DIY · Uncategorized

Making my own style with Cricut Explore Air

Graphic tees seem to be all the rage these days. I am always seeing these great t-shirts with cute logos and hashtags on them. Unfortunately a lot of them come from the US and shipping to Canada isn’t always an option. So how does a girl stay in style? Use her Cricut Explore Air, of course.

I decided for my latest Cricut project that I would up the style game for my son and myself and make us both graphic tees.  Cricut has their Iron On vinyl in a variety of colors including glitter so I was ready to go.  All I needed was a t-shirt for each of us and I was ready to start creating.

My son being the huge penguin lover that he is, I knew that we had to find him something with penguins on it for his shirt.  I found a cute little logo on Etsy and got that one for him.  Once I was able to upload it to Design Space, I was able to use the Set Canvas function to select a child size tshirt to ensure the size of the image would set properly on the t-shirt.  This is such a great feature so that you aren’t guessing and wasting supplies or time.

One I was ready to print, I made sure I selected to Mirror image my logo so that it would cut properly.

You need to cut your image with the shiny side down of the iron on vinyl or you will end up with the iron on material on the wrong side.

Once I had the image cut and weeded, I was able to place the image on to the t-shirt to place it properly before ironing it on.

I used my regular iron set on the highest (Cotten/Linen) setting and made sure to iron the shirt just prior to placing the logo so that it was warm.  Once I placed the logo in place, I used a tea towel over top to protect the plastic transfer paper.  I ensured to use a lot of pressure to make sure the iron on vinyl set properly into place.

After letting the transfer cool a bit, I removed the transfer paper and the shirt was ready to wear.  It looked great and my son loved it!

For myself, I just went into Design Space and found a font that I like and using a phrase that I liked, I printed up a t-shirt for myself using the same steps as I did for my son’s.

Both of shirts have now been washed (inside out) and the transfers still look as good as new.   So now keeping up with the graphic shirt style is easy for us.

There are so many great ideas on the Cricut website to use for inspiration, I can’t wait to figure out my next project.  Stay tuned.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Monday Motivation – It’s a whole new year

I decided that with a new year starting, it was time to change things up a bit here on the blog.  Instead of my Friday Fitness posts, I felt that Motivation Mondays were the new year to do things around here.  As much as my fitness and healthy eating are a big priority still, I felt that my journey was more a reflection of my motivation to be a better “me” overall.

I also decided that this will not be a weekly post, but bi-weekly.  I found that trying to post a weekly Fitness Friday a little bit stressful.  I didn’t want to just post for the sake of posting and not have any real, worthy content.  Every other week is probably a little more manageable to get decent, readable content out there.

2017 is a biggie for me, as I will be turning 45.  Eeeks!!!  It’s about time I really focus on what I want in life and how I can achieve it, as I am not getting any younger and it won’t get any easier.  I want to make 45 my best year yet and this is giving me the motivation to eat better, continue my fitness routine (or even step it up a bit) and see what else there is out there for me to improve.

Like 90% of the population, I started 2017 with my “got to eat better and workout more” resolution.  I have been doing okay so far.  Not the best, but not completely horrible.  But today, with the boy back to school and I am starting to get into the groove of working from home full time, I can really move forward and get things going.

I am a creature of habit and when my day to day routine goes off track, so do I.  So hopefully this week with routine returning, my motivation and success will return as well.  One of the biggest ways for me to keep on track is to put my workout clothes on as early as possible in the day so that when the time comes for me to workout, there is no excuses, I am ready to go!   I also need to ensure I am wearing my Fitbit.  I have been really, really bad about getting my steps in since way before the holidays, so I need step it up.  Pun intended.

 

I talk about my Fitbit a lot, and if you don’t have an activity tracker, I totally suggest you look into getting one.  They are so motivating and it really shows you how active or inactive you are each day.  If you don’t know much about trackers, you can check out this article that compares and rates some of the more well know trackers out there.  They can be a bit of an investment, but again, totally worth it you are looking to get moving and motivated.

There is that age old saying “you are what you eat”.   As much as one exercises, if you are eating way more calories then you are exerting, there is no way you are going to ever lose any weight.  I decided to try following the 21 Day fix program.  I started following it loosely last week and this week I am really trying to really stick to it.  It has been a total eye opener in that I truly do not have a well balance diet.  I am way to carb heavy and never get enough protein. I am really trying to change this and hoping it will be a huge help in my weight loss journey.

