Friday, November 15, 2013

November Birchbox

It that time of the month again...... BIRCHBOX TIME!!
  Like always I couldn't wait to tear into my box when I got home from work. I track it through my email so it always makes for a long day when I know it is just sitting there waiting to be opened.

1st up...
10 Miracle Leave- In Product
I used it this morning and my hair feels like silk! I love it.

TOCCA Creama de Mano
With it being Winter I need as much moisturiser as possible.

Color Club Cocktail Hour.
Everyone that has read my Birchbox posts from the past know that nail polish is probably my most favorite thing to get. I right away took off my old polish and applied this pretty color. Great thing is it matches almost everything!

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips
I didn't realize this was for lips. I will be trying this out as soon as I get home!

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir
I normally do not get many perfumes because I don't wear it a lot. But I am wearing this now and I think I have found a new favorite scent!

They sent me this yummy treat for the Holidays. I think I will be giving it to the bf.

Isn't it great. I just love my monthly gift to myself!!
My newest craft project. I will be sharing next week :)

Anyone doing anything exciting this weekend? I can't wait to share all the beautiful photos from my bf's sister's baby shower this weekend!!
Day 12 Group LittleBlueDress Challenge
Breakfast 2 eggs with mixed fruit and 1 tbsp of gronala
Lunch: speg squash with ground chicken and low sugar marinara with side salad (spinach, peppers feta and hummus)
Snack: non fat yogurt and nuts
Dinner: grilled  chicken salad no dressing

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Most Thankful For

With the Holidays coming up I wanted to share the things I am most thankful for. With this crazy world we live in, sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the hussel and bussel and forget what really matters.

So here I go!!

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

My Momma

My Daddy

My Health
My Siblings



When the Bowen Bunch is all together!

The BF


My Fabulous Friends


And their BABIES!!!

Miss Motor

 A Roof Over My Head

 Food On The Table

An Education

Family friends that have lasted since we were babies

and My Extended Family

I'd say I have a lot to be thankful for ♥

Hope everyone is getting excited about the Holiday Season, I know I sure am!!

Day 11 Group LittleBlueDress Challenge
Breakfast: 2 eggs with sugar free syrup and mixed fruit
Lunch: speg squash with ground chicken and low sugar marinara
Snack: non fat yogurt
Dinner: imt. crab meat with ketchup (sounds gross but I love it) and almonds


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Personal Story and Overcoming

Today's post is probably my most personal, important post yet.
I can't remember a time when I wasn't concerned or thought about my body and my weight. When I was even as young as Middle School I can remember some boys calling me names for not being "thin". Even though they were just being boys,.  I never knew that it might effect me later in life.

When I reached High School I started public school and I was excited to make new friends and try out  for school sports. I was excited to have boyfriends, go on dates and prom. I remember that first day of school I  took hours to get ready because I wanted to look perfect. I walked up to this whole new world and was ready to conquer it. Boy was I wrong, it was not how I thought it would be. I would compare myself with all the girls constantly and found myself in a dark hole that I couldn't seem to crawl out of. I was always very good with hiding my issues with my body but a lot of the time I would hide them by eating. Which is a very dangerous road to go down because then you have that constant guilt. My whole freshman year I didn't have one date, one boyfriend and I started to think something was wrong with me. I would stand in front of my mirror and try to figure out what it was.  Finally my freshman year was over, thank goodness. I started my sophomore year off with a great start, I had made cheerleading. and  met my high school sweetheart and everything was perfect. I kind of threw my body issues under the rug. But I then realized it was impossible to just forget about them. I found myself hiding behind people in pictures, counting calories and really just trying to look like all my " skinny " girlfriends. I finally began to lose weight that year because I was cheering and played soccer but still deep down was obsessed with what I looked like. This continued throughout high school and into college. But when I got into college things were way different. I no longer had my mom to remind me that I can't just eat whatever I want. I gained about 35 pounds my freshman year. I look at pictures of me then and can't even recognize myself. When I came home that summer I will never forget the first conversation I had with my mom. She came out and said I had to do something about my weight. She was not doing it to hurt me but to really save me, and she did. That summer I focused on me and me only. I started the South Beach Diet and lost all the weight and more. When I went back to school that fall I will never forget people's reactions. It felt so good. But then I was back to the cafe food, late night eating and so on. I found myself going back to my old ways. This is when I hit bottom. I was so deep in that dark hole that I couldn't even try to get out. I did things to my body that were so unhealthy and made me so unhappy. My last 3 years of college were a complete battle, everyday. I was so ready to graduate and get out of that environment . Finally the day came and I walked across that stage and never looked back.
A few months after I graduated I got a job in Raleigh and was excited to move to a new city and start fresh. This was the time in my life where I slowly started crawling out of that dark hole. I started taking better care of my body and really focusing on being healthy.  I worked crazy hours so I didn't have much down time to just sit around and eat. Things were great. I then met my now boyfriend but  I still had that little demon saying that I wasn't pretty enough, that I was fat, etc. Once we started dating there were many dinner dates and late night trips through the drive thru and I once again saw myself going back to my old habits. I literally remember thinking to myself one morning, what am I do to myself?
After a couple of years I moved to SC for a new job. Once again a fresh start. I started out like I always do, tried to get "thin" fast. I would get so obsessed with looking perfect that it was disgusting. But I could never get rid of that voice in my head telling me I was fat.

