in Fitness, Food

Keto Life!

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keto-life

Wait, what the hell even is Keto?

“The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.” –Healthline

So yeah yeah, I’ve said it before but Imma say it again – I don’t do diets. At least, I thought I didn’t do diets. I’ve always thought they were pointless. Like cool, starve yourself, eat like a rabbit & don’t enjoy life; b u t then I stopped being such a stubborn jackass (Shrek pun anyone? I watch it three times a day, okay?!) and realized wait a second, what if one of these diets can actually change the way I feel? Less bloat? More energy? Better sleep? (LOL on that one, I’m a mom with anxiety) BUT maybe all these people who give different diets a try aren’t actually crazy, maybe they are just exploring food & what works for them. Guess what? This is true. These people are doing the damn thing – with food & their body at least. After one week on the Keto diet? I learned SO much about my body. I’m actually even going to… wait for it…. stick to it! I’m thinking about taking a step down from trying to achieve ketosis but the low carb life is DEF the life for me. I am beginning week three of the keto-ish life (I did slightly cheat last weekend… around midnight… Saturday night.. with iHOP… after a wedding..and then again this weekend at a birthday party… with ice cream cake)  I’M NOT PERFECT BY ANY MEANS. And I know, I know, I’m only cheating myself. LOL dramatic much? Eh.

The Food

I could bore you and break down every meal I’ve eaten since beginning my journey – but I won’t. Instead, here is what I liked & didn’t like about keto. I really enjoyed the breakfast part. Being a stay at home mom has its perks like making scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage every day for brekky. One night my hubs made me Keto pancakes for the week & let me tell you, they weren’t the best tasting cakes I’ve ever had (no knock at Nick) but with a little tweaking and less fake sugar I think we can master them. That is the thing about keto & why I really am choosing not to go full blown ketosis. The. Fake. Sugar. I do n o t like it. I gave them all a try but for me, my sweet tooth is real & the fake sugar thing is just not gonna work. BUT then there are the real ingredients that are a major part of Keto, like BUTTER. Do you know how good it feels to cook in butter again?! For years I’ve been told (by the news/health mags/humans) that butter is bad so fat so gross ewh no butter but that is not the case if you are doing keto (or know how to live)! Cook that spinach in buttaaa & throw in some garlic. It’s 5 am & now my mouth is watering for a veggie side. Change happens quickly if you let it! Okay, I know, I should take my own advice in other areas in my life.  Back on track – once I got past the fact that I was going to have to push my sweet tooth aside (so damn hard), I’ve been focusing on snacks. I greatly enjoy munching on spicy pumpkin seeds, veggies, pepperoni, cheese & nuts. Soon enough I started to realize how much I was missing fruit though. Didn’t help that my MIL brought peaches, strawberries and watermelon home for us from her travels… all this fresh, homegrown produce has been very tempting. So I have a bite here or there but not handfuls. Then I force-feed it to my son, hubs, nieces, nephews + friends – they don’t complain…  This is another reason why I’m not going to be able to do keto forever – I miss my g’damn fruit – especially right now when it seems like everything is in season (and not for much longer). But I will try and stick it out as long as I can because I WANT TO!

Recipes I already love

Pancakes that are a cross between French Toast & Pancakes. Yes, that is a thing! I grew up on french toast with cottage cheese – people think it’s weird but my grandparents always said it was a Polish thing? So this is an ultimate keto breakfast, add some bacon or sausage & you are doin’ the damn thing! Also, a great meal to have for dinner if you’re into brekky food as much as me.

Coconut Macaroons the perfect little snack or dessert, just throw a berry on top! You can even get wild & melt some Deep Dark Blackout on top! Yes, it is indeed keto friendly. With this recipe though – I cut the sugar in half. Again, the fake sugar thing ain’t my fave.

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese I’ve never cooked with cauliflower before (crazy or nah?) and all I can say is THIS SIDE IS DANK, keto or not. It’s hard to have even the slightest bit of portion control when you’ve got this as a side. Plus, you can throw some broccoli in there for some extra flava.

The Body

I’ve struggled with gut health my entire life. As a child I saw a specialist weekly. The doctors told me that I had a backward muscle in my abdomen but I never really believed them… always felt that it was something more simple than that. Finally, after I had my son, I took matters into my own hands & really tried to figure out what was wrong with my gut. Turns out, it wasn’t anything 60 oz of water a day & staying away from dairy couldn’t fix. In the first couple days of keto I kind of forgot about that… and went way too damn hard on the cheese b u t my brain turned on soon enough & was like yo girl what you doin’!? So I took a step back from the cheese, drank hella water + reevaluated. I am still shocked with how less bloated I have felt in the past weeks.

Then there is the energy! I was fighting a cold all week (two weeks ago, when this blog post was supposed to go up) but that didn’t stop me from being productive. Like, I didn’t feel the need to nap every time Bryce did. I still had energy. Even around 2 pm. And 4 pm. Guess that is just normal when your carb intake isn’t 300 grams a day (honestly, I don’t even think I’m being dramatic with that number).  I am still wrapping my head around the differences I have seen SO quickly (like losing 4 lbs in 8 days) & not fighting exhaustion every day is simply wonderful. And to think that most of that was just coming from an unbalanced diet is still kind of crazy to me (and awesome).

The Mind

Once I got going into this lifestyle change, I began thinking deeper about food – I legit stopped being naive & have been watching hella documentaries on food. The one that opened my eyes the most was The Magic Pill. Like, I cried & not because I couldn’t eat a doughnut but because a low carb/high fat diet changed the way a 5 year old girl with autism lives. The lifestyle change bettered her way of life at warp speed and it just shows that experimenting with food is in fact for everyone & we m u s t to listen to our bodies. *exits preacher Kate*

I have learned so much on this short journey & I am so excited to keep it up. The best advice I’ve received on my keto journey was from the food & fitness Goddess herself, my dear friend, Jenny Walker – she shared with me the motto she lives by: “Just don’t eat like an ass”. The girl speaks the damn truth!