I know that eating well and exercising rank highly on a lot of peoples New Years Resolution list, and I hope that if you are one of those people, that you are staying on track and keeping motivated.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

It’s almost New Years Eve and it is time to say goodbye to 2016.  I can’t say it was the best year of my life and I can definitely say it wasn’t the worst year of my life. Sure it had it’s highs and it’s lows and there are memories that I will never forget, but it just wasn’t a standout year.  Although it was the year that I did start this crazy adventure called blogging, in all honesty, it was really just another year.

As I say goodbye to 2016, I am entering 2017 already with a bit of change.  My job has changed in that I am still in the same role per se, but I now have the opportunity to work from my home office full time.  Being able to commute the 3.5 seconds from my bedroom to my office is definitely going to have it’s perks and I somehow think that leggings are going to become a staple in my wardrobe.  I am anticipating all the good things that can come from this change.

In 2017, I will be turning……eeeeks 45.  Yes, no longer my early 40’s but at that peak and heading closer to 50.  My goal is to say goodbye to negativity, drama and not always feeling good in my own skin and saying hello to happiness and becoming the best version of myself.  I want to stop the bad eating habits and exercise consistently.  This summer I want to be able to wear a bikini and not care that I am not a size 2.

I was doing quite well with my Fitness Friday segments but as the holidays grew closer, I let them fall to the wayside and all my good habits that I was starting to enjoy went to the wayside as well.  As I sit here typing, everything feels tight and squishy and I don’t feel good about it at all.  Time to get back in the saddle and do what it good for me.  Sure, I know 95% of the population makes resolutions to lose weight but this year just feels different to me.  I want to do this, I need to do this.

I also need to focus on being better to myself.  Being a Mom, I way to often turn my focus to other things and put myself and the bottom of the priority list.  That doesn’t mean I am going to make it all about me but I am going to allow myself to do things for myself guilt free.  Even if it’s a few minutes in the evening to read a book or give myself a pedicure,  I am going to enjoy that time and not feel the least bit bad about it.

My son is getting older by the second and soon hanging with Mom isn’t going to be so cool anymore.  I want to make this next period of our lives really count.  I want to enjoy our time together making memories, doing things.  Things that we both will look back on and be glad we did them, together.  What does that exactly mean?  I am not sure but we will sure have fun trying.

I am going re-evaluate what’s important and focus on those things.   So as the clock ticks closer and closer to the close of 2016, I say goodbye to what was and hello to what is to come.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Enjoying the holidays with Bulletproof

elevate

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  But it is also one of the busiest and stressful for most people, including myself.  And with the start of cold and flu season, it is a virtual trifecta for my body to stage a revolt.  For years I have let the holidays get the best of me and by Christmas day, I am almost always sick and miserable.

This year, I have decided to not leave everything to the last minute, trying to reduce the stress and actually enjoy the holidays.  I have also decided that although I am not even going to try and “diet” through the holiday season, I am going to try and be more mindful about what I am eating.  It’s not a holiday season without treats and rich goodies, but all in moderation.

Anyone who knows me knows my day doesn’t start without a coffee in my hand.  It’s always been double cream, double sugar.  Yeah, not the healthiest way to start my day but I need my fuel.  Could there actually be a healthier way to start my day and still have my coffee?  It’s not the actual coffee that is all that bad for you, it’s all the fatty cream and sugar that make it unhealthy.

I had heard of the concept of buttered coffee before, but Bulletproof coffee takes to the next level.  By using an upgraded coffee and blending it with grass-fed unsalted butter, and their Brain Octane Oil, Bulletproof is a low toxin, high performance coffee full of healthy fats to fuel you.

product

Don’t get me wrong; when I first heard about it, I was skeptical on several levels.  Could I actually enjoy a coffee that didn’t have sugar in it?  How could Bulletproof do more than just give me that of energy to get my day start that my daily coffee doesn’t already do?

From the start, they use a proprietary method in their coffee production to minimize the opportunity for mold toxins to occur.  As we all know mold can contribute to a number of chronic health issues and that is the last thing I want to worry about.  Their Brain Octane Oil which really differentiates Bulletproof from other coffees, helps burn fat, is a reliable energy source without the crash and is made from 100% coconut oil.    A coffee that helps burn fat, sign me up!

It’s a little more work to make than hopping in the car and hitting the drive thru but for something healthier in my cup each morning I am willing to take the time.

early-morning

After adding the Brain Octane and grass-fed ghee to the BulletProof brewed coffee you mix it all in a blender until frothy like a latte.

It was a bit of a different consistency then I had imagined, it was the oiliness from the ghee that made it different.  Not in a bad way, just different and I was surprised that I didn’t feel the need to have sugar in it.

