Thursday, November 20, 2014

review: shake the crave

i am back!  we have been so busy with school and homework and busy baby that i hardly know where i am sometimes!  i was recently contacted by Trusted Health Products to review their product Shake the Crave and give you my opinions!  Shake the Crave is a lifestyle program designed to help you find a better you. Shake the Crave is a meal replacement shake that isn't like all the other shakes.  Here are some of the benefits:
  • Experience a “new normal” in the way you feel.
  • Feel more satisfied and full longer.
  • Boost energy levels and feeling of well-being.
  • Great to drink at breakfast or lunchtime, as a healthy snack or quick meal on the go.
  • 100% pure ingredients.
  • Contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, preservatives, or isolated/synthetic vitamins.
  • No gluten, soy, egg, GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, fillers or binders.
  • Available exclusively from Trusted Health Products.
  • Good source of protein.
  • Good source of calcium.
  • Low fat – only 0.5 grams.
  • Low sodium
  • 120 Calories
i had the chance to try both the vanilla and chocolate flavors.   i normally favor chocolate over vanilla- so i dreaded trying the vanilla a little bit- but i have to say, i ended up enjoying the vanilla more than the chocolate.  the vanilla had vanilla bean in it that gave it a bit of a spicy kick- and i really enjoyed that. the chocolate was also good.  I didn't find them chalky like some powdered drinks.  they also kept me full until lunchtime- which with a regular breakfast sometimes feels like forever. the shakes were also super simple to make- pour into the blender, add liquid and blend.  it's ready to go in about a minute! 

Now you  have the chance to sample Shake the Crave for yourself!  For a limited time, the manufacturer is willing to offer my readers 2 FREE sample packets of Shake the Crave vanilla or chocolate shake mix. They said they would love for you to try Shake the Crave for free- just pay minimal shipping and handling charge of $2.95. This is a one-time only offer! Click here to get your 2 FREE sample packets now!

*Disclaimer:  I received this product free of charge in exchange for reviewing the product.  All opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

shave money... shave time

i was inspired by dollar shave club to participate in their "shave time, shave money" challenge.  what that means is i get to tell you about how i shave time and shave money in my everyday life, but first let me tell you about dollar shave club.  i'm sure you've seen their hilarious commercial- or heard their radio commercials.  after listening to dave complain about razors for a as long as i have known him, i got him him the $6 a month membership, and so far, he's been impressed.  you get 4 blades a month for $1, $6 or $9 and a coordinating handle with your first shipment.  i even have girlfriends that use the razors and love them!

now, i wanted to post about something that many of my irl friends have asked me about- meal planning and prepping freezer meals.  how to get about 12 meals put together in just a few hours.  this has been such a life saver for us- and something that has helped so much, that now i kind of  feel like cooking is stressful.  this was something i started planning for while i was pregnant with Isla- but when she came early, i wasn't able to get my meals made.  i decided to go through with prepping the meals, and once we had moved into our new place- i was finally able to get things together.  the meals from my first go-round lasted us a couple of MONTHS!  so here's what you need to start meal prepping like a pro:

1.  choose your recipes and make your grocery list.  pinterest has tons of ideas and there are bloggers who blog specifically about freezer cooking.  look and pin!  for my first foray into freezer meals- i chose to do these 12 easy paleo-ish meals from graciously saved.  i actually ended up doing all 12 of these meals- which made it easy because i didn't have to look at several different sites.  a lot of these sites will provide your grocery list for you- but i find it easier just to make my own list because a lot of times i have some of the items on hand already.

2.  set time aside to prep and go grocery shopping.  you want to make sure that you are going to be doing your prep within 24 hours because you want to make sure your veggies are as fresh as possible.  don't forget gallon sized freezer bags (and a marker if you don't have one).

3.  pre-prep.  some pages recommend doing all your veggie chopping the night before- but i prefer to just do everything at once.  first step- label your bags!  i label my bags with the name of the meal, cook time, and any other instructions (sometimes things need to be added in at cook time). 

4.  prep time!  i sometimes work from top to bottom of the page when doing recipes, but sometimes i skip around and work on recipes that have the most like items in them.  regardless, i like to do all my veggies first.  i will chop veggies for one meal at a time, then add them to the bag.  after that, i move on to sauces/spices and then finally i do the meat last.  it's best to do the meat last because the meat normally needs to be on the bottom of the crock pot.  my favorite part is that most of the time, you don't have to cook the meat first (ground beef is an exception).