If you have any low card or keto recipes you think I need in my life, please send them my way! I hope you’ll enjoy going on this journey with me.

xo,

kate

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I turn 30 on August 17, so when my boyfriend suggested we go on a trip to celebrate, I was totally for it! I LOVE to travel. After a couple weeks of suggestions, which ranged from Croatia to Peru to the Caribbean, my boyfriend decided to take the reins and surprise me. He didn’t want me to know a single detail, and for a whole month I was subjected to teasing: “pack a parka, we’re gonna see some penguins, babe.” My best friend and even a handful of co-workers knew my destination! Torture. But let me tell you, there was something so nice about having to just show up.

Travel Day

Travel day did not come soon enough; I felt excited and nervous all at once. We checked in, and I told the Southwest employee and the TSA agent that “I have no idea where I’m going and I don’t want to know, but I’m obviously going willingly.” HA! They both chuckled and were all about the surprise. Anyway, we walked towards our gate and my blood was PUMPING. I was so nervous, and finally, we arrived to our gate… and nothing. The display did not have our destination. Womp, womp. I realized that my ticket has all the information, so I looked, and found out WE’RE GOING TO PUNTA CANA!! YASSSSSS! But I still didn’t know where we were staying…

After a 3.5 hour flight, we found our driver holding a sign with my boyfriend’s name. Both of us felt so bougie, we nervously laughed. From the airport, it was a 45 minute drive to the resort. Longest. Drive. Ever. There was so much anticipation built up, I just wanted to get there… and finally, WE ARRIVED.

The gates opened, and cue heavenly music… we arrive at the Zoetry Agua Punta Cana Resort.

Spoiler alert: this was the most amazing resort, and ya just need to go!

Our Arrival

We were greeted by friendly staff, and were offered a cool towel and iced tea – so refreshing after a half day of travel and a relatively long customs line. The lobby was beautiful – open air with high ceilings made with palapa (palm) leaves. After we checked in, we were assigned our own PERSONAL BUTLER. YES, you read that correctly. His name was Ramon, and anything we needed, at any time, we could contact him. As he was taking us to our room, he gave us the lay of the land. The grounds were beautifully landscaped, but we immediately noticed how quiet and tranquil the resort was. At one point, my boyfriend asked if we were the only people on the resort because it was that quiet, and we didn’t see any other couples!

Our Room

Rustic and elegant all at once. Hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings, stone and palapa roofs – so much texture. I loved it. We had a king size bed with pillows you just melted into – we kept talking about how our sleep was so deep and that we always woke up well-rested. The best part? The view. We had a walk out deck into a semi-private pool. I mean, how cool is that? The entire time we were there, we would often have the pool to ourselves. Floating. In the sun. With a drink in hand. 

Let’s talk amenities in the room. The resort is all inclusive, so the mini fridge was stocked daily – soda, water, booze, and nespresso pods galore. They offered 24-hour room service – and you can bet your booty I totally drunk (more to come on this) ordered food to the room. The bathroom products are SO bougie, y’all. The brand? Bvlgari. Everything about this place was just so luxurious and impressive.Every time we left the room for a couple hours, our room was tended to – from our bed being made (garnished with flower petals every time) to chocolate covered strawberries to champagne on ice (TWICE) to a birthday mango cake to a farewell cake. We were spoiled and it almost didn’t feel right… but we absorbed every single bit of it.

The Beach

Take me back. The resort had a 200 yard private beach on the Caribbean Sea for guests. There were lounge chairs and beds under “huts” with palapa roofs. There was a tiki bar that offered not only booze but also freshly opened coconuts for the guests to enjoy under the hot Caribbean sun or if they’ve indulged too much on the unlimited top shelf booze. Guilty. There were also beach runners that would offer fruit kabobs and take drink requests.

This time of year, seaweed is rampant, so it ended up on the shoreline. But the resort made arrangements to have it cleaned up right away. The water WAS AMAZING – it was calm and warm – I think I spent 50% of the trip in the water.

Because the resort is adults only, the beach was actually serene. No screaming children. No loud music. Just the crashing of the waves and the palm trees moving in the breeze. Does this not sound like heaven or what? All beaches should be like this, people.

The Pools

There were semi-private pools all over the resort, as well as an infinity pool with a wet bar, and an infinity pool overlooking the beach. After the first full day on the beach, we decided to mosey over to the pool with the wet bar. We met a few couples from the states and bonded quickly. Let’s talk quickly about the service – amazing. The bartender was attentive and quick to make our drinks. We were even able to order lunch from the restaurant a few yards away. Ceviche and margs? Yes, please!

Let’s just say on this day, we died a little. One of the couples we met made us take a shot that included wine and whiskey. What? No. Don’t ever take a shot like this if you’re offered one. This is when room service came in handy. My boyfriend passed out, and I sat there eating my pasta and hamburger while watching Youtube. It was honestly such a great night. HA! I digress.

Some of the pools had floating loungers that we took advantage of everyday. In fact, we decided that our next home must come with a saltwater pool and a lounger. Ugh, you guys… I miss this place too much.

The Restaurants

There were four restaurants, three bars, and a cafe in our resort. The cafe offered coffee and pastries, while the four restaurants offered different cuisines ranging from European to Caribbean. Each restaurant had set menus offering organic and locally grown fare. Everything we ordered came exactly as we ordered. In fact, the first night, we decided that we liked the food so much, that we went on a food tour and hopped around to the other restaurants. Because why not? The portions were smaller than the American norm, and we felt okay about it.

Each restaurant was decorated uniquely – one was more modern, one beachy, one traditional to the DR, and the other euro-chic. We fell in love with high ceilings and the palapa roofs, they really did it well – not corny at all – if island chic is a thing, this place is it.