Almost immediately I noticed that it affected me differently than regular coffee.  I didn’t feel that immediate burst of jittery energy; it was energy but not the jitteriness.  I felt more alert and ready to conquer my day.  Normally by noon, I am starving and but my hunger levels were definitely much more controlled.  And come 2pm when I normally seem to hit the wall, I was still going strong.

hot-cup

This past week, when I have had a busier than usual schedule due to holiday commitments and activities, this new found energy level has been more than helpful.  At the end of the day, I am not crawling into bed, I am able to enjoy my evenings and get things done.

So with only a few weeks left, I am hoping Bulletproof will continue the good it seems to be doing for me and I will be healthy and happy for the holidays.  I am looking forward to continuing to use Bulletproof into the New Year and incorporating it into my New Year’s resolution of more exercise and eating better.  With this energy, it should be a breeze.  And you should check out the Bulletproof blog to help incorporate more healthy living ideas into your routine.

elevate-the-holidays

This post is sponsored and although I was compensated, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly my own.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

The Clouds are Crying, Mommy.

clouds are sad

I was not planning to write a post today but then on the way to dropping my son off to school today, he said something that broke my heart.  It’s a typical rainy and windy fall day here today.  As we were getting in the car, he said “When it rains, it means the clouds are crying Mommy! Why are the clouds so sad?”

In retrospect, we’ve had a lot of death and sickness in our circle of family and friends lately.  We’ve had family members, family of friends, and even pets pass in the past few weeks.  It is also the anniversary of several friends family passing around this time of year.   By this time in my life, I had already been subjected to the death of my twin sister, more than any 8 year old should have to bear so I try to keep the subject of death as far removed from my son as possible.

I tried to explain that sometimes things happen that make the clouds sad.  Crying can help them deal with their emotions.  I tried to use examples of times he was sad and cried to make him understand. And then he said it “Mommy, why are so many sad things happening lately?”  My heart broke into a million pieces.  Keeping my composure was tough.  How was I supposed to respond to this?  I simply asked him what he meant.  As he started listing off a few things, I knew he wasn’t just a baby anymore that I could just pass things over.  He is a boy now and sadly able to comprehend the world around him.

I tried to explain to him that there was no explanation for it.  I tried to explain my superstition of things happening in 3’s.  I tried to explain that there will be times in our life with dark clouds and rain but we have to look for the sun shining behind those clouds.  I am not a overly religious person, but I try to believe that above those dark clouds are our angels up in heaven.  I tried to explain that sometimes our Angels up in Heaven get sad too and this is the result of that.

My explanation seemed to give him some comfort and give him an answer he could understand.  Crying is life helping us deal with our emotions, crying isn’t a bad thing.   So during those dark and gloomy days,  try to look on the other side of the darkness into the brightness ahead.   And when it seems like a multitude of bad things are happening, there will be an end and things will get better.  I want him not to dwell on the bad things life hands us but look for the good instead.

Tonight I will hug him a little tighter and try to focus on good things we have in our life and try to remove those rain clouds from his mind.

What I'm Wearing

Getting ready for fall in style with PinkBlush

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

Now that summer is over, it is time to put away the flip flops and the shorts and time to bring out the fall clothes.  The one thing about fall that can often make deciding what to wear a bit difficult is that in the morning you could need a coat/sweater and by the afternoon you almost want to go back to summer wear.  It’s all about transition pieces with me, like hat light sweater and light dress that can lead you from cool mornings to warm afternoons in comfort.

sitting

That is what I love about PinkBlush.  I have to admit when I first heard about PinkBlush, I thought they were just a trendy online boutique for maternity wear.  But not only do they carry super stylish maternity clothes, they also carry a great line of clothes for women.  A huge plus is that a lot of their line are amazing transition pieces.  They carry you from everyday into maternity and back again.  So that great dress or sweater that you love, can be worn anytime.  I know that a lot of women struggle with feeling stylish during there pregnancy and afterwards, luckily with there is no need to worry with the PinkBlush line.

standing

Their line does not just include dresses, there are tops, pants, sweaters and their dress line ranges from casual to formal.  There are so many beautiful pieces and they are easy to wear.  I love this tunic dress that I found at PinkBlush.  It is so incredibly comfortable and the lightweight fabric makes it a great piece to pair up with a jean jacket or sweater on a beautiful fall day.  Pair it up with a set of tights and a heavier sweater and it will easily work into my winter wardrobe as well.  I am looking forward to ordering more pieces from them.  This dress is so easy to wear, I want to add other easy to wear pieces to my wardrobe.  sitting-2

Interested in winning a $50 gift card to use to update your wardrobe with something from PinkBlush?  Head over to my Instagram page and enter to win.  Contest open to residents of Canada and the US and must not have won from PinkBlush in the past 3 months.  Contest ends Wednesday, October 12th at 12 noon EST.

