How To: Chalkboard Art Tutorial

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Chalk art makes my heart happy.

This week has been crazy, and it’s only Wednesday. Sure a glass of wine [or 3] at night can help to de-stress after a long day, but sometimes I like to start the day off relaxed by letting my creative juices flow. A little chalk dust and a few cups of coffee later and I was ready to start my day.

I’ve posted previously how to make your own chalkboard wall, but I figured I’d do a quick tutorial on how I actually create my chalkboard art for the average person. [let’s be real – no one has time or sanity for that elaborate fancy shit] I’ve seen people print out their designs and cover the back of the paper lightly with chalk dust then trace over it, I prefer to do mine all by hand. I find it therapeutic to see what you picture in your head come to life.
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A Weekend in the Life

Oh man – was our weekend filled with lots of Malmy Madness! Ever wonder what it’s like to live a weekend in our shoes – follow along!

IMG_4517.JPGIt all started when Leep came hobbling home early on Friday complaining of toe/foot pain. Off to the doctors he went to come crutching home with a burst tendon diagnosis. My first thought was “Man, those crutches are going to make our fun-filled weekend a little more tricky!” I also learned that the bedtime routine for a 9 month old of playing, bathing, changing and feeding is a lot harder solo. [shout out to all you awesome single parents]

Gunnar typically wakes up around 7:30a and we play and have his morning bottle. After I got ready, Gunnar & I packed up and headed to Meme & G-Dawgs house to grab some breakfast and let Leep rest his foot peacefully, but not before stopping at Starbucks – of course.

The 4 of us went to a cute little breakfast/lunch restaurant in Pungo – The Bee & The Biscuit. It was a busy morning but the weather was perfect, so we grabbed a table outside to wait. They have a bar and an assortment of games for you to play while you wait for your table. Gunnar enjoyed his favorite game of throwing everything off the table while I enjoyed their Seasonal Sangria and Meme & G-Dawg both had a Sassy [spicy] Bloody Mary. We all enjoyed a delicious breakfast [Gunnar ate his weight in scrambled eggs] and by the time we were done Leep was at my parents house waiting for us. It was time for a nap for Gunnar before off to our next adventure!

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When Gunnar woke up, the 5 of us headed off the the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival! It was hot, it was crowded and the lines were long. But there was more beer, bourbon and bbq to taste than one person could consume. We hit up a few tents sampling various beers, flavored bourbons and some new bourbon batches – it wasn’t long before everyone was sweating and Leep was tired of crutching around. We found a shady spot for him to sit and Gunnar to get out and play. We had a good system, taking turns going to get everyone different samplings to taste and friends would stop by to chat and love on the baby. We were even close to the tasting theater where every 2 hours they would host a different distillery to sample their bourbons. Overall the event needs some improvements, but we made the most of it and had fun!

After a long day of boozing and sweating, Sunday was reserved for the pool! We spent most of Sunday swimming and splashing at my parents house and spending time with G-Dawg before his surgery on Tuesday. This baby loves the water and is already a great swimmer. He loves jumping in so his face goes underwater – it’s so cute!

Overall the weather was great, the company was even better and we made the most of our daylight hours! What did you do this weekend? 

BBG: 2 Week Recap

I’m officially into week 3 of my Bikini Body Guide 12 week program! I wanted to provide a quick update for you all on my progress and overall thoughts.

Progress 8/16: 2 Weeks in, 5 lbs down, clothes are fitting looser

The Diet:

I’ve found the diet fairly easy to follow. Mind you, I have modified it quiet a bit to fit my lifestyle. I feel Kayla’s original recipes are a bit too “fancy”. I don’t want to have to go spend extra money on muesli and I don’t eat fish. So with that in mind, for example – I’ve substituted rolled oats for muesli and shrimp for fish. I’ve written everything down so maybe when I have some extra time I can share my modified weekly meal plans.

As far as what they include – it’s your basic weekly meal plan when on a diet. Smoothies, fruits, nuts and veggies. I can say she does a great job of switching up the proteins and overall meal ideas. Most diets can get very dull, very quickly with salads and chicken, rice and veggies over and over again

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#bbgfood on Instagram

The Fitness:

The fitness is alternating days of LISS [low intensity steady state] cardio and then other days a 28 min circuit targeting a specific body area [legs, arms & abs, full body]. 28 minutes doesn’t sound like a long time but when you’re doing non-stop circuits, you easily work up a sweat. Each week Kayla changes up the circuits so you’re using different muscles and not the same workout. For the LISS it’s really personal preference – spin, walk, swim, run, you name it. It offers a lot of flexibility to do which workouts when you want to.