The Spa

Tranquil AF. We received our 70 minute couples massage FO’ FREE, but we had to sit through a 90 minute schpiel on the benefits of the AMResorts membership. Worth it. Upon arrival, we were offered chlorophyll water. After filling out a form, we were each led to locker rooms where we disrobed and prep for our massages. We were given our own little hut for our massages, and I basically blacked out during the whole massage. I was that relaxed. 

In the spa, there were hot tubs, a pool, and a sauna. It felt like we were in a monastery because it was so quiet and calm. Essentially, you left the spa feeling revived and ready to take on the world – one of the best feelings in the world if ya ask me.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a getaway that involves romance, relaxation, and wellness. Zoetry Agua Punta Cana is the place for you! I’m the type of person who would much rather go on an adventure and experience other cultures; but let me tell ya, if all resorts were exactly like Zoetry, I would frequent resorts more. I’ve only been to two – Zoetry being the second and they’ve set the bar mighty high.

I hope you found this post enjoyable and helpful. Since Kate and I are at the age where so many of our friends are getting married or have young children and deserve a getaway – we thought it would be fun to share. Have you been to a Zoetry resort or a similar resort? Let us know – we want to know your favorite thing about it!

xo,
Kim
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in Style, Travel

Our Thoughts on Cupshe

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our-thoughts-on-cupshe

We’ve all heard about Cupshe suits – they are everywhere! And by everywhere, I mean Amazon, which is a huge deal if you are going to the beach this weekend and still don’t have a suit. SO we decided to give Cupshe a try!

I got my hands on a bunch of their suits, thinking that the ones that I did not like I could return because that’s what their website said. HOWEVER, despite what their website says, Cupshe does not offer full exchanges or returns… which isn’t ideal. Instead, Cupshe offers 120% store credit or a 50% refund AND you do get to keep the original suits. But like, that seems wasteful to me, especially if you don’t like the suits or if they just don’t work for your body type. Thankfully, three suits worked well enough for me & the other three worked for my besties so I’m going to call it a win.

Short version: Order your Cupshe suits from Amazon & you should be okay since they have a normal return policy.

The details…

All around I was very pleased with the quality of each suit. They ran true to size & were as pictured. I was nervous for $25 each (give or take a few bucks) that I was going to get shit-suits but really, the quality surpassed my expectations. My absolute favorite piece that I seriously wish they offered in more colors because I’d buy them all was the Black Crystal One-Piece. IT IS SO GOOD! Supportive, trendy & simple – a tad cheeky but it works for me. I also loved loved loved the Heart Attack Falbala One-Piece. The only thing that didn’t work for me is that this suit highlighted a scar that I’m just not quite comfortable enough showing off yet; BUT besides that little personal insecurity, it’s a winner. Another suit from Cupshe that I just adored was the Lucky Star Embroidery One-piece. This was a great one for the waves & a very causal suit which I totally dig.

The pieces that didn’t work for me, but worked perfectly for my friends? The Lillies Open Print One-Piece, True Love Print One-Piece & the Beautiful World One-Piece. My homies (Marissa & Molly) aren’t nearly as curvaceous as me (not saying curvaceous is a bad thing), but they are slim beauts that have a few inches in height on me. I adore these pieces on them -I just resemble a pear too much for these suits to work for me.

I hope this little review helps you with your Cupshe purchase! If you’ve tried any of their suits or decide to try any please let me know in the comments below. I’m eager to know how they all fit. I’m actually thinking about snagging a few more because I can’t get them out of my head. Like c’mon, how cute is this one?! Annoyed that I just now found it!

xo,
Kate

 

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in Beauty

Life Changing Skincare

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life-changing-skincare

It’s no secret that our favorite subject is skincare – we’re damn near borderline obsessive. We’re going to be honest, a major part of this is because Kate and I have struggled with acne most of our lives. We’ve tried a ton of products throughout our skincare journey – some wins and some MAJOR fails – but nothing that left us with weeks of ZERO breakouts. With that, we want to share with you the most magical and life changing skincare products that have completely rocked our worlds.

Before we share these products, we thought it might be best if we share our skin types:

My (Kim) skin is combination-oily, and with the summer weather around the corner, it leans heavily towards oily. My t-zone is exceptionally oily; and I have pores that are so large, you can swim in them. Okay, obviously an exaggeration, but they’re pretty large. My breakouts often occur on my chin and jaw line.

Kate is on the dry side – all year round. Her skin produces less oil resulting in dry, dehydrated skin, however she is also acne prone. An oxymoron, I know. But for her, it just happens. And her breakouts? Chin. Always chin.

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff. 

I’ve incorporated the following items into my skincare routine, catered to a combination-oily skin type, and I couldn’t be happier. So if you have a similar skin type, you might find these worth trying.

tarte – Knockout Tingling Treatment

I’ve shared this product before in our Sephora Spring Bonus Sale Buyer’s Guide blog post. I’m SO glad I purchased this because I cannot rave enough about it! If you’re a fan of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes, but can no longer stomach the price tag, the Knockout Tingling Treatment is an amazing alternative. At only $39 bucks, this chemical exfoliant has a formula that houses 10% salicylic and lactic acids that is said to resurface the skin and restore it to it’s natural pH level. Basically, it’s perfect for all skin types.

Okay, let me tell you how this has transformed my skin. I didn’t expect anything to happen overnight, that’s for sure. For a whole week, I went through the motions of swiping a cotton pad with a few drops of the treatment on my face morning and night. To be honest, it was such a hectic week, I wasn’t paying much attention until Sunday – which tends to be the day for all things self-care. By the end of week one, I noticed that my pores appeared to be smaller. Still visible, yes, but no longer an option for skinny dipping. I know you dig that visual. 

