#feelingbeautifulin5

i don’t know how i originally got invited/signed up for influenster, but i’m so excited i did! i think it may have come from blogging, so if that is the case, let me continue doing that to hopefully get sent more free products!

my first “voxbox” came from the freeman beauty company. i have used a few of their face and foot products before, and loved them, so i couldn’t wait to get started. they sent me 5 different face mask samples to test and review. so, for the last time, before i get started, let me state, “I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”

i have combination skin, which is super annoying! so it wasn’t hard for me to decide what mask to use first

Freeman Beauty Feeling Beautiful™ Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask

i have nothing but good things to say about the avocado and clay oatmeal mask. this “one time use” packet was so full, i could’ve definitely cut it in half and saved it for another time. but i didn’t. instead, i generously slathered up. i hate to admit it, but i am a person that has texture issues. luckily for me this mask was thick, creamy, and went on really smooth. like i already stated, there was plenty of coverage. there was even a slight cooling sensation, and the smell was divine. here i am trying it out. i was so excited to start my reviews, i even purchased this cute terry cloth headband to keep my hair pulled back lol. and i had to make a weird face, because when i smiled normally the color made my teeth look weird haha

wpid-img_20150321_122140.jpgafter letting it dry and rinsing it off, of course my face felt amazing. it was smoother, clearer, brighter, and the pores of my nose (my usual trouble spot) were noticeably reduced.

i tried to drag this process out and use one mask per week. i wanted to give my face time to be “in need” of another one again, due to the use of makeup and just the daily elements i we are all exposed to. 5/5

next i tried the

Freeman Beauty Feeling Beautiful™ Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask

oh my goodness, this one smelled heavenly too. it reminded me of something from my childhood, but i couldn’t quite put my finger on just what it was. i already have a charcoal face scrub from another company that i use pretty frequently, so i was already familiar with the great effects it can have on your skin. i was a little worried about this one, because like any polishing mask, it had little microscrubbers in it, and i was afraid they would not stick to my face. however, that was not a problem at all, and i felt safe to move around freely and do other things while i kept it on for the allotted time.

wpid-img_20150328_100109.jpgyes, i’m a weirdo, i know. sometimes polishing scrubs can be rough and abrasive, but this one was not. it felt very smooth and was actually fun to exfoliate with. i have sensitive skin, so it was a little red after using this, but it didn’t hurt, wasn’t irritated, and quickly went away leaving my face softer and brighter than before. 5/5

i’m no spring chicken anymore, so after staying up way too late one night drinking with friends, my eyes were puffy the next, and i had bags under them as well. it isn’t a mystery what mask i decided to put to use next

Freeman Beauty Feeling Beautiful™ Coffee & Chai Energizing Paper Eye Mask

this one was a little different than the others i tried, because it was a paper mask made only for the eye area. it didn’t really smell like coffee or chai, just had a clean, fresh smell. it went on easily, but didn’t contour/stick to my face as well as i had hoped. it was cool and refreshing, and extra juicy so i could rub the excess liquid on for an added bonus.

wpid-img_20150329_110942.jpgi felt a little like batman, lol, but it worked wonders! i felt energized and ready to go, and the skin around my eyes felt tight and wrinkle free. i am definitely going to purchase some more of these to use particularly before i get my engagement photos done. 5/5

i have to admit that i’m a softy, and donated one of my masks to my mom. she was going on and on about how she likes peel off masks, but she can never find them or get them to work correctly. so i gave her this one

Freeman Beauty Feeling Beautiful™ Cucumber Peel-Off Mask

with the requirement that she must review it. she sent me pictures, but they are way to funny to share on social media. she did like how thickly it went off, but didn’t like that it took at least 45 minutes to dry, up to 65 minutes in some sections. however, all she had to do was stretch her face, and the whole thing came off in one piece. she was very impressed by that. she also loved the smell, and how the fragrance lingered for the rest of the day. her face felt smoother and tighter, and she wants more for mother’s day, lol. 5/5

and last, but certainly not least

Freeman Beauty Feeling Beautiful™ Honeydew & Chamomile Sleeping Mask

i teach swim lessons sometimes up to three times a week, for at least 4 hours at a time. needless to say, my skin gets dry from the humidity in the pool area, and from the chlorine as well. i waited until i was in dire need of a deep moisturizer before using this mask. i was a little hesitant, because usually i’m not a big fan of chamomile, but luckily the honeydew overpowered it and smelled delicious! for an overnight cream i thought it was going to be thick and greasy, but it actually went on light and airy, more like a gel. and i must admit that i only used a tiny finger swipe’s worth, so i could continue using the rest over and over lol. this might be my new nightly ritual!

