Foxie:


First, let me declare that we do not order pizza enough for her to know the delivery man, thanks in part to Whole 30.

Secondly, I have read "stranger" themed books to E with the hope that she will pick up on stranger danger. Clearly, this is not working. 

Parents, any advice? Keep in mind that she is three, but I would LOVE some ideas to help us convey that everyone is not our friend. Please help!


*Linking up with B Loved BostonMy Glittery Heart, and HoHo Runs


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4.18.2017

Whole 30 Round Two, Three, & Four Results

Once upon a time, after reading It Starts With Food, I ventured into the world of Whole 30.

Since then, I have completed four rounds and am currently (although today is day 30) on my fifth round. Throughout this journey, I have published numerous posts about this topic and shared my experiences, tips, and meal plans to help anyone who is considering or currently part of this adventure. You can find all Whole 30 related posts if you read all the way to the end.

Many people will tell you, especially the strict Whole 30 followers, that losing weight is not a goal of this program in ANY shape, way, or form...and they are right. However, eating clean typically will result in weight loss plus many other NSV (non-scale victories). Somehow during all of my Whole 30 posts, I only included results from round one. That changes today.


Round Two Results


  • No headaches/withdrawal symptoms (although I did have achy teeth)
  • Decided to extend two weeks
  • Deeper sleep
  • More energy
  • -10 lbs. 
  • Stomach: -3 inches
  • Thigh: -1.5 inches


Round Three Results


  • Deeper sleep
  • More energy 
  • Clearer skin
  • -10.5 lbs. 
  • Stomach -3 inches


Round Four Results


  • Clearer skin
  • More energy
  • Clear thinking
  • -4 lbs.
  • Stomach: -2 inches
  • Thigh: -.5 inches

Because my last round was only so-so, I embarked on round five soon after. With numerous projects going on at work, personal issues, and trying to balance this and more as a full-time working mother, having control in this area seemed like a necessity. This proved to be very challenging with activities scheduled like A-Day, surprise doctor visits for weird rashes and surgery for my daughter, However, I was able to remain compliant provided I stick to a clean dinner tonight. Woo hoo!

If you want to read more, please feel free to peruse the posts below:


Please feel free to return to this site to read my Whole 30 round five results. I promise they won't be as late as the past ones were!

*Linking up with Lindsay's Sweet World 
**This post may contain affiliate links

Lindsay's Sweet World

4.17.2017

Weekending: Post T&A

Where do I even begin to start this post?

It has been a LONG weekend. If you have stumbled upon my page, grab a coffee and take a seat. This will be a lengthy read. 

I've referenced our constant battle that E has had with strep many times on the good 'ole blog (which came in handy when I had to share dates with the doctors) and even disclosed that we had made the decision to move forward with a tonsillectomy. That procedure actually turned into a full T&A (removal of tonsils and adenoids) much to my surprise.


You can guess where this weekending post is going....
Friday morning started bright and early since we had to be at the hospital by 6 A.M. This was following in line with how my week had been going - on Tuesday I had an early annual meeting at work where I gave a presentation to our company, followed by a flight to Chicago for a work meeting and a flight back home less than twenty-four hours later. Needless to say, last week was exhausting. I hardly slept all week and only added five hours to my slumber on Thursday night. I feel like I got more sleep when I had a newborn. 

The nurses and doctors came by to meet us and share what role they played in the OR. One man in particular was asking a lot of questions, but we had no idea who he was. I asked if he was a nurse to which he appeared insulted and said he was a doctor, specifically her anesthesiologist. J was like, "I'm pretty sure you somehow insulted him," and I responded that he should introduce himself next time instead of waiting to be asked. #bedsidemannermatters

Surgery began around 7:30 A.M. E was a champ and only became semi-emotional when we had to leave her. Even so, she still didn't cry. About an hour later, the doctor came out and said everything went perfectly. Praise God. 