Then this year came and it has been the best year of my life. I remember thinking to myself last January that I really had to do something about my issues once and for all. So I decided to start this blog. I knew that if I had something to keep me accountable I would be able to succeed. I had to start slow and had to deal with my demons face on. I had to work at loving myself for me everyday. I had to teach myself to not care what others think. It has been a day by day process but slowly I started filling that dark hole with cement. I did a lot of research on body issues and healthy living and learned that it is okay not to be a size 0 as long as you are healthy. I feel that I have become a new person this year. I look at life completely different. I don't get so caught up in the small things anymore and really focus on what is important. I said goodbye to those demons and told them they were no longer welcome. Now I am not saying that I don't sometimes still have those thoughts anymore. Even this past weekend, being the smallest I have ever been, I still looked at some pictures and saw an overweight girl. But I had to tell myself. This is you, God made you how he wanted you to look, love yourself.  After saying that the negatives in my head go away. Today I am a strong, healthy woman and will stay that way. I have closed up that dark hole and will never let myself fall back in. Life is too short to be obsessed with something that in the end could kill you. So finally I learned to be truly happy. 
I wanted to share my story today because so many people deal with these demons daily and it doesn't make you any less of a person. More people have these issues then you would think, you are not alone. Something that I always try to remember is ♥"Be known for the beauty that comes from within.." -I Peter 3:4 ♥.
This article helped me through my life changing year.

Body image is the way you perceive yourself – and how you think others perceive you. Magazines featuring air-brushed photos of beautiful women who still weren’t beautiful enough should tell us that striving for perfection is futile.
From toddlers, labels are attached that begin to define body image and sense of self.
    • Chubby – fat, chunky, big, hefty, plump
    • Pretty – cute, handsome, beautiful, attractive
    • Skinny – thin, lean, bony, scrawny
    • Tall, short, dark, pale, tomboy, girlie, athletic…the list goes on.
All of these labels put individuals in a box. That box becomes the method used to define ourselves and the people around us. That box is restricting, self-defeating and often cruel.

Girls as young as FIVE are worried about their weight – and want to be thinner.
If the labels are perceived as positive, we strive to remain within that idea at all costs. If the labels are perceived as negative, we feel less than or not as good as the people who are labeled as ideal.
Trying to overcome negative body image is a painful process – one you might not think affects you.
When you think of negative body image, you may picture young people going through puberty. That awkward stage of acne, growth spurts and clumsiness.
Experts believe as much as 91% of all women are dissatisfied with their body.
Girls, boys, women and men. Negative body image does not affect one group or even one gender. The statistics for men are difficult to gauge because negative body image among males is a silent epidemic. overcome negative body image
Every person is unique. It is easy to say “love yourself” and hard to do if you focus on those labels of too fat, too skinny, too tall or too short.
Compared to who?
Our goal should not be outward appearance but total body health. If you treat your body – the only one you will ever have – with respect, it will reflect in how you feel about yourself and how others perceive you.