Special thanks to Melissa Nash for photography help.

Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Enjoying the sun with Real Shades

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

peekaboo

Sure summer is over, but that doesn’t mean that sun isn’t still going to shine and our eyes are going to need protection.  In fact, I sometime find that I need my sunglasses more into the fall and winter more than I do in the summer.   You only get one set of eyes, so you need to make sure that you protect them.  And if you can do it with a bit of style and flare, even better.

my-glasses-and-pack

Real Shades (previously known as Real Kids Shades) has been providing a line of affordable, quality sunglasses that provide 100% UVA/UVB protection for  children since 2002 and have recently expanded their line to include teenagers and adults.  They work with Prevent Blindness America to stress the importance of keeping our children’s eyes protected.

Even though our optometrist has told my son that wearing sunglasses to protect his eyes is as important as wearing sunscreen to protect his skin, getting him to wear a pair has always been a struggle.  When we received our sunglasses from Real Shades, my son couldn’t wait to try them on.  And ever since, he actually asks to wear them.  It’s a sigh of relief that he is now keeping his previous eyes protected.

side-view

The one thing I really liked about Real Shades is they recognize that one size sunglasses do not fit all.  Normally, I can only find kids sizes that fit kids my sons age or full adult size.  For me personally, I often find that full adult sizes don’t fit me properly and I my eyes are not getting protected properly.  I was able to try a pair of the Young Adult size sunglasses and they fit me perfectly and they look super stylish and not like I am wearing kids glasses.

me-with-sunglasses

Real Shades has a wide range of different style, colors and sizes to fit and please everyone and their affordable price makes protecting your eyes easy on your wallet.  You can learn more about Real Shades on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page.

both-pairs

 

DIY · Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Back to school in groovy tie-dye style

A few weeks back, we were doing a little shopping and I asked my son if he wanted to pick out a new shirt for back to school.  He looked at me and gave me a huge sigh. For the life of me I didn’t I couldn’t understand his frustration until he said “Mommy, do I HAVE to buy a new shirt for back to school?  Can’t I got back to school as plain old me?” My heart melted.  If he doesn’t want to fuss and muss with back to school wear, so be it.

About a week later, we were discussing crafts and things we wanted to do and he talked about making a tie-dye shirt.  He had made one at camp earlier in the summer but the shirt was already a bit small on him.  (We’ve had a 1 1/2 inch growth spurt since July.)  It sounded like a fun idea and so I headed off to our local Michael’s to pick up supplies.  Luckily for me, the day I went, the shirts were on sale and there were 2 coupons available for me to use on my purchase.  My purchase ended up costing me less than half the regular retail price.

The goods

My son was thrilled when he came home and saw our impending craft.  He immediately decided this was going to be the shirt he wore to back to school.  There were kits with 5 and 10 different colors but I settled for one with 3 for our first attempt.   Next time, I would love to try more colors.

I made sure we wore old clothes that would be okay if they got stained and made sure the floor was well covered with plastic to ensure the mess factor was kept to a minimum.  The instructions were really easy to follow and before you knew it, our shirts were dyed.  They recommend letting the colors cure for 6-8 hours.  We ended up leaving ours overnight.  Mr. Impatient, however, couldn’t wait to see the end product.

Partway thru my shirt

Partway thru his shirt

I swear we were only up for 10 minutes the next morning, when my son asked if we could see our shirts.  I had to rinse the excess color from them and then put them thru the wash but at least we got a sneak peak before I had to throw them in the dryer.  They turned out amazing!!  Definitely not one of my epic Pinterest fails that I have endured before.

Done

We each made one for ourselves and then we used the excess magenta dye and the extra shirt to make a shirt for my son to wear when they have Pink Shirt Day for anti-bullying later on this school year.  I ended up wearing mine that day to a friends bbq and got a ton of compliments.  And of course my son, wore his to back to school.  He LOVED it.

me all done

back to school

It was definitely a fun, inexpensive and easy craft to do with my son.  I am pretty sure we will be adding more of these to our wardrobes.

My son and I love to do all kinds of crafts however, after a few Pinterest fails, I became a little disenchanted.  With winter approaching, I was thinking I would need to start finding some new craft ideas when going outside wasn’t a great option.  I was kind of dreading it to be honest.  This has given me new motivation to find some new fun crafts.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – I am in a funk and I need some help!