I also noticed that the little, non-inflammatory bumps that have taken refuge on my chin have nearly disappeared. Like, texture gone. My skin is prone to hyper-pigmentation, ESPECIALLY after a breakout comes and goes. Knockout has definitely helped lightened my acne scarring – I think using this product as well as Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma is really doing the trick in lightening these spots.

You guys, this stuff is SO good, and a must try! As a warning though, if your skin is sensitive, this might not be a product for you as it is a chemical exfoliant; so you may experience a tingling or a burning sensation.

Jan Marini Bioglycolic Bioclear Lotion

This was introduced to me by my aesthetician a couple months ago; and boy, I cannot even believe how effective this stuff is!! Ever since I started using this lotion (a misnomer, it’s really like a thick serum) I’ve had ZERO breakouts. Which is a damn near M I R A C L E. Like clockwork, I breakout when my monthly friend shows up. I have – strike that – HAD two cystic acne spots that pop up like clock work right on my chin. I haven’t seen them for two months now!! You guys, this stuff seriously works.

The active ingredients in the lotion are azelaic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid – sound familiar? It should, the Knockout has similar ingredients. The difference between the two is that the Knockout is a toner (addresses issues superficially), where this lotion is a serum (which addresses issues superficially AND penetrates below the surface). The lotion continues to work throughout the day and/or night. The only gripe you may find that it costs $72 – however, Dermstore has sales all the time, and you can definitely snag this at 20% off!

Jade Leaf Organic Matcha Green Tea

Okay, not exactly a skincare product – but just hear me out for a second. I’ve been a matcha green tea drinker for years now, but coffee has always been my preference. As I’ve gotten older, coffee just hasn’t been sitting well with me. At the ripe old age of 29, I experience acid reflux. Bleh. Anyway, after a terrible bout, I decided to quit coffee cold turkey and switch to matcha. I never really thought of the benefits, but after a few weeks of my daily matcha green tea lattes, I noticed a difference in my skin. This difference is definitely a combination of the skincare products I use, but matcha is helping me inside out!

Matcha green tea is known to be jam packed with antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the body from inflammation (think: acne) and has a ton of anti-aging properties. Chlorophyll that is also a property of matcha, is known to help promote cleansing the body of toxins and impurities, leaving the skin clear and glow-y. The tannins in matcha help with slowing the production of oil – I have to say that my skin feels and appears to be more balanced these days. Last week, I went two days without a matcha latte, and swear my skin looked dull and just stuffy. This could very well be all psychological, but I swear to you, I’m really seeing a difference. Just try iiiit!

Okay, onto the ways that have saved Kate’s skin!

Suffering from acne all her teen years & most of her twenties, she has tried almost every face wash on the market but the only one that has made a difference month after month, day after day? Well, that my friends is Obagi CLENZIderm Daily Foaming Cleanser. Like myself, Kate also has a wonderful little cystic-chinny-chin-chin breakout when her gift from God (or Science) makes its appearance every month; but with the use of this cleanser (and a couple other things) her breakouts have been EXTREMELY limited. I’m talking maybe one every three months. Maybe.

The other product that has helped? A toner. A drugstore witch hazel toner (say whaaaat?!?!). Thayers, actually. Since Kate’s acne is in remission, she continues to battle with its after-effects, like, dull skin. But this $11 toner has helped her TREMENDOUSLY! She is on her third bottle! The witch hazel extract contains tannins that help remove excess oil from the face. The tannins (sound familiar – think matcha!) also reduce inflammation and irritation preventing future breakouts. And because it’s an antioxidant (notice a theme?), it helps brighten the skin! Guys, Mother Earth really gives us the good stuff.

Like myself, Kate knows that skincare isn’t as easy as just buying these products, but it’s also about taking care of yourself. Her tip? Beauty sleep. It’s a real thing. REST DOES WONDERS, especially for your skin. When you sleep, your body boosts blood flow to the skin. This means you wake up with plump and glowy skin. Have you noticed when you stay up late working and only get a few hours of sleep you wake up with puffy eyes and a dull complexion? That’s because you didn’t get enough beauty sleep! It’s a thing, guys. Let your body recover, regenerate, and replenish!

There ya have it, these are products and practices that have magically transformed our skin!
As much as we would hate to admit, we weren’t fully comfortable with leaving the house with our bare skin.
But because these products and practices have worked, we do and we werk it!

Let us know if you try any of these products! If you do, we’d love to hear your thoughts.
Comment below!

xo,
Kim
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We were going to talk this week about skincare (because we are so fucking passionate about it & we think everyone deserves to understand it), BUT we decided to switch it up – LET’S TALK FITNESS!

Kim and I have both been doing pretty damn well when it comes to reaching our fitness goals. I mean, this week, Kim joined the 250 club in Pure Barre! That means she has gotten her ass outta the house, dressed and then werked through two hundred and fifty Pure Barre classes!! YASSS QUEEEEN. I, on the other hand, have seen the lowest number on the scale that I have seen in years! I know, I know, it’s just a number, but for someone who has been battling with their weight for quite some time now, all while eating better (not psycho dieting) & leading a ‘normal’ life – this is huge! It’s called balance people! That shit is real.

What have we seen to REALLY work for us though? Like for real, for real? Find an exercise that you thoroughly enjoy, don’t make yourself run if you hate running. Say no to that second piece of chocolate (one is okay if it’s not every day!), try the cold brew coffee with a hint of cream (put down the caramel macchiatos, people!), put the wine down every now and then (or try to not drink during the week – try yoga when you feel stressed), break a sweat everyday (okay maybe take one day off if you feel like it).

The hardest one for me personally? The exercise. By. Far.

Bryce & I are outdoor people. We could be outside all damn day if the weather cooperated (& if baby boy didn’t have allergies). Somedays though the weather doesn’t cooperate (all week this week) & we have to resort to walking laps around the mall BUT that gets dangerous quick because clearly, I have my wallet on me & I a l w a y s “need” something. So I needed to find something that works, something practical for my lifestyle. I bought an elliptical years back when I was lazy, in my multiple happy-hours-a-week-days & didn’t care enough to change my diet. I thought getting on the ellitical 20 mins a day three times a week was going to fix all my problems (HA!). Thankfully I bought the elliptical then because I truly love it now. BUT recently things have gone to a whole new level – I discovered Aaptiv. A fellow blogger, Mollie Moore, shared about Aaptiv & how much she loved it (plus she had a few codes to share to get a month free) so I said sign me up! And I’m so happy I did.

Aaptiv is an app that offers on-demand fitness classes and training programs led by personal trainers all from your phone! You can choose from beginner, intermediate or advanced workouts AND they offer all the time frames. For example, last night, I chose a killer 15 minute HIIT on the elliptical & then a 5-minute stretch – all while Aaptiv was in my ear. PLUS the 15 minute HIIT was called Cardio B. so that was fun. Side note: I don’t care how ridiculous Cardi is, girl’s got talent, okkkurr!? I opted for a shorter workout last night since I was able to achieve 10k steps by 3pm; I just listened to my body because I did not want to overdo it (that my friends is no fun). I tend to usually stick to their 30-40 minute workouts. I also use Aaptiv at home and outdoors – you can use it anywhere! Even the office and, of course, the gym. I love using Aaptiv for cardio, core work, and even stretching, but that isn’t all Aaptiv offers. They even offer training for marathons! How cool is that?! I’d never do one, but still, it’s cool! They also offer guides for meditation & yoga, I have yet to try those (as I love Yoga with Adriene for that kind of thing), but I am excited to give them a try too! One thing I really love about Aaptiv is that each workout has a personal trainer – these cost a fortune in real life – so it’s nice that there is someone to motivate you when you’re working out on your own. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I tell the personal trainer to shut up (she can’t hear me, okay) but it’s only because they are pushing me hard, being too positive (#imserious) or talking over the music that I want to hear. Despite that, it is SO nice to not have to think about what to do during a workout, having someone tell you every move of your workout is a tremendous help especially when you’re a mom & your workout time is also your checkout time. Before Aaptiv, I read books or watched shows while working out & I would QUICKLY get distracted, forget which set I was on, what time I started and so on, but with Aaptiv that is impossible!

The Aaptiv app has been a complete game changer in my fitness journey & I’d love to share it with you! You can try it for free for one month – just comment with your email below, text me or DM me!  #WeGotThis

xo,
Kate
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essentials-the-beach-edition

Warm weather has FINALLY made its debut, just in time for beach season!! I’m heading to the shore this weekend and though I may not be packing a swimsuit (it’s going to be in the 60s in NJ) I am packing my SPF & sandals! BUT in two weeks when I do head down to the good ol’ OCMD, here is what I plan to bring to survive. 🙂

Let’s start with skin…

In our opinion (and dermas), skin needs the most care when you spend a day in the sun. Up until a couple years ago, I never really took SPF seriously, and now I am way too familiar with sun spots & sun damaged skin. And now that I have a little guy to take care of, we don’t skimp on the sunscreen around these parts. I’ve discovered Babyganics for Brycie, which you can find just about anywhere (including Target); we love the SPF 50+. For us elders, I’ve discovered Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Coconut Sunscreen (shoutout to Costco, the real MVP) & I AM LOVING IT. If you aren’t a Costco member, no worries, they also sell Alba Botanica products at Target and Whole Foods! My son and I spend so much time outside that this has been a product I have used every day this week. Like, it sits right next to my dry shampoo on my dresser. It’s a big deal. And a MUST. Not only do I spray my whole body, but I also take special care of my face cuz it has come a long way and I must protect the work I’ve done. (That work is tone + exfoliate.) I’ve been using two SPF’s on my face because it can’t hurt, right?

As I’ve shared before, Tarte’s Amazonian Clay BB Tinted moisturizer is lightweight & capable of substantial coverage! It’s also an everyday use. For those days that are entirely spent in the sun, you’ll need a little bit more than an SPF 20. This is where Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Sunscreen SPF 45 comes into play. It smells great & it’s all sorts of eco-friendly – no testing on animals, coral reef safe & biodegradable – just to name a few. Now, once you get back to your condo after a day on the beach and you realize maybe you didn’t spray on that SPF as often as you think, slab on your Korres After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Lotion! THIS STUFF IS THE BEST. I’ve used it year after year & do not plan on stopping unless, of course, I pay more attention to the clock and apply SPF more frequently. Okay, lastly in our sunny little skincare department – COOLA Classic Liplux SPF 30. Have you ever had sunburned lips? It’s not fun or is it pretty.

Inexpensive but polarized sunnies. I love these from Nordy’s & have even given them as gifts because they are so cute! The quality is pretty awesome for $14! But why inexpensive for the beach? Well, I don’t know about you, but at the beach, I tend to develop some type of disorder where I always lose my sunnies. Maybe it’s because I always go in the water with them on my head or I put them on my chair & they slide off into the unknown. I’ve given up on taking the fancy pants pair to the beach & stick with polarized inexpensive ones – that I love just as much! A couple other accessories that make the salt life relaxing af? A straw hat. I snagged this one from Amazon last Spring and I can honestly say I am stoked to wear it again this season. If you aren’t a pom pom kinda girl, check out this one. Literally. Checked out. How perfect is that for a day by the water?! Love love love.

In between my cat naps and splashing around the water, I read. It breaks up the day, and why not spend your down time expanding your mind? Now, I know I know – I have a child how do I read? Well, I don’t get too that much but the second someone rests their little eyes, I grab the book. I bring a book and a trashy mag… for options (and because his nap could only last ten minutes). Two books I cannot recommend enough are The Light We Lost & The Glass Castle. I could NOT put these down when I got started and plan to read them again, they’re that good.