Top 10 Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image

    1. Don’t be mean to yourself…or anyone else. What you think about others are often the same thoughts you use when you judge yourself. If you make fun of people you deem “ugly” or “overweight” then your per-occupation with your own outward appearance can reach unhealthy levels. If you lump people different than you in an “other” column – as if they are a different “type” or “species” than you – it is impossible to view yourself objectively.
    2. Forget the DIET hype. People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders, are more likely to binge eat and cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues that include depression, irritability, anxiety, digestive problems and metabolic syndrome.
    Diets don’t work – 95% of people who diet gain back the weight they lose and often gain more than they originally lost. Looking and feeling good are common sense. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success!
    3. Put body image in perspective. Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self – consider focusing your attention on education, hobbies and socializing with your friends. Keeping your mind engaged will help you notice others with the same interests. Working to get fit and healthy is an admirable goal but it should never consume your life.
    4. Know your body and accept it. Perhaps you inherited your mother’s larger hips or your father’s height and broad shoulders. Our genetics are a strange cocktail that are unique to every person and learning to love your body is the first step in working with your particular body size and shape.
    Having the same size and weight goals of a person six inches shorter or taller than you is unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure. You may be the same height as a friend who is a perfect size six but may have a much larger build. Don’t diet to fit anyone else expectations. It is your body, your health and you are the only one who has the right to dictate what is “right” for you.
    5. Listen to your body – it will not lie. When you aren’t getting the right nutrition you are going to feel it. Inability to sleep deeply, stress and anxiety, feelings of fatigue and sluggishness, lack of focus and a greater urge for high-fat/high-sugar foods. When your body feels like it’s dragging, you get greater cravings for caffeine and sugar. Masking poor nutrition only makes the problem worse over time.
    6. Solve problems – do not try to eat them. Any person is susceptible to developing an eating disorder. When we are sad, angry or filled with anxiety, our natural response is to reach for comfort food.
    Those foods that “make us feel better” are typically not healthy and will only result in more anxiety if you gain weight or feel bad physically. Get to the root of things that bother you. Don’t bottle them up and remember: there is nothing wrong with asking for help!
    7. Celebrities are not “average” people! Remember that most celebrities are paid based on how they look on camera. They have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair.
    When they become pregnant or go through a tough time, they have a team of people who helps them drop the weight fast and get back to “camera weight” without the distractions the average person has. Many celebrities have spoken out about suffering for years with eating disorders, emotional problems and drug addiction to maintain their public image.
    Your standards for getting fit should encompass your life as it is right now – not the unrealistic “rapid” weight loss of an actress. Then there is all the Photoshopping of otherwise beautiful women and men. If perfection is impossible – even for them – why would you strive for it?
    8. Set goals that are realistic and healthy. If you are overweight, out of shape, want to take up running or cycling, want to build more lean muscle mass or simply wish to feel good in that little black dress you bought – know that progress takes time.
    Healthy weight loss is considered by experts to be one pound per week. If that doesn’t seem like much – remember that in the course of one year you will lose more than 50 pounds! Losing weight the healthy way increases your chances of keeping it off for good!
    9. Celebrate the beauty of you! Loving yourself, respecting yourself and appreciating all the wonderful things about you make you more confident, increase self-esteem and make you more attractive to others. It isn’t about how many inches your waist is. It isn’t about your clothing size. Nor is it about whether or not you have six-pack abs.
    Appreciate what makes you unique, what makes you special – you will see so many incredible qualities in yourself if you take the time to look. Be your biggest fan!
    10. Ask for help if you need it. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up – who contribute to your happiness – and look to them when you falter in your goals. Whether you need help sticking to a healthy eating plan, a buddy to workout with, a personal trainer to show you how to do the exercise that is right for you or someone to discuss emotional issues with – ASK. There are so many people willing and able to help.