I like to go hard when I commit to something so I’ve recently added a fasted HIIT [high intensity interval training] cardio 30 min spin class early morning to ramp it up a notch. Burpees still are not my friend…

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The Update:

5 pounds isn’t too bad for 2 weeks. Leep says hes starting to notice a difference and my clothes are fitting a bit looser. All wins in my book! While I have slacked off a bit these past 2 days, I’ve had a tummy bug and only wanted carbs and haven’t felt up to working out, I’m excited to get back at it and see what these next two weeks hold.

Polo Blue EDP: Review

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Leep has worn the same cologne since our wedding day – a year and a half ago. He picked it as his wedding scent and hasn’t changed it since. Wedding scent – yea, that’s a thing now! Since in his line of work he doesn’t wear cologne everyday, it’s refreshing when we go out in the evenings or on weekends and I get the reminding scent of our special day. For his daily wear he uses Axe as hes running out the door in the morning, leaving us all coughing in a cloud of prepubescent, BO-masker. [Sorry Axe, you’re not my favorite.]

We were both pretty excited when this little box of Polo Blue Ralph Lauren eau de parfum arrived in our mailbox! I change my perfume almost with each bottle, so the thought of a new scent for him was intriguing and I think he was ready for something new. I’m pretty picky when it comes to scents and men’s cologne can tend to be overpowering.

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We opened the little bottle and took our first whiff. The brochure describes it as “Intense, Sensual, Refined. Absolute freshness meets ultimate distinction. An intensely seductive blend of fresh bergamot and rich vetiver” – whatever the hell that means?!

The smell is sophisticated and “seductively” fresh, without being fruity, with a slight hint of musk. I can see this scent working for an array of events, from a wedding in a suit, to a night out with friends. A little goes a long way with this cologne and it lasts for hours. While it’s strong at first, it doesn’t leave behind the harsh scent of alcohol that some parfums can.

It has now become one of our favorites and we may even purchase a full sized bottle once this sample runs out. If you’re browsing for a new scent for your man, we recommend that you pick up a bottle of Polo Blue Ralph Lauren eau de parfum and give it a try!

*We received Ralph Lauren Polo Blue Eau de Parfum complimentary, but all opinions are our own.

New Beginnings: Bikini Body Guide

New week. New month. New beginnings. 

I’ll admit, I start a lot of things [read diets] and never complete them. I do my best work staying healthy and getting in shape when I have a goal to work towards. Right before we ran the Rock’n’Roll half & Tough Mudder – I was in the best shape of my life. Time to work back to that place. I feel I’ve taken the time to enjoy Gunnar as a baby without the stresses of getting “back to pre-baby body”. Now he’s becoming more active and I can include him [and hopefully teach him in the future] in my journey to a healthier me.

As I’ve said before, I have PCOS. This brings with it: hair loss, unpredictable periods, ovarian cysts, so much more and my biggest obstacle – difficulty losing weight. I’ve seen doctors, tried prescription weight loss pills, you name it, I’ve tried it. One of the few things that works for me is going on a very strict diet and constant intense exercise. So I’m starting something new that includes a planned diet, scheduled workouts and also gives me a box to check each day. I also have all of you to hold me accountable each week.

Kayla Itsines – 12 week Beach Body Guide. 

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Today is Day 1, Week 1, Round 1. I’ve written out my meal plan and workout plan for the week and am ready to hit the ground running. Time to lose this baby weight, I do have a few weddings I’m sweating for now.

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Follow along, I’ll provide weekly updates here and more frequent updates on my Instagram page!

Exercise Ball Office Chair

Working from home I’ve realized I don’t get up as often as I used to. There’s no walking with friends, getting things off the printer, walking to and from my car, etc. So, except for the occasional dance break with the dogs or to switch a load of laundry, I find myself pretty stationary most of the day. Which is horrible for your body! [especially with my back issues] So I decided to become one of “those people” who sits [read bounces] on an exercise ball at their desk.

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So why am I doing this? Why should you do this?