We were rushed back to recovery since babies are very cranky when they wake up from anesthesia. When we walked through the door I instantly heard her sobbing as she had been crying for her mommy. That absolutely broke my heart, but she calmed down once I was able to hold her.
We were moved upstairs into our room for the night. E was an absolute dream for the rest of the day. Hydration is a concern and I was very thankful that she chugged around ten apple juices and ate her liquid lunch of popsicles, jello, and chicken broth. 

At this point J left to run some errands and returned a few hours later with Whole 30 compliant food for yours truly. When he got back to the room, E had become more lethargic and wanted nothing to eat or drink. A few minutes later, the puking began.


You know you've hit motherhood when you discuss bodily fluids.

Cheers for green throw up with no sign of blood! After a T&A surgery, you cannot eat anything red or pink for this very reason. E continued to puke a few other times, but every thing looked well. She quickly passed out afterwards and we decided J could sleep at the house since everything was calm. I should have realized that this justification and a phone call with DJ was foreshadowing at its finest. 

The nurse came in to give E pain meds around 9 P.M. Then I noticed that E had blood on her pillow and it wasn't just a drop or two. 

Cue the panic.
The biggest concern with this surgery is a risk of bleeding post operation. This is especially concerning in a tiny three year old who doesn't have as much blood as an adult.

See why I was flipping out?

The next hour was spent changing sheets and outfits, trying to get E to open her mouth to determine where the bleeding was coming from, and catching her bloody puke. She threw up a few more times and in my tears and newborn-tired state, I begged the nurses to page the ENT (which I think had already happened, but cannot recall). Our doctor wasn't on-call, but one of his partners arrived shortly followed by J. After having to pin down by dreary, screaming kiddo, he was able to get a look at her throat. The surgery spots looked "perfect" and he believed the blood came from that morning during the procedure. Praise the Lord that no OR needed to be booked! #givemeallthexanax

We finally got to sleep for a few hours until E woke up at 3 A.M. We took her to the bathroom and somehow she managed to go back to sleep. The nurse came in a few hours later to administer the new pain meds and E took them without complaining, even the nurse remarked that it was the complete opposite from the little girl she met the night prior.

The rest of the morning was spent drinking juice and waiting for our doctor to call and discharge us. E was over the popsicles and jello at this point, but seemed like her normal self. The on-call doctor who we met the night before stopped by to check in and was pleased that E was doing well. Apparently he had been in touch with our doctor and filled him in on the evening's activities. We received the news that we were leaving around noon, which was welcomed since she began to go stir crazy as did her father. I cannot imagine how families who have to stay in the hospital for long periods at a time deal with this.

Once we were home, we let E paint outside to spend some time in the fresh air. I put her down for a nap and woke her up a few hours later to give her a bath. Something about hospitals just makes me feel DISGUSTING. For the rest of the day she lounged around and had way too much screen time.

Later that evening (literally like 9 P.M.) I realized that I needed to pull her Easter basket down from the attic. I had purchased a few items earlier that month, but soon realized that I couldn't completely fill it with the treats as planned since she couldn't eat them. Sigh. Thankfully, I had a few goody bags on hand and was able to complete her basket with those. Yup, I literally finished her basket with goodies from the parties we had been to. #noshameinmygame


Easter Sunday was spent in our jammies playing with the items the Easter Bunny dropped off on our porch. Although the reason we celebrate Easter is much more important than a silly rabbit, it is nice to make these memories with E.


We streamed our church service and gave E the ipad to keep her entertained during the sermon.


A T&A will really make you break all of the screen time rules.

I'm staying at home today since E cannot go back to school for a while. Thankfully, Foxie is coming to hang out for a few days since I have a sales meeting at work later this week. One day my life will slow down and I can return to my running and trips to the gym.

Now, give yourself a high five if you have lasted this long. I know this isn't the most interesting topic to most, but feel it's important to document all the details with the hope that it will help someone else. I plan on writing a couple more posts about the tonsillectomy and adenoid surgery since there wasn't a lot of information I could relate to when I was researching the procedure specifically for a toddler.

Here's to an uneventful week ahead!



*Linking up with B Loved BostonMy Glittery Heart, and HoHo Runs


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