After taking a dip in the ocean, I always try to brush my hair. I keep a wet brush handy to brush out all the tangles. I love this brush and cannot be without it! It rakes through the nappiest of hair with little to no effort, and you don’t even need to spray in hair detangler. It’s magical, and ya need it. And because I may be a little extra and want to look like the women in a Sports Illustrated magazine, I spritz in the Fekkai Soleil Beach Spray. Not only does it add texture to your hair, but it also adds volume (once your hair dries) and shine thanks to the added sunflower seed oil.

Okay, so now that we have all these essentials, we have to carry them around somehow. Baggu offers the cutest canvas totes in a variety of patterns. I love this as a beach bag because it’s huge and can hold all of my essentials with a little more room to boot. Another reason I love this bag? It’s made with recycled cotton. Saving the earth and looking cute is my kind of thing… if you haven’t picked up on that.

What are your beach essentials?? We’d love to know!!

xo,
Kate

 

 

 

 

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mothers-day-gift-guide

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re anything like me, you’re a last minute shopper. Can’t help it – I guess I really love the thrill of finding the perfect gift under a time crunch. But don’t worry, in this gift guide, I’ll be sharing some gift ideas that you’ll receive just in time to hear, “I love it – you’re my favorite child…”

All mom’s are different, so I’m going to give you some options that fall into the categories of: pretty, practical, and sentimental.

Let’s start of with Pretty Mother’s Day Gifts!
  1. An Engravable – either a necklace or bracelet – your mom will LOVE it. These jewels are super dainty and lightweight, and will hold some sort of sentimental value because you can engrave anything you’d like. For example: her children’s birthdays, her favorite quote, children’s names or initials, or even a word that describes her in totality. I’ve gifted this to my mom, and several of my mom friends, and it’s always a big hit! Did I mention they are both under $80? BECAUSE until May 14, all engravables are 20% off!
  2. This Voluspa Candle Set is gorgeous. This set comes with six candles, and would look perfect on any coffee table or on top of any bathroom sink counter. Not to mention, voluspa candles smell amazing!
Practical Mother’s Day Gifts
  1. I know most people save electronics for Father’s Day; but honestly, this next gift is something anyone can appreciate. This Bose Bluetooth Speaker would be a perfect addition to your momma’s home. She’ll be able to listen to music she loves, audio books, and/or podcasts! I something similar for my dad a few Father’s Days back – but always come home to see my mom dancing around the house listening to her jams while cleaning. While you’re at it, you should buy your mom a Spotify account too! Perfect gift bundle.
  2. Give your mom the gift of one less household chore, and snag her this robo-vac! I cannot tell you how life changing this little robot vacuum is; ever since we bought ours, dust bunnies cease to exist and the amount of dog hair is significantly less noticeable. You can help your mom program the vacuum, so it cleans her house every day at a certain time. She will love this gift for sure!
Sentimental Mother’s Day Gifts
  1. Frame old photos! A while back, I found myself looking through old photo albums that live in a bookcase that is overlooked all the time. I found photos from my parent’s wedding and my childhood that were so funny, the photo was just asking to be framed. I know frames can be a little pricey, but you can certainly find affordable ones from Target, Michaels, or even Home Goods!
  2. Re-enact old photos. My sister and I have yet to do this, but we’ve been meaning to. This might take a little extra planning, but can be knocked out in a day. Basically, dress in similar clothes, and re-enact the photo. Not only will the end product give your mom all the joy in the world, but ya also get some quality sibling time!
  3. DIY – y’all know that Kate and I enjoy crafting things up for our own home. If you’re own the creative side, or not, a DIY gift is, for the lack of better words, customizable. So your DIY gift can be on the artsy side; for example, I plan on cross stitching something for my mom. It can be on buying a bunch of little things and wrapping them in a gift basket. Does your mom like to pamper herself? Buy some of her favorite products to have a spa day at home. Does your mom love to cook or bake? Buy a cookbook and really pretty cookware.

Hope these gifts bring your mom joy or at least give you a few ideas of your own!
Would love to hear what you buy for your ma! Leave us a comment below.

xo,
Kim
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in Eco Friendly

LOVE YO MOMMA

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It was April 21, 2017, and I was feeling every emotion in the book. I was getting ready (or so I thought) to welcome a baby boy into the world. I couldn’t believe I was going to be so lucky that I’d may just have an Earth Day baby! Little did I know, my induction failed and baby boy Bryce didn’t join us on Earth Day… yeah, that’s right – my induction FAILED (apparently, that can happen). Although I may not have gotten an Earth Day baby, I did get a healthy baby boy…eventually… two days later. Needless to say, I LOVE EARTH DAY. It’s the day we can roll in the grass, talk to trees & ants – all while not looking like a crazy person. Okay, maybe I should leave that kind of stuff to Bryce at this age, but you get it, right? On Earth Day, we get to celebrate this wonderful planet that we are SO lucky to have – sadly, we have a tendency to forget just how lucky.

With that, here are a few of our favorite products and tips that have helped us minimize our carbon footprint:

Switch from cotton balls & cotton rounds to something as soft & darling as these. Facial Rounds that can be WASHED! Look at it this way, spend $18 once a year or spend $4 twice a month. Also, bring your own bags to the grocery store; I bet you’ll even be able to get all your groceries in on one trip this way! I could go on for days about products that are reusable, and that we should be using all the time, but I won’t for too much longer. I’ll stop as soon as I tell you that I’ve gone as far as trying cloth diapers and I was NOT a fan. I felt like I smelled like shit for two weeks (that is how long I lasted) BUT thanks to our girl LaLa, I’ve been introduced to POOF Biodegradable Diapers – they are FULLY COMPOSTABLE & chemical FREE. You can even give them a try if you aren’t sold off the fact of them alone being compostable. Head here! #GameChanger

Try finding brands like WearPACT – brands that care about the planet – not ones that claim they care about the planet. WearPACT clothing is SO soft. I love all their undies; and recently found that they sell some items at… drum roll please… T A R G E T! Yup, they made it to the big time. I snagged one of their racerback bralettes & honestly, it could be a sleep bra – it’s that comfy. It isn’t the most supportive, but the bra keeps my tits from smacking me in the face when I work out, so I count that as a win.