although i was given these products for free, i still fully endorse them and for an average of only $1.99 per full size product, i will definitely be purchasing more of them for myself, and others as well

#refreshvoxbox

#feelingbeautifulin5

@influenster

@freemanbeauty

c

spare tire…

i’ve been working toward writing this post for quite some time now, and i am so proud to say that i finally have the opportunity to do so…

for those of you who have been following along with my weight loss journey, you know it has been slow and steady with a few bumps along the way

my new job is awesome, and provides me with free lunch everyday…however, i can’t exactly eat what my 3 and 4 year olds do, because i don’t have the same metabolism as them. i was loving pepperoni pizza and bread sticks, and waffles with syrup, and chicken fingers with fries…but my diet wasn’t! in just a matter of weeks, i quickly gained 5 pounds back

so, i had to get serious about counting calories again, and even returned to running.

another benefit to my new job is that there is a full sized indoor track, and it only took me 30 days of working there to finally take advantage of it

wpid-img_20150223_155034.jpgi’ve tested out a lot of new delicious low calorie meals, such as israeli cous cous tabouleh

wpid-img_20150223_193641.jpgand one pan vegan tex mex quinoa

wpid-img_20150302_180959.jpgand some not so delicious, and probably not so low calorie andouille sausage jumbo

wpid-img_20150228_171911.jpgit wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very flavorful and had a very thick texture. you know how you can buy swanson broth in cartons? well our grocery store had a Louisiana cajun flavor with this recipe on the back, so we tried it out

you know you are turning into a foodie when you are excited to go to fresh thyme, which is where we are headed later today. they have the best produce there, and such reasonable prices as well! i already have my breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu made out for next week, so no excuses, and no school lunches lol

but now for the moment i’ve been waiting for!

after losing about 18 or 19 pounds, i hit a plateau…granted i had stopped running on a regular basis, and stopped counting calories as well

but after lots of dedication and hard work, i’m ecstatic to announce that i finally “broke the barrier” and have lost 22 pounds! now i only have 8 pounds left to meet my initial goal. can you believe it?!

did you know that a car tire weighs 20 pounds? i’ve literally been caring around the weight of a tire on my body. how’s that for extra weight holding you down?! other things that weigh 20 pounds include a kitchen aid mixer, 2 gallons of water, and 80 sticks of butter. YUCK!

remember this picture?

fatfati made it, i made it, i really made it!!

8 more pounds to go, and then i want to start shopping for wedding dresses

the gym teacher at work stays every day to help people work out, so i need to swallow my pride, stop being shy, and join the others sometime soon

perhaps i will have a bikini body by summer after all!

c

hiatus

a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process

sorry for mine!

just been having so much fun, i can’t believe it’s been almost a month since i blogged last!

three weekends ago we went to cleveland to visit brian’s best friend brandon, his wife ashley, and their son madden. madden is 8 months old and we hadn’t met him yet, so it was well overdue! if you recall, the last time we went to cleveland, brian’s car broke down, and we had to take a greyhound bus back to indy. it was certainly an adventure! luckily this time, there were no troubles (car or otherwise), just good times! unfortunately, these are the only two pictures i managed to take while we were there

wpid-img_20150207_205338.jpg wpid-img_20150216_070520.jpgon friday, ashley made us some delicious chili, and we played heads up which is a really fun (free!) game/app…kind of like taboo, where you give your partner hints and try to get them to guess the word. it was girls against boys, and i’m pretty sure we blew them out of the water. they were beating us on the movies category, but we rocked the 90’s category, lol.

on saturday, our other friend JJ drove in from mansfield to hang out with us, too. the boys played a lot of video games, while ashley and i watched a bunch of junk tv…that’s the best kind! then they took us to a brewery called fatheads, where i had the most delicious “bumbleberry honey blueberry ale,” complete with fresh blueberries, and the most delicious imperial ipa called “hop juju,” and the most delicious brisket sandwich that i think had a fried egg on it, although i can’t quite remember.