5.  double check everything and freeze.  the last step is to go through and make sure you have added in everything, or that you have made sure to write down anything that has to be added later.  once you've done that, you can seal your bags and get ready to freeze.  we were so lucky that our house has a 2nd kitchen in the basement that includes a freezer, so the meals don't take up room upstairs.  i think my only issue so far has been figuring out the best way to freeze them- since the meals have a lot of stuff in them, you can't necessarily lay them flat- so my problem has been that the bags freeze with parts of them sticking through the grates in the freezer and that is such a pain.  my other problem is that they stick together (which was a big issue in freezing breastmilk too).  i think if i can figure out how to prevent that, that my process will be seamless.

i think the only other issue is finding a time to do everything.  the first time i did this, i was up until 3am prepping everything- so i was exhausted the next day.  the second time i prepped, i did it as soon as the kids were finished eating breakfast- they will usually play together during this time before Isla wants to eat again- so it was a good time to get things done!  nap time is another good time- if your kids take regular naps, or a weekend or evening when you have someone to help keep an eye on the kiddos.

this is obviously a huge time saver because if you take just a little bit of time (usually less than 3 hours depending on how many meals you do)- then you can be set with dinners for at least a month or longer.  when i'm ready for our next meal, i take a bag out of the freezer the night before, and in the morning i throw it into the crock pot.  there's absolutely nothing else i need to do unless the meal needs some kind of side (just don't forget to turn your crock pot on).  this also saves money because you are spending less just getting the supplies ($100-$200 depending on what you need).  i find that we spend so much less on groceries when i have meals prepped because all i need to buy in between are things for breakfast, lunch and snacks.

hopefully, this covers everything, i don't thing i missed any steps!  let me know if you have any questions on how i shave time and money by prepping freezer meals!

(my last batch of freezer meals)

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

ModCloth Open Casting Call for ALL!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Fashion mavens, rejoice! ModCloth is inviting you to come showcase your unique style at their #FASHIONTRUTH Casting Call for ALL event in New York City on September 3rd. All you have to do is show up in your cutest outfit and you could be featured on ModCloth and across their social platforms. Anyone and everyone is invited, so if you’re in the area, grab your friends and go -- this is an event you won’t want to miss! Head to the ModCloth blog for more details and RSVP info!  Lucky New Yorkers!
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

isla turns 1

the last time i updated was almost 6 months ago (oops).  i haven't done very well with blogging, but now that isla is sleeping and i am sleeping, i might actually have a little more time on my hands to sit down at my computer. isla is 14 months old and we celebrated her first birthday with family and some friends.  i wasn't really sure what kind of theme i wanted for her- with ian, i had thought of something pretty quickly, but i was just stumped with isla.  so i took to my best friends google and pinterest to see what ideas i could work with and i found the idea of doing an alice in wonderland (or onederland) party.  i secured invitations, outfits and then got to work with the planning.  ian and i watched alice and wonderland while i took notes of things that would be super cute.  i ended up not totally running with the theme because she's only 1 and i figured a tea party wouldn't be that interesting to a bunch of adults, but i'm still really pleased with how things turned out.  we had a good time!

 this was at home on isla's actual birthday

 birthday cake and smash cake from piece-a-cake bakery!  cake had a fudge filling.  mmm! 

 party favors for the kids.  glass jars that they could fill with candy from tea cups.  the tea cups belonged to dave's grandma.  

 cheshire cat cheese ball.  aka.  the cheese ball that lasts forever.  

 chips/salsa, layered salad and giant cheese ball.  was so nice to have a summer birthday for once, so we grilled out for everyone!  

 the birthday girl.  alice apron dress from lover dovers via etsy. 

 ready for cake!


 we had pink flamingos lining the walk + croquet and a little this way/that way/go back sign (not pictured)

after cake we changed isla into this adorable dress (it's alice themed!) from Little LePew Apparel & and her birthday crown from mosey

i'm 1!

happy 1st birthday, isla!
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Saturday, August 2, 2014

ModCloth's Decor Sale!

ModCloth may be your go-to for cute dresses and clothing, but did you know they have a flourishing decor department? Think fun and unique adornments for your home, kitchen, bedroom, office space, and more. If that’s not incentive enough to check it out, they just so happen to be having a 20% Off Decor Sale that’ll give your place a pop of personality. No code needed, so just shop 'till your heart is content and there really will be no place like your home! Hurry while it lasts!   I've gotten some really cute items to decorate Isla's room with from there!  Maybe one day i'll share... ;) 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

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Thursday, June 5, 2014


**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

The season of BBQs, roadtrips, vacations, and outdoor festivities is upon us, and ModCloth wants you to share your summer memories with them! Include the hashtag #ModSummer when you’re posting your adventures on social media and you could be featured on one of their social networks. Join in on the community fun, find some outfit inspiration in their Style Gallery, and get ready for the best summer ever!

Wondering what looks are on-trend for the summer?  Look no further than ModCloth's blog- here are four summer looks to get you started or view the hottest summer trends! 