I will admit, this was a hard one for me to adjust to… but try carrying your own water bottle. Sorry, I know I said I wouldn’t keep going on and on about reusable products, but it’s a big deal. Somedays I forget it; and somedays if I’m in a rush, I’ll grab a plastic one because it’s easier (and I’ll cringe and roll my eyes at myself) but all I’m saying is TRY. Why? One reason, they take 400-1,000 YEARS to decompose. Like, can companies just stop making them? That’d be great. I go back and forth between my beloved YETI & my budget find, Ozark Trail. The Ozark Trail doesn’t keep water cold for nearly as long as my YETI, but it keeps things hot enough for long periods of time which is awesome if you are a tea or coffee fiend (I am, in fact, both of these things).

Buy items that are on rotation the most frequently in bulk. This way you can even find yourself darling jars to keep the items in. Find yourself jars that’ll match any decor – like these. This way, if you are anything like me & can’t put something back to save your life, it’s perfectly fine if they sit out on the counter. 😉

Okay, my newest lil eco lifestyle tip? Honestly, I’m kind of embarrassed about how long it took me to discover this one but try dryer balls – get rid of those disposable dry sheets. There is no reason why those sheets exist, I mean okay we do know they clean baking sheets (shoutout to you, Pinterest!) but other than that? We. Don’t. Need. ‘Em.

My goal this year is to not only keep up with these little lifestyle changes but also introduce more into my everyday life. I would LOVE to hear your tips for how you live a little greener – just lemme know in the comments below. See what I did there?!  #KBye

Happy Earth Day!

xo,
Kate
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buyers-guide-sephora-spring-bonus-2018

It’s that time again! The Sephora Spring Bonus Sale is almost here, and boy, do I need to calm the heck down. Major sales only happen twice a year at Sephora – and just so happens to be the only times I tend to stock up. I wanted to share with you a few items I want to pick up and, I think, you might enjoy!

The Rundown:

Between Friday, April 20 and Monday, April 23, VIB Rouge, VIBs, and BeautyInsiders can shop in-store or online at a discount.

VIB Rouge receive 15% off with the code “YAYROUGE

VIB receive 15% off with the code “YAYVIB

BeautyInsiders* receive 10% off with the code “YAYINSIDER
*If you sign up today – or any day before April 20, you are eligible for the BeautyInsider 10% off during the Spring Bonus Sale. 

There are some exclusions to be aware of:

  • Cannot be applied to previous purchases, gift cards, Flash shipping or PLAY! by Sephora subscriptions, or combined with any Promo Codes.
  • Not valid on The Ordinary
  • Limit of 1 Dyson item “per transaction”
  • Limit of 3 Drunk Elephant items “per transaction”

Okay, now that I’ve got all that out of the way, I now want to share with you a couple products I plan to repurchase, and a few products I plan to purchase and try for the first time!

Skincare

My f a v o r i t e category. And to be honest, I had to REALLY reign it in. There is SO much I want to try, but to keep my skin (and aesthetician) happy, I limited myself to things I really just needed. I know, I know – I’m proud of me too.

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream – $68
An anti-aging moisturizer, and packed with all the good stuff – amino acids, peptides, and growth factors that replenish your skin, and reduces lines, wrinkles, and sun-damage. But what really sealed the deal for me were the reviews from people with similar skin type as me. I’m combination-oily, and want a moisturizer that isn’t heavy, people with my skin type kept saying they could wear this during the day without turning into an oil slick. And the icing on the cake? I kept reading things like, “better texture” and “smaller pores.” Done. Add to cart. I will keep you all apprised of my thoughts on this cream. Me thinks it’ll all be positive.

tarte – Knockout Tingling Treatment – $39
I know what you’re thinking. Skincare from a makeup company? I know – I really think that companies should stay in their lane and perfect whatever category they’re known for. However, I made an exception for this exfoliating toner. I’m a huge fan of lactic (AHA) and salicylic (BHA) acids, and when I saw this – it immediately piqued my interest. So what’d I do? Go to YouTube, of course!

I watched a video from a YouTuber I admire and trust the most, Stephanie Nicole. She talks about the product for five minutes, and she was so impressed by it, that I was sold. This stuff is perfect for any skin type – the only thing I would keep in mind is if you are not used to acids, you may experience a tingling/burning sensation. If you’re not into that idea – stay clear.

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum – $80
A repurchase for myself and Kate. We both see a noticeable difference in how our skin looks and feels – this stuff truly works. Kate and I have seen a difference in our skin tone and texture.

Makeup

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Perfecting Primer – $38
My cousin introduced this primer to me during my trip to California. My skin has been whackadoo lately, and really need to keep the oil slick on my face at bay. It’s to the point where my foundation lays weird and breaks up on my chin and around my nose – I was so over it. I used this primer during my grandpa’s 90th birthday – and my face stayed in place! I was so impressed, that I added to my cart. Here’s to hoping that this stuff holds up to the mugginess that often comes to Maryland during the Spring and Summer months.