for brunch on sunday, we met up with brandon and ashley’s friends mike and ashley, and their son, bentley, who is just a month or so younger than madden. i had some delish eggs benedict. (it’s a miracle i didn’t gain any weight on this trip, bc i feel like all we did was eat!)

then last weekend, while brian was away at video game weekend, i had ashlee over for sewing weekend (which i still need to post about!) it was a lot of fun, and we got a lot accomplished, so that was good. even though we were apart, brian still posted this on facebook and made my day. he hates pda, and is a very private, not so mushy person, so this declaration of love certainly surprised me, but hey, i’ll take it!

wpid-screenshot_2015-02-19-15-46-54.pngplease excuse the other things, i was too lazy to crop, haha

this is the weekend i had been waiting for, because it was out belated valentine’s day celebration, and i was spoiled!

i’ve returned to counting calories these past few weeks (more about that in a few) so a “cheat day” (or two) were well deserved. on friday, i got an oil change, ran some errands with my brother sam, and then met up with brian at abuelo’s. they have THE BEST chile rellenos and enchiladas.

after that, brian and i researched some possible venues in vegas for the ceremony and/or reception. stressful as always, so i won’t dwell to much on that.

then yesterday, we went shopping. i got a few shirts, got the courage to go into mac and ask them to teach me how to fill in my eyebrows, yet still look natural, so had to pick up a few things there. i had never been there before, and wasn’t really expecting those prices, but good to know for next time…yikes! and then we also splurged at teavana of all places lol.

wpid-img_20150221_164847.jpgfinally, we ate at my favorite restaurant of all time…and i think you know what it is…BENIHANA’S!! we even had a celebrity sighting…robert mathis, defensive end for the indianapolis colts, was sitting at the table right next to us!

wpid-wp-1424649419617.jpegstar struck!

today we went to goodwill to get rid of a crap ton of stuff i have been gathering for quite some time now…a large tv stand, two boxes of pots, pans, and glasses, and about 4 or so trashbags of clothes. felt so good! we even had some guy who uses scrap metal come haul away our old broken dryer, which freed up a lot of room in the garage as well. decluttering is always a positive experience, perhaps i am just so anxious for spring to arrive that i started the cleaning early?!

and finally, back to the counting calories thing…i wanted to share some of the recipes that we’ve tried lately that were pretty good if you wanted to test them out yourself…

cheese spaghetti squash (although when i ate my leftovers at school the next day, one of my boys asked if i was eating worms, lol) one serving has 175 calories, compared to the usual 700 a “real” pasta dish would have

for dinner tonight, we had this meatless curry dish, with:  tomatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, chick peas, and cauliflower…all on top of sticky coconut rice. so good!

and for breakfast this week, i used this baked oatmeal base recipe, and added bananas, mini chocolate chips, and almonds as toppings. it made two trays worth, so i may have to freeze some for future use. i tested one fresh out of the oven and they were so yummy!

wpid-wp-1424649425323.jpegthis winter has been hard for my weight loss journey. i had finally gotten into a groove with running, and then had to stop. i thought teaching swim lessons two nights a week (for 3 hours each night) would step up my metabolism, but i don’t really think it has. one perk of my job, is that there is free lunch every day, but i think that has been more harmful than helpful for me.

i had done so well, and lost 19 pounds, 19! but then gained almost 5 of them back. i’m happy to report that i’m back on track, and have lost 4 of those pounds again. now i am still 12 pounds from my goal. #thestruggleisreal

i really hate having to make a conscious effort with every meal, and every thing i put into my mouth…don’t we all?! of course i would love nothing more than to eat whatever i want, whenever i want…but there’s something to be said about literally watching the pounds shed off your body. i had to force myself to donate all of my “fat” clothes, so i wouldn’t have them for back up and get complacent again.

every day is a clean slate

i plan to try two new recipes this week, so stay tuned…

c

i love gamma phi omega…

…it is the best sorority!

this weekend, our alumni chapter put together a pot luck dinner, and i’m so glad i attended! it was so fun to EAT and reconnect with sisters…as i’m guilty of being one of the long lost ones.

here is a picture of my lovely line sister, raquel and i

wpid-wp-1422235504267.jpegshe is gorgeous! it was just like old times, sharing secrets and laughing the night away. she and i have been through SO much together, and i’m so blessed to have her in my life

this is cat, the hostess with the mostest. i have so many sisters nearby, i really need to take advantage of being in the same city and hang out more often!

wpid-wp-1422235520543.jpegthis is my sister, chole. she is also a teacher, and has had an amazing weight loss journey lately, so we have been in touch a lot as i she inspires me and i ask for advice. i’m so sad that right as we’ve formed a closer connection her family will be moving to texas soon :(

wpid-screenshot_2015-01-25-01-05-082.jpg.jpegand here we all are struggling to take a selfie together, lol. goofballs!

wpid-wp-1422235901873.jpegamazingly earlier in the evening we were able to capture this awesome panoramic photo of all the sisters who attended.

wpid-wp-1422235954315.jpegsuch gorgeous ladies, inside and out!

after dinner we were supposed to all go out dancing, but a few of us got distracted and ending up just staying at the house and playing cards against humanity

wpid-wp-1422235897328.jpeghopefully i will be spending more time with my sisters sooner, rather than later!

in other news last week, i went to my mom’s personal trainer with her on monday, and even though he “went easy on me,” he kicked my butt! i was literally sore for the rest of the week. so apparently i’m out of shape huh?! afterwards i ran a few errands with my mom, we met up with my dad for lunch, and then we watching a few talk shows together. it was such a fun (yet exhausting) mommy daughter date

wpid-img_20150119_170651.jpgi also met up with some friends midweek for happy hour. this coconut pineapple mojito was to die for

wpid-wp-1422235447372.jpegon friday, brian and i had date night at abuelo’s. we then went to starbucks were i taught him about carmel macchiatos. and the barista introduced me to carmel brulee steamers. um, yum! too bad it’s a seasonal flavor and won’t be available for much longer :(

wpid-wp-1422235606809.jpegthen we came home and watched legends of the fall. i hadn’t seen it since i was little, and obviously didn’t understand what was going on, lol. and brian had never seen it.

and we ended the weekend with another movie, lucy. i LOVED it! i’m not usually into sci-fi but i really liked this one.

wpid-img_20150125_184442.jpgi had an AMAZING first week at my new job. it’s so wonderful not dreading going to work in the morning. the kids and other teachers are awesome. the letter of the week was P and we got to wear pajamas on thursday and friday…how fun is that?!

on friday i got paid from my old job, my new job, and my part time job, so to reward myself for putting in so many hours, i got a manicure lol. i usually only care if my toes look good, and have mastered giving myself pedicures…but it’s a special treat to get a mani every once in a while. i got a natural color gel and she promised me it will last 3 or 4 weeks yay!

wpid-wp-1422235470553.jpeglots of fun stuff coming up in the next few weeks ahead as well…stay tuned

c

it’s ok to be a glowstick…

glowsticki love social media, i really do. especially sites such as pinterest and instagram, where i get a lot of my crafting and cooking ideas. however, since pinning this quote just two days ago, it has been repinned almost 275 times, and “liked” almost 50 times! and did you know that i get both push and email notifications every time that happens?! needless to say, it’s been a little more than annoying, lol…but i still really like the quote.

when i first saw it, it reminded me of my one little word i picked for this year…light. and it also really speaks to where i am in my life right now. i was at a job where i was very unhappy, and every day just brought me into a deeper, darker place. i start my new job on tuesday, and couldn’t be more excited! i know that like all things in life, no job will be perfect, but i really feel that i am moving onward and upward, and can’t wait to start the journey.

i had yet another relaxing weekend, and i’ve got to say, a girl could get used to this! on friday night, as promised, brian took us to ale emporium to celebrate my new job. (i’m still waiting for him to cash in his celebration at hooter’s for his promotion, but i’m definitely not going to do any extra reminding, lol) when we got home, i changed into my new adorable and comfy pajama pants, and brian and i watched “boyhood,” while i cut loose threads on a quilt. he enjoyed the movie a lot, but i didn’t really think it had much of a point.