1

Maybe it’s because summer is almost over, and I am not happy about that.  Or maybe, I let myself get too lazy when on holidays, but I just can’t seem to get my butt back in gear.  Or maybe I am just not seeing the results I was hoping for,  but I seem to be in a total funk.  My motivation to go to the gym is pretty much zero and I’d much rather have a donut than a salad.   I am still tracking everything I eat and getting my 10,000 steps in every day but I just don’t seem to have the “want” anymore.

I have been here before and this is where everything goes terribly wrong and I completely fall off the wagon.   At least it is good that I am acknowledging it and not just ignoring it.

In a Funk

With winter coming,  I am getting a bit nervous as I tend to fall into hibernation mode and pack on the pounds over the long Canadian winter.  Let’s get real, aside from a bit of skiing and tobogganing, who really wants to go out in this????

Snow winter

The answer is NOT me!!

So as my title says, I need some help.  Maybe some new workout gear would help or trying something new at the gym would give me more motivation but not sure.  I have been trying to find a challenge or group that will help keep me accountable and get me out of this funk.  Anyone have any suggestions???  Your help would definitely be appreciated.

Until them, I am going to try and keep pushing through this funk!  Wish me luck!

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Current Favorites

1

Since I started my Fitness Friday posts, I’ve had a couple of people ask me about where I got my tights or my favorite shoes, etc so I thought today I would share a few of my favorites in relation to my fitness journey.  This is not a sponsored post nor are their any affiliate links, this is just my 2 cents!

Favorite Workout Gear:

Being a single Mom on a very, very tight budget, I don’t tend to have the means to spend a lot of $$ on my workout gear so when I find something that works for me, I tend to stay pretty faithful to it.  Not that I not open to try new things, I just tend to be a bit of a creature of habit.  Also, nothing worse than spending money on something I never end up using.

Clothing:

My #1 go to for tanks, tights and sports bra has to be Old Navy.  I love the feel of their compression tights.  They keep everything nice and tight and no jiggling.   Their maximum support sports bra is best one that I have found so far.  I am sorry for my crassness but there is nothing worse than trying to work out and the girls bouncing out of control.  If they aren’t under control, my workout is a complete fail.  I end up being more worried about what others are seeing and thinking then concentrating on actually working out.

All me
Shoes:

I have been unfortunately blessed with very flat feet and a bit of sciatic issue so I need decent shoes on my feet or by bedtime I am paying for it.  Summer flip flops (as much I love and live in them) are probably my arch nemesis.   Through the years, I have always seemed to have good luck with Saucony.  They seem to fit my feet nicely and at the end of the day, my feet aren’t aching.  I love the hot pink laces in my latest pair.

Other Gear:

Currently, I have the FitBit Charge HR.   Any one who knows me, knows that I am obsessed with my FitBit.    In my mind if I am not wearing my FitBit when I am exercising, the exercise never happened.  I love to be able to look at my app at the end of the day and see what I was able to accomplish.  Right now I am on a 33 day streak with 10K steps in a day and not looking to break it.

 Favorite Fitness/Weightloss bloggers:

We’re all on our own journey, and everybody goes about it a different way.  Finding others that you can relate to on their own journey can be very motivating.  I have found 2 out there, that although their goals and achievements are very different than mine, they aren’t too proud to share when they have had a bad day, week, month and that they struggle just like I do.  There have been days when the last thing I want to do is eat healthy or go to the gym and then I see something that they have posted and it gives me that extra kick in the butt.  If you are looking for some inspiration, check out these lovely ladies!!

  1.  Get Down with Dani – Weightloss Journey  – Dani has lost over 150lbs and is sharing hows she plans to lose another 50.  She always seems so genuine in her posts and has definitely had her ups and down.   She definitely has inspired me to keep with my journey going.  It may be a slow road but it will be worth it in the end.
  2. Trading Cardio for Cosmos – Alexis has lost over a 100lbs and has such a great personality.  It is her “Never Miss a Monday” mantra that I have adopted with my workouts.

Favorite Food:

This is absolutely where I struggle the most and have the worst time staying on track.  I love a good burger and sweets are definitely my weakness. Slowly but surely, I am finding alternates to curb my hunger when needed.  Right now, I would have to say my top “healthy” foods would have to be:

  1.  Green Smoothies (spinach/kale with a ton of fruit) – great way to start my morning
  2. Greek yogurt with trail mix – another morning favorite
  3. Farm Boy detox salad  (I could eat this every day!)

Salad

Weekly Accountability

Exercise:  2 x gym visits, 1 x 45 minute walk, 2 x 30 minute walk
Food Management:  Stayed on track 6 of the 7 days (Again, a few bad choices but overall, not too bad)