COVER FX – Power Play Foundation – $44
Keeping to the same theme in staying as matte as possible. I noticed Cover FX released a new foundation perfect for combination oily skin types. My sister really enjoys this brand, and has encouraged me to check it out. I’m finally taking her advice – so I’m trying this foundation. There are 40 shades to choose from, and offers options for neutral, pink, and golden undertones. The reviews have me really pumped – I keep reading things like, “no transfer” and “stays all day.” My favorite line though – “this foundation survived a half marathon.” If that doesn’t sell it for you, I don’t know what would…

Body

COOLA – Sunless Tan Anti-Aging Face Serum – $54
Because I never leave the house without 50 SPF on my face, it tends to be several shades lighter than the rest of my body. I’m somewhat afraid of tanning oils – but since this is buildable – it makes me less nervous. I also really love this brand because it’s organic and so safe, even pregnant ladies can use it! I’m super excited to try this because, again, the reviews are pretty stellar.

COOLA -Sunless Tan Dry Body Oil Mist – $46
Kate recommended this even before I mentioned the face serum – unfortunately, it’s sold out. But I’m hoping it’ll be available during the sale – even if it isn’t I plan on purchasing anyway. Again, this is a gradual build, and would really just like to maintain a bronzed glow through the summer. I use SPF all over, guys – I’m paranoid.

A Few Other Suggestions…

Fragrances! If you’ve got your eye on a particular perfume or cologne – the Sephora Spring Sale Bonus is the time to buy. Fragrances NEVER go on sale, and are on the pricier side – so save yourself a few bucks. A few suggestions: JO MALONE LONDON Peony & Blush Suede CologneESTÉE LAUDER Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent, and ELIZABETH AND JAMES Nirvana Black. Jo Malone is perfect for Spring (if it ever decides to show up). Bronze Goddess literally smells like summer. Nirvana Black is feminine and masculine all at once and makes me feel sexy – perfect for date night!

Tools! Specifically for cleansing and hair. I cannot live without my clarisonic – this cleansing brush will leave your face squeaky clean. I accidentally left this behind during my trip to California, and noticed that my face felt a little clogged and looked a little dull. When I got back, I used it, and immediately my skin looked and felt 10x better.

The next item I would suggest snagging during this sale is an item I reviewed before – and I am so happy with this trio. The T3 Micro Whirl Interchangeable Styling Wand would be a great addition to your styling tools or if you’re just in the market of a high quality set. Again, a pricier item; however, are rarely on sale.

Alright, there ya have it – my suggestions for the Sephora Spring Bonus Sale!
Have you had your eye on anything?  I would love to know – I’m always up for trying new things.
You’ll also have to tell me if you purchased any of the items, I plan to buy – I would love to trade thoughts.

xo,
Kim
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in Travel

Handy Travel Essentials

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I’m a really good packer. I grew up as a military brat and, as a result, have traveled a lot – I can throw a bag together at a moment’s notice and have everything I need for a comfortable trip. I have a system down and it works! Now that I’m in a relationship that is not only a plus one (my boyfriend), but a plus two (my boyfriend’s eight year old daughter) – a few travel essentials have been added to my list. With that, I wanted to share with you the items that I think everyone should have while traveling.

1. Packing Cubes

You just need these – just “Add to Cart” and click “Purchasenow. These packing cubes make filling a bag so much easier!  Packing cubes not only allow for organization, but also help compress clothes allowing for more room in your bag. Music to an over-packer’s ears! My boyfriend was able to comfortably pack two packing cubes and toiletry bag into his REI backpack. Little Miss and I checked in a bag (because we had to – we usually opt to carry on), and used five packing cubes to organize our clothes. With room to spare for shoes, I might add! This is my number one travel necessity – it’s seriously life changing.

Side story: I even received a compliment from my 85 year old Filipino Grandma – she was so impressed with my packing skills that she immediately asked me to buy her cubes for my grandparent’s trip to the Philippines. I had to tell you all this because a compliment from a Filipino Grandma is hard to come by – and usually, she’s the one schooling us grandkids, not the other way around. 🙂

2. Portable Battery Charger

When you’re in tourist mode, your phone is used a lot. Not only for photos, but also for navigation. With the amount of driving and picture taking, there was no way our phones would’ve powered through the whole day. This battery charger saved us a number of times. The charger allows for two devices to charge at a time, and allows for MULTIPLE charges. Genius. I didn’t have to charge the battery at all during our trip.

3. Hand Sanitizer Wipes and Toilet Seat Covers

Oh my goodness – public restrooms. They scare the hell out of me; I would much rather deal with a poltergeist. Anyway, over my dead body will I ever purposely sit my cutie little tush on an unclean toilet seat. Yes, I do practice the art of hovering; but not all toilet seat heights are created equal – some are just too damn high – so I can’t and neither can the Little Miss for that matter. With that, toilet seat covers came in handy. Also, I definitely had extra to spare and offered a couple seat covers to women equally disgusted. Did I make new friends? You bet your hiney, I did.

While most of these restrooms had working sinks, my hands felt even dirtier after washing my hands (that’s normal, right?). I really just wanted to ensure all of the germs were gone, so the hand sanitizer wipes came in handy. These also came in handy when Little Miss decided to eat with her whole face instead of just her mouth. HA! 

4. Expandable Getaway Bag

Perfect for travel! The getaway bag is classified as a personal item, which is a bonus because I rarely a check bag. This bag fits right under the seat, and my carry on luggage pops right in the overhead bin. Match made in heaven. Anyway, one of the main reasons I love this bag so much is because it EXPANDS. This allowed Little Miss and I to bring back a few things we picked up in California. For her: Harry Potter’s wand and random bobbles; Me: a shoebox full of lemons and calamansi (fruit that is a cross between an orange and lime) picked fresh from my grandma’s garden. Priorities, people, priorities. 

These handy travel essentials are just a couple of the items that I always pack, no matter where I go or for how long. These items, in particular, were lifesavers during our trip to California and honestly made the trip so much easier.
What are some items you always bring along on a trip? I’d love to know!

xo,
Kim
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