Friday, February 16, 2018

4 simple low-carb meals for the whole family!

My super easy meal idea posts are one of the most popular here on the blog... you can see all of them here. We are a busy family and we like to eat healthy and delicious meals, but I rarely have the time to compile a bunch of ingredients or read recipes with 6 or more steps. I need SUPER easy and SUPER delicious meals in my repertoire to feed everyone's taste.  One of the questions I've been getting the most since talking about my husband and I's journey on the Faster Way to Fat Loss program is about dinner. What to make for dinner? Will my kids eat what we eat?  There are only a few low-carb days for dinner and we have a few dinner formulas we use to make the low-carb days delicious and easy.  Today I am pulling together 4 of our favorites - our kids loved these too, so they are kid approved!


Here are 4 low-carb meals that our family has really been loving lately...

Chicken Sausages with Buffalo Cauliflower
Cook the sausages and roast the cauliflower (I use frozen, but you can use fresh too) according to the package instructions.  When the cauliflower is done roasting mix it with the Frank's Red Hot sauce. Then serve the cauliflower over arugula with carrots and blue cheese sauce on the side.  We LOVE this meal and gobble it up without missing the carbs at all.

Asian Chicken Salad
I use a simple asian salad kit as the starter for this meal.  Grill or roast the chicken and then serve chopped in strips over the salad with extra veggies on the side like sugar snap peas, avocado or red peppers. 

Shrimp Stir Fry
This meal is one that we are OBSESSED with... if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby you can simply make your own cauliflower rice and add in frozen stir fry veggies.  If you do live near a Trader Joe's this cauliflower rice is a game changer, it's so delicious and healthy.  I simply saute the shrimp in one pan with a little cayenne pepper for flavor.  Then I saute the cauliflower fried rice with 3 or 4 eggs mixed in.  Then you serve the shrimp over the cauliflower fried rice.  This makes for great leftovers too!

Zoodles with Meatballs
Zoodles (noodles made from zucchini) are a new popular food that tastes great and are perfect for low-carb days. Saute the zoodles while baking the pre-made meatballs and serve with tomato sauce and some goat cheese and oh my goodness you will be licking the bowl.  For this meal I would likely serve my kids regular noodles and reserve the zoodles for just my husband and I.

This program isn't ALL low-carb meals... so when you do go low carb you want to do it well.  I will hopefully post soon about more meal ideas for the days that aren't low-carb.  You can get more information about the FWTFL program here - it's been SO life changing for my husband and I.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

my everyday style: a simple cardigan!

Transitioning my wardrobe from winter to spring over the next month or so will be super challenging living in Michigan. I'm SO over wearing a million layers, thick sweaters and snowy days.  However the reality is that it's still not warm and some layers are still 100% necessary.  That is why I love this outfit so much... this simple cardigan is perfect for keeping warm, but hints more at spring than winter. Easy layers like these are making February more bearable... plus I can see wearing this cardigan through the spring and into the fall even, it's so versatile and comfortable.

Plus can we talk about the value of a good old classic t-shirt!?!? This one is SO soft and is perfect for laying or just wearing around the house.  Plus could almost 1400 positive reviews be wrong?!  And bonus, it's under $20!

In other (good) news... March is two weeks away, Daylight Savings is less than a month away and spring break is 6 weeks away! I can already tell that the days are getting longer - praise the good Lord for the extra light in the mornings and spring will be here before we know it. There is hope on the horizon for spring!

Outfit Details:
Cardigan (I went up a size!)
Necklace (similar)
Jeans (no longer available, super similar pair!)
Leopard Flats (similar, similar or similar)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Instagram lately!

The past month was a great month over on Instagram... I had a lot of fun pulling together casual everyday looks that didn't make it to the blog.  My outfits were admittedly a little all over the place... we had some super warm (for winter) days, some freezing cold days and some warm weather travel mixed in as well - so there was a full spectrum of outfits.  Here are some of my favorites...

This outfit is perfect for warmer winter days and for transitioning to spring! above: sweater, clutch, jeans, flats

A few basics I packed for our recent trip to Florida! I love this budