Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Home DNA Healthy Weight Analysis & Report!

A few weeks ago I wrote about my renewed fitness goals here and mentioned I had recently taken a Home DNA weight test. I'm excited to have received my report back and eager to tell you all about it! Basically this test is a scientifically-based weight management test that identifies a person's genetic makeup and provides diet and exercise strategies uniquely tailored to the specific genotype. 

Your HomeDNA healthy weight results include:

Detailed analysis of the genetic markers that most influence your weight
Personalized recommendations for foods, nutrition, and exercise.

The kit is very easy to use. You simply have to swab the inside of your cheeks with the cotton swabs in the kit to collect the cells. You then put them in the enclosed envelopes. The kit includes an already addressed mailer so once you've filled out any information, and seal it, simply drop it in your mailbox. Results come back in just 4-6 weeks after the samples arrive at the lab. You are notified via email that your results are ready to view online. 

The report is easy to read and very informative. It really breaks down everything and provides tons of examples of what foods to eat and exercises to do based on your genetic makeup! One of my favorite parts of the report was the meal plans. As a busy mom of 4, I strive to feed my kids a balanced diet, but I neglect myself sometimes. I'm always on the go and I put myself last. 

Here's an example of the custom exercise plan

DNA Testing is constantly evolving and it is a small aspect of the whole, as far as what effects us in terms of both skin care and weight management, so use DNA testing as a starting point, not an ending point. I'm excited about reaching my fitness and healthier eating goals this year. Even though I've always been slim, slim doesn't always equal healthy. Exercise and diet is important for everybody!

The HomeDNA healthy weight kit is available at CVS and Rite Aid drugstores, or online for $119, at

Coupon Code:

If you're interested in purchasing this kit for yourself, use coupon code:HW50 to get $50 off your order until 4/30 (which makes the kit $69 instead of $119) Enjoy!

Disclosure: I was provided with the products. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Loving Lately...Fashion Edition

1) Embellished tights

I am obsessed with these gorgeous tights. I fully intend to make something similar for myself this year when I make the time. You can easily buy a pair of fishnets for cheap online and either hot glue or sew on the embellishments. Whichever route you go, you will have to hand wash them very carefully when the time comes. 

2) Embellished jeans

The same applies with the tights. You can easily do these yourself on jeans you currently own or buy. I highly recommend you buy rhinestones and embellishments that you can sew on. Jeans need to be washed obviously so they will hold up if you sew them on.

3) Embellished skirts


As you can see I'm a bit obsessed with embellishments! I found the last two pictures on Asos, but they are out of stock. I definitely have a thing for gorgeous skirts. They always stand out to me even more than a dress these days, especially ones that flair out away from the body. A big reason why I love tulle skirts so much.

3) Hair bows...for adults

I don't think you are ever too old to wear a bow in your hair. I've seen elderly women wearing their hair gathered with a bow at the nape of their neck, and I always thought it looked elegant. Today is an easy day (as in no scheduled activities) and I'm wearing a simple ponytail with a pretty mauve ribbon. I picked up some gorgeous ribbons this week at Hobby Lobby that reminded me of Spring and I've been itching to use them! 

Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Holding myself accountable again. Let the fitness begin!

Like most of the world, I've decided to refocus on my fitness goals again. Winter break is over and it's the beginning of the year so here we go least until I fall off the wagon again. Hoping not too this time, but I'm human and life happens. I'm not normally a scale checker because it's really hard for me to gain weight and I only tend to fluctuate between 2 pounds, but I was pleasantly surprised that even I gained weight during the holidays. This really only happens when I'm pregnant and no I'm not pregnant. 

The problem with these few new pounds which I'm still excited about still is that they aren't muscle. I've been eating like crap for the past month. I mean I guess my eating wasn't too bad and the kids have well balanced meals, but I've consumed a lot of sugar over the holidays and lately my stomach has been sensitive to a lot of things. I'm getting bloated constantly! The extra weight has traveled to my stomach and lower half as it tends to do. Now I'm not really complaining, I know how lucky I am that I've birthed 4 babies, can eat whatever I want and still not gain weight. However I'm still a woman who wants to feel good in her skin, have the energy to run after her kids, and live a long healthy life...and I wouldn't mind the stomach pooch going away again.