  • It forces proper spine alignment. I’m a sloucher, I try to correct it but still end up hunching or slouching behind the screens. Because the ball isn’t stable your body has to try to adjust itself to stay balanced. In order to stay balanced your body will automatically try to align itself into proper posture – which helps your spinal health and decreases back pains!
  • Get that 6-pack you’ve been wanting! Ok, maybe not – but it does strengthen and build your core muscles. To aid in balancing, your core is also engaged and if you think how often you’re sitting at the computer every day, those hours can add up and maybe you’ll start to see those abs poke through.
  • Inspiration to stretch. Let’s face it – although you’re using the ball as a chair, it’s still a piece of exercise equipment. It’s hard to sit on it without being inspired to stretch or do some strengthening moves throughout the day. Some days Leep will come home to find me rolled out under the desk with my back on the ball stretching my ab & back muscles. [getting back up is the tricky part]
  • You can burn up to 350 calories per day. More movement during the day = more calories burned. It will help you stay fit with minimal effort!
  • Reduced damage for sitting. A desk job means sitting in the same position, hour after hour, but staying sedentary for too long can be lethal. It’s easy to slump and stay in one spot for extended periods of time. With the ball even the slightest movement causes it to roll and you have to adjust to remain balanced.
  • It’s fun! Who doesn’t like the idea of bouncing around all day. If the people on the other end of my conference calls only knew I was bouncing around over here.

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So if you’re inclined, want to be healthier at your desk, or just have some fun – grab a ball and join me!

PSA: Cease the Parent Shaming

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I’ve always heard about it, seen friends share articles and in my intensive expecting research I even browsed a few. It wasn’t until I had a smiling cherub of my own that I actually understood the ugly beast it is. While I try my hardest not to be, I’m occasionally guilty of it. Newsflash: So are you! At some point we’ve all judged another mom in passing, on Facebook, or even our friends.

There is no “right-way” to tackle the journey of parenthood. As I first time mom I am clumsily learning that first hand, very quickly. Everyone does things differently, even different pediatricians tell you to do things differently. In the end, we all turned out OK [well most of us] and our children will turn out OK.

While some comments are said as jokes, some as unwarranted advice and some just are downright ugly – they all hurt a little [or a lot] and make you feel like you’re not parenting correctly or maybe a bad parent. You question every decision you’ve made and start to compare yourself – and your baby – to those around you.

STOP. Stop it right now. Breastfeed, great! Formula feed, wonderful! Cloth vs disposable diapers – just change em! Cry it out vs cuddle – you do you. In the end we’re all raising amazing little beings in our own way that’s just right for us and for them. We need to band together. When asked, offer your advice – judgement free. I know I wouldn’t have made it through some of the tough times, and won’t make it through the tough times ahead without asking for the wonderful advice of my mom, other moms and my new mommy friends!

Let’s collectively as a whole try to put an end to parent shaming. Instead of shaming let’s uplift and encourage. Stop and take a moment to tell that person how great of a job they’re doing. After-all, we’re all in this together – let’s stop being annoyed by everything and start lifting each other up.

I recently saw a post on Instagram that speaks volumes:

“To the pregnant women on social media posting constant updates and belly pictures, I am so incredibly happy for you and the fact that you will soon be blessed with the most amazing little bundle of joy, I love seeing how excited you are to become a mommy. To the women posting “selfies”, thanks for letting young girls know it’s okay to love yourself and to feel beautiful! To the mom posting a million pictures of her kids, it makes my heart so happy to see parents so proud and loving their babies! To the married couple constantly posting “sappy love posts” thank you for being a reminder to the next generation that all hope isn’t lost and happy marriages DO exist.” 

How to Deal with Toxic People

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Let’s get personal for a moment…

From the very beginning of our relationship my husbands family has not liked me – yet here we are today happily married with a beautiful son. Originally there was no real reason for the hatred: a mother struggling with losing her first son to another woman, jealousy, nicknames, difference of views and opinions. Lots of small moot excuses but no real outright reason for not liking me as a person.

It’s been a roller coaster of good times and bad, as well as times where mine and Leep’s relationship truly suffered. I am sad to say that as of today they are no longer a part of our lives or our sons life. While that wasn’t an easy decision to come to – mentally, emotionally and wholeheartedly we are happier and healthier for it.

Family, friends – it’s hard to say goodbye to anyone. I struggled for a long time [and maybe still do] with accepting that their opinion towards me would never change, no matter how hard I tried. The point I want to share is: It is not wrong for you to show them the way out of your life.

This post is to let you know, you’re not alone. Monster-in-laws is more than just a bad joke or saying to some. You hear others talk about how they dislike their in-laws and you both cringe inside, your spouse out of embarrassment with how their family acts, and you because they don’t know how truly bad it could be. You feel pangs of jealousy towards those that have great relationships with their in-laws and you band together with those in similar situations as you. If you’re like us, you’re blessed to have one side of the family who loves and supports you and more importantly your spouse, unconditionally. Spend your time with these people, they are the meaning of true love, support and family.

Here is a quick list of thoughts that helped us navigate this difficult situation.  Continue reading