wpid-wp-1421618081079.jpega few years ago for valentine’s day, brian got a puzzle made from a picture of us, and we finally started working on that, while listening to i heart radio (blues travelers station). it’s times like these that remind me how lucky we really are, when our biggest worry in life is finding the last edge piece ;)

saturday, i tried another new recipe, and it was a huge hit. probably horrible for us, but very tasty! sausage and cheese bread

i was pretty much a sewing machine on saturday, but i did manage to leave the house for a bit to return a redbox and do a little retail therapy. i put together these super cute succulents…one for me, and one for baby sis when she comes home to visit in a few weekends

wpid-wp-1421618066248.jpegtoday, cheryl had me over for brunch, where i got to see her new pressure cooker in action…and now i think i must have one too, lol. we had fried eggs over cheesy mushroom and bacon risotto. yes please! i brought fresh fruit and dip. she also made me a special cappuccino. she has a million fun kitchen gadgets. after that we watched “maze runner,” and more ID tv than i care to admit lol. i started to read maze runner once, but couldn’t really get into it. and even after watching the movie today i had to read an explanation of the plot because some parts weren’t all that clear to me. as usual, we had a very care free and fun time together, and even discussed opening a restaurant lol. keep in mind we also once decided to write a book of short stories based on our lives, and only wrote about two lol

wpid-wp-1421618057570.jpegnow brian and i are getting ready to watch the colts game, and ufc fights. should be an entertaining evening, to say the least.

tomorrow i get to catch up with my sorority sister, raquel, who i haven’t seen in FOREVER! and her two sons.

and while i’m on the subject of awesome friends, i must give a shout out to ashlee…i mentioned how i wanted a slouchie beanie, and she gave me this one…bonus, it’s my favorite color! FTW! thanks babe, i felt like a million dollars in it! :)

wpid-wp-1421618090743.jpegi’ve really enjoyed these last few low key days…they have been a great way to regroup and get ready to ease into my new job next week!

stay tuned

c

starting the new year off with a bang!

2015 is going to be great, i can just feel it!

i had such a relaxing, carefree week and weekend, it really set the mood for a year of new beginnings.

recently, i accepted a new position, and i cannot wait to get started. i am leaving my current job as a head start preschool teacher, and will be working at a private preschool, and also teaching swim lessons two nights a week. the new job is 8 minutes from my house (versus 45 minutes), the kids in my class are all the same age, 3, (versus having a mixed age class of 3, 4, and 5 year olds), i will only have 8 children in my class (versus 20), my work day will be from 8:30-2:30 (versus 7:30-4:30), i won’t have to pay union dues, and the majority of my benefits will be covered by my employer. i also already have quite a few close friends that work at the new place, so with all of those pros, i just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

when i first interviewed, i was told there weren’t currently any positions available. i loved the staff, the kids, the facility, and the program so much, that i told them i didn’t mind waiting until something opened up. well, i am so very blessed, because by the favor of God, they liked me so much, they actually CREATED a position for me! i start next week!

my good friend cheryl and i like to think of ourselves as foodies…well, as much as you can be while living in indiana i guess, lol. to celebrate this exciting news, she told me to pick a place for us to go eat. my brother sam, who is younger and much more “in the know” than i am, had just told me about a brunch place near fountain square called “milktooth.” i decided this would be the perfect place. great minds think alike, so cheryl and i both got the exact same things to eat and drink, lol. we had:

*uova al forno:  local egg baked in spicy tomato sauce, amelia’s semolina, and grilled merguez sausage

wpid-wp-1421105238497.jpeg*cinnamon sugar pistachio doughnuts, yogurt mousse, sweet potato preserves

wpid-wp-1421105251317.jpegand some kind of grapefruit vodka mimosa that isn’t listed on the online menu for me to copy and paste the description of. the food was delicious, and the people watching was entertaining as it always is with us two, lol

in other news, brian got a promotion at his job as well! it is a very happy and rewarding time at our house! to celebrate his “new job,” he wants to go to hooters (of course). he also said he will take me wherever i want to go to celebrate my new position, and i think i want to go to the ale emporium for their amazing hermanaki wings! yum!