 What I found that works for me now in my mid 30's is exercising 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. 30 minutes also works with the kids. This way I'm not taking up much of their time. I usually put some dance music on Pandora and they have a little dance party next to me. I also hate gyms. I'm fully aware though that workouts at home are not going to get me all the way to my goals without the proper equipment. When the time comes--when I'll want to add in more weights, then I guess I'll reluctantly drag my ass to the gym. Until then you'll catch me at home with my resistance bands and homemade weights.

The 30 minute workouts really do work. I started this regimen late 2016 and I had the beginning of abs after 8 weeks and my backside was tighter. I will say that it doesn't take me long to get back into shape. I'm not sure if it's genetics or muscle memory because I've been in sports since I was 7 years old. Most of the time I played soccer, but I also did volleyball, track, cross country and taekwondo. I haven't been on a team since Serena my oldest was 5 years old though. I am always on my feet though and stay active.

Here is a before those 8 weeks and 11 months postpartum with baby #4

I have specific exercises that I do that work for me that I got either from Youtube or Instagram. I'll share more on those in another post. A really popular program right now is Kayla Itsines BBG (Bikini body guide) program. From my understanding it's a 12 week program consisting of 28 minute workouts. I think she sells a ebook and there's an app you can use, but you can probably find all of the info you need for free online. I just started yesterday and this morning my abs and lower half is sore. That's a good thing and it will wear off once I've been doing my regimen for a few more days.

After my workout I drank a high fiber meal replacement with almond and coconut milk. I don't always drink this after a workout, but a few times a week. I don't use it as a meal replacement since it only has 250 calories anyways, but instead for the protein and extra calories. I have a very fast metabolism which is another reason I try to stay away from too much cardio. I'll be updating more along the way over the next few months. Also I recently got to test out a new Home DNA collection kit that is said to unlock the secret to achieving a healthy weight using insights from your own genetic code.

I should be getting my personalized report back in about 4 weeks where it will tell me how my protein, fat, and carbohydrates are utilized, exercise and strength training for my body type, and much more! I tried Home DNA's skin care analysis a few months ago and it was spot on! You can read my thoughts on it here. I've been very impressed with their products so far.

Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

When your toddler still doesn't sleep through the night.

The kids are asleep so I fired up the rocket ship aka my laptop to finally get around to writing an update on Ava's sleep or lack of. Before I delve into that, you might be wondering why I call my laptop a rocket ship. It's so loud. I made the mistake mid last year of leaving a full glass of water next to my laptop while Ava was around. 

Never trust a 2 year old with a glass of water. Never. 

She climbed up on my chair when my back was turned because I had gotten up to put something away, and she just casually decides that she's going to take that glass of water and just dump it right into the keys of my laptop! I had just turned around as it was happening and I launched into a slow motion NNNOOoooooooooo........

I immediately tried to mop up the water with towels and I could hear the fan of the laptop get really loud and slowly start dying. I thought I had lost so many memories and business documents because I hadn't backed up in awhile, but miraculously it ended up working a few days later--minus the keyboard anyways. I have to use a cordless keyboard and mouse to use my laptop, but I'm just happy it works. H has his own and we have an old school computer as well so worse comes to worse I have a backup plan when this old thing goes kaput.

I digress, back to Ava. So she's currently 28 months old and she's still waking up every single night. I never imagined I'd still be sleep deprived 2 years later with one of my children. By far the worst sleeper of them all. The approach we took with Ava was just doing whatever it takes to get her and us back to sleep as quickly as possible. This back fired in the worst possible way. As with most breastfed babies, they tend to wake up more than formula fed babies. I nursed my other babies and I intended to nurse Ava well into 2 years old like I did baby #3. The problem was Ava was waking up 3-4 times a night. By 16 months I couldn't do it anymore. I needed sleep. I decided to cut out nursing and I was so afraid the night I decided to do it that I was going to be up constantly. It was surprisingly easy. I gave her a bottle of almond milk and she was out within 15 minutes. Shoot. I should have done it sooner. Right away her sleeping improved. A few days of waking up just twice and then down to once a night. The problem with that she's still waking up that "once a night" and she's over 2 years old. My next tactic was to move her out of our room and into Layla and Mariam's room. I did that in August I believe and it hasn't helped. She wakes up between 12:30 and 2:00 and starts crying for me. I get up quickly to get her as to not wake the other girls and then I bring her into our bed. For awhile we tried putting an air mattress in her room so H could help me out, and he could go get her and keep her in the room so I could sleep, but it didn't do much good. I would still hear her and she would want me. 