Read more:

Day 10 Group LittleBlueDress Challenge
Breakfast: 2 eggs with mixed fruit and a tsp of gronola
Lunch: enchilada chicken soup
Snack: non fat yogurt
Pre workout snack- green apple
Dinner: enchilda chicken soup

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Enchilada Chicken Soup and Week One of the Group LittleBlueDress Challenge

It is getting quite chilly here in SC and the best way to warm yourself up..... is nice big bowl of hot soup.

What you will need
crushed tomatoes
no salt added corn
black beans (drained)
fat free low sodium chicken broth
enchilada sauce
green chilies
taco seasoning
ground chicken or turkey
I started by cooking my ground chicken.
Once that was cooked I just added everything to a large pot and mixed together. I also filled the can of chicken broth up with water and added.

Then covered and turned on low and let cook for about 2 hours. I'm not sure of the exact time I was packing up my apartment.

When it was ready I packaged it up and now I have lunch for the rest of the week. So easy and healthy!!

Now to the Group LittleBlueDress Challenge.
Everyone made it through their first week and is doing great. I asked a few of the girls to explain how their first week went and how it was different from before.

*I have had a mixed bag of success. I succumbed to the carbs on Friday night while having dinner at Bouchon in Asheville. But I haven't had any soda in a week and that's very impressive for me. I don't know if I have ever gone longer than a day or so without a coke. And I got back on the wagon quickly instead of letting the wagon run me over repeatedly this weekend.

*This past week I have been more successful then I thought I could be or ever have been before. I credit that YOU ladies, thank you so much for keeping me accountable! Overall the first week went well, I did have some intense sugar cravings on Day 2 and Day 4, but I didn't do cardio on Day 3 and I noticed that if I get a good cardio in then I crave sugar less the next day. I am not sure if this is mental or just my body reacting to healthy food and exercise. I did have a cheat meal, it was on Friday evening. I attending a charity gala as a representative for work. The catering was sponsored by a 'luxe' bbq place so it was very hard to resist but I only had grilled zucchini, potatoes, and pulled pork. NO bun and NO dinner roll, which I made sure my friends noticed... it was a proud moment That night however I was starving and craved in and got a sub. I did get right back on track the next morning and the rest of the weekend! I am looking forward to this next week. I have only drank water, limited myself to 1 coffee a day, cut out processed sugar, cut out bad carbs ( I have keep quinoa, brown rice, healthier GF grains in my diet for now), lean meats, 5-6 meals a day, and exercise 4x a week.

*This first week created more of a transformation within myself than I expected. The carb bloat in my tummy is gone. I have lost almost an inch in my lower waist. I'm noticing changes on the scale (which I'm trying not to get too excited about because it could be all water). The one time I did eat carbs (homemade pizza last night) I woke up feeling sluggish. My body has gotten accustomed to me drinking lots of water. I have learned to notice when my body needs more. The sugar cravings are almost completely gone (which was my biggest hurdle). I had only a bite of an apple strudel at the renaissance fair this weekend and that was enough.
Also, it has just been easier to say "no," to things I shouldn't be eating. Normally I would open a bottle of wine over the weekend, but all of my bottles are intact. At the festival, I resisted the funnel cakes and carbs and settled for some of a turkey leg (no skin).
I have continued exercising 4 or more times a week, except now I don't feel like a hamster on a wheel going nowhere in terms of results. I am actually noticing the fruits of my labor in my body

*My office has a bake sale today AND just brought in several boxes of free Shipley donuts. I walked away Small victory.

These ladies have not only motivated each other but myself as well. We have all really kept each other accountable and had fun while doing it! I will keep you all posted how things go, especially because we are getting closer and closer to the Holidays.

Workout (YAY I am back to the gym after being sick)
1 mile on the treadmill
15 minutes on the elliptical
15 minutes on the bike
5 minutes different planks
arm weights
Day 9 Group LittleBlueDress Challenge
Breakfast: 2 eggs with sugar free syrup and mixed fruit
Lunch: spag. squash with ground chicken and low sugar marinara
Snack: non fat yogurt with a few peanuts
Pre workout snack: almonds
Dinner: enchilada soup