Four of my summer faves:

Fresh Florals Top from ModCloth Darling Day Away Shorts in Turquoise Dots from ModCloth Partners in Rhyme Romper from ModCloth Lauren Moffatt Gallery Crawl Doll Dress from ModCloth
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Thursday, May 1, 2014

isla's birth story. part 3

part 1

part 2

may is preeclampsia awareness month, and hopefully i am going to get back into the habit of being a good blogger by overloading you with lots of information!  i wanted to start by finishing isla's birth story, which is also basically our preeclampsia story. 

so where i left off was either sunday or monday... i honestly don't remember.  i know monday i was woken up the same way i was on sunday (and to follow until thursday) with a 6 am blood draw.  it was pretty much the same as my last few days- new nurses, constant blood pressure checks and contractions! 

i went back and checked and i did NOT have my epidural on sunday.  early monday (after midnight) is when pitocin was started and i was still only dilated to a 1.  my blood pressure was up and down and my energy was zapped.  by that morning, i was starving and just exhausted.  they allowed me to have the liquid diet tray to get some nutrients in me, but sitting up to eat that pretty much killed any little spurt of energy i had.  i was even more swollen from the fluids and  my lung capacity was diminishing.  my biggest concern was that i wasn't going to have the energy to deliver the baby and that i was going to need a c-section, which was the last thing i wanted. 

sometime around lunch the ob came to check me again.  i was only a 1.5.  during the check i felt a weird gush... water breaking.  the ob claims that she accidentally broke it... whether or not it was an accident, i guess i'll never know.  when that was happening, the nurse in the room had her hands on my belly and felt baby drop- so we were headed in the right direction.  i had been thinking about it, and around 1-1:30 i decided i was going to have an epidural.  i was just feeling crappy, and i figured if there was at least one thing that might make me feel better, i might as well have that.  the epidural totally changed everything.  it was more painful than the one i had with ian (which i later figured out was because with ian i had received iv drugs), but after it was done, i felt awake.  dave even said my face changed!  however, like with most pain meds, i was having a reaction and needed benedryl to counter that, which wasn't helping.  by 2:30 i was a 3, and by 3 i was a 4.  when my nurse checked me, she told me she had a meeting to go to, but would be back in a bit.  she said i was progressing around a centimeter per hour and at that rate we would have a baby by dinner time.  dave sent a text to our family and at that point i decided i was going to rest some- i had been chatting with friends on fb and i put my laptop away and tried to rest. 

i don't know how long i had been laying there (maybe 10-15 minutes) but i remembered being super uncomfortable.  like feeling really bad.  i looked over at my screen that was monitoring contractions and i could tell i was having them.  i just breathed through how bad i was feeling and i kept quiet.  around this time dave told me he was going to go into the bathroom and he joked "don't have the baby while i'm in there."  while he was in there, i had another painful contraction and decided something wasn't right, so i paged the nurses station.  when they answered i just told them that i was in a lot of pain and to come quick!  when the nurse came in, it wasn't my regular nurse and i was explaining to her that i was feeling a lot of pain, and she was telling me, "oh, you can just push this button here if you need more from your epidural."  well, during that time i had another contraction, and i told her, "no, i don't think that's it, i mean, i feel like i might need to push.  she came over and checked me and said, "oh, i can see her head!!"  everything went kind of crazy after that as there were people all over my room- 3 or 4 nurses for me, plus nurses and doctors for isla.  i remember a really tiny nurse jumping and trying to pull the lights down from the ceiling and my nurse rushing in and telling me, "i wasn't even gone for 20 minutes and you tried to have a baby without me."  and then, of course, my doctor comes in and she was furious... "why didn't anyone call me?!"  and a nurse replies, "she was a 4 just 15 minutes ago."  and poor dave when he came out of the bathroom, the look on his face just said "really?!"  it was chaotic, and they didn't have time to get everything in place, but i was ready to push.  she needed some vacuum assistance, and i screamed at my doctor, "i AM pushing" when she told me i would have to work harder or i would have to have a csection (which seems to be all the motivation i ever need).  i think i pushed maybe 5 times?  isla arrived in about 20 minutes i think, and they let me hold her right away for just a quick minute before the team whisked her over to the warmer and checked all her signs, weight etc.  she was wrapped up and given back to me for a few short photos and then whisked off to the nicu while i finished delivery.  the room was straightened up and dave and i were left a little confused and alone.  not long after that, the lc came in so i could start pumping because i was going to be unable to feed.  not too long after that the milk was collected and taken to the nicu and i was moved into another room. we had done it though!  our sweet little girl had finally arrived. 

the rest of my hospital stay is a whole 'nother entry.  maybe one day... 

isla olive mcfadden.  june 17, 2013.  3:48 pm.  4 lbs.  3 oz.  18 inches. 

if you don't like pictures of babies being born... now's the time to leave...

 poor misshapen head baby!

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