I was this close to paying $500 for a sleep trainer to come to my home, evaluate it and give me a detailed plan along with help along the way--minus her actually sleeping at my house, but my pediatrician told me to save my money and said "here's what you need to do". The problem is of course it involves some crying it out and H and I just aren't the crying it out type. Now that she's this big, it would have been harder anyways and would have taken longer. My biggest fear is that I'll put her through a week of torture and the rest of the family and it still won't work. She's stubborn this one and I'm convinced she hates sleep. Almost all of her naps (when she takes one) still consist of her waking up and crying. Like she's mad she actually fell asleep!

I'm sort of out of options here, but I've got one more tactic I can try. A friend mentioned not bringing her to my bed anymore when she wakes up. Like I know this but I haven't caught up on any sleep to try this. She mentioned getting a chair and when she wakes up, not pick her up and just pat her back down to sleep from my chair, not laying next to her. I didn't mention that when I put her to sleep the beginning of the night, I lay next to her--in her crib. Yep. It's bad. Well let me tell you how that one started. So yes I was doing whatever I could do to get her to go to sleep. As a newborn she started off in her bassinet and pack and play, but it somehow morphed into her co-sleeping in the middle of us. I wasn't comfortable with that since that's not what we did with the other girls, and I missed snuggling up to my husband. I started to put her in the crib, climb in there with her and nurse her to sleep. Basically getting her to sleep better was like taking one step forward and two steps back. 

The biggest problem here is I never trained her to put herself to sleep on her own. I missed the boat. If you're expecting heed my advice. Don't miss that boat. While I'm tired every day, my body has grown accustomed in some ways. One thing that doesn't adjust much is your mindset though. Being sleep deprived means I have to keep my moods in check. While I still do a lot, everything including regulating emotions is 5x harder when you are tired. I keep waiting for the day where I'll get a small break where she'll sleep through the night and I'll wake up not feeling tired. She has only slept through the night 6 times in her whole life. I used to google ways to get her to sleep when she was a baby, but haven't looked up much about toddlers that don't sleep through the night. I've never been in these shoes before! So I guess I've got some homework to do and I need to try some new things. If nothing else works well I hope when she's around 3, I can implement some sort of reward chart that entails staying in her room and not waking up mommy and daddy. 

She's so lovable though. As tired as I am, there are some nights I welcome feeling her fluffy curls next to my face and having her pick at my nails as she likes to do while drifting off to sleep. I know only too well just how fast they grow up. As tired as I am, I know I'll look back on these days and miss them. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hello 2018....Goodbye 2017!

I really should be in bed already because we all know Ava is going to wake up in a few hours and disrupt my sleep as she does night, after night, but my mind is still feeling pretty active right now. I'd probably be working, or just be laying in my bed watching season 2 of Crown right now, so now is a good time to get some thoughts out.

This year I've decided not to make any resolutions. Last year I said I was going to relax more and let things go and here's what happened. I went the complete opposite of that. I was the opposite of zen. Zen was nowhere to be found. I was in fact worse than ever. I over scheduled and over committed myself. I took on my hardest DIY projects yet. I became even more OCD about keeping the house clean and company ready. Everything had to be handmade and homemade and while I love doing all this stuff, I truly do, I was becoming fanatic about it sometimes. When you're dealing with children, you can't always control them like you think you can, or get them to do things your way. They're these loud, lovable things that have minds of their own. My nature normally gravitates towards peace and quiet but I also have a type A personality. So crafting or cleaning, or making things beautiful is me being able to control things again. 

So while I'm not making any firm resolutions this year in my personal life, I have already made some changes. I'm remembering to just take deep breaths again. I am relaxing more. I don't want my girls to feel like they have to be perfect and do all things perfect. That's not what life is about. They don't now anyways because they are still little (minus Serena) but I don't want them later on down the road to be so hard on themselves like I am on myself. There's so much more to my story that makes me who I am, and has shaped me into being capable of all that I do, but there's things in my past I'm just not comfortable sharing on the internet. It is what it is, but what's awesome about life is that it keeps going and you never know just what's around the corner. Each day you wake up is a chance to do better and be better. Aside from being manic mommy at times, 2017 was really good. I'm excited about what 2018 is going to bring. There are new goals I've set for my business and I'm excited about seeing the plans come to action.

So if you've been a reader for the past few years--thanks for sticking around. I've shared a lot of pictures in the past, but there's not been a whole lot of personal posts. I want to write more about what goes on in my head and share more things about the beauty and the hardship of struggling to be your own person and be a mother to several children.