last week i tested out three new recipes:  eggnog bread pudding (per my brother sam’s request), orzo with peas and parmesan, and “low calorie” banana bread. they were all very tasty. the only thing i changed, was i added one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the banana bread (which only added 20 more calories to the entire loaf), and also a pinch of cinnamon and a few drops of vanilla. as a lover of banana bread, i couldn’t taste a difference at all. it was still super moist. if i would’ve had applesauce i would’ve tried to use that in place of the margarine, but sadly i did not.

as you all know, i am determined to lose more weight this year, mostly in preparation for the wedding, but also just to be a healthier person all around. it isn’t easy counting calories and giving up things i love like pop, chips, candy, ice cream, etc. every friday at work, everyone gets lunch together. this past friday, the ladies bought red lobster. do you know how badly i wanted to get coconut shrimp and those famous cheddar biscuits?! but i didn’t. i stayed strong and ate my lean cuisine, 100 calorie pack of cheez its, and a tiny granny smith apple. and when i stepped on the scale sunday morning, i had lost 3 pounds for the week. yea the process sucks, but the progress is so worth it in the end! i was so happy, (and not just because of the declining number), but because of my dedication, hard work, and will power. when it starts to pay off, and you can see numerical evidence, it really reinforces your motivation and drive. at my new job, i will have daily access to an indoor pool and track, and can’t wait to start shedding some more pounds!

speaking of wedding, i think brian and i have decided that we are going to get married in vegas. and no, not at some cheesy elvis chapel, lol! the venues are surprisingly way more affordable, and way prettier than anything we can find here. it’s still in the early stages of planning, but we are pretty stoked about it!

my good friend ashlee and i decided that we are going to try to read a book together each month, and i also found this reading challenge that i’m going to attempt, but not put too much pressure on myself to try to complete…it looks pretty detailed and daunting. but, we have started our first book together, “the silent wife,” and this weekend at the library in the free section, i picked up a copy of “the ear, the eye, and the arm,” which i LOVED as a kid. “a book from your childhood,” is on the list, so that’s perfect!

indiana is currently under a winter weather/ice storm advisory. i have a huge crockpot of chili simmering, ready for our dinner when we get home.

life.is.good

c

my one little word

i’m trying something new this year…as a way to sort of help me not only get back to my journaling/paper crafting roots, but also to really focus on my mental health…i decided to take the plunge, and partake in ali edwards’ “one little word” class

after much deliberation, the one little word i have chosen for 2015 is “light”

you know me, i am a perfectionist and put way too much energy into every single little decision…so picking just one word to focus on for a whole 365 days was a challenge in itself

i made quite the list of words i was considering, but in the end, i kept coming back to the same one

the other day i diagnosed myself as a hypersensitive person. all too often i find myself dwelling on things that i should not even give a second thought to. i desperately need to learn to just let things go. all of this emotional baggage has begun to take its toll on me, and become oh so heavy…

light:  of little weight, easy to lift

this is how i want to feel. always. the power has been in my hands all along, but i constantly hand it over to these outside sources, letting them steal my happiness, joy, and energy. i had let worldly people and things make me a bitter person, who was seldom in a good mood, or capable of finding silver linings in everyday storms. not anymore.

as i started to do further research on this word, and dig a little deeper, the idea of light started to mean so much more

let your heart be light. let your light shine. be a source of illumination. be ignited. switch on. stimulate sight, and make things visible. an expression in someone’s eyes indicating a particular emotion or mood. enlightenment. spiritual illumination by divine truth. something that is brighter than its surroundings. produce a spark. a window or opening to let light in. gentle or delicate. not serious or solemn. free from worry or unhappiness. cheerful. not dark.

i would love nothing more than to reconnect with the easy going, carefree, bubbly me. i would also like to have a more positive and spiritual outlook on life.

i want to explore alternate meanings too, such as:   a guiding light. in a good light. in light of. light a fire. light at the end of the tunnel. lighten up. lighten your load. see it in a whole new light. shed light on.

i can also play around with:  sparkle, stars, sunshine, glitter, lighthouse

in short, i just want to find my inner glow, hold fast to it, and try to bring rays of sunshine with me wherever i go. i know that sounds so cliche, but i tend to remember the people who go out of their way to remain calm and always have a kind word to say. this is what i strive for. to leave others with the warm fuzzies, and to be a beacon of…well…light

<3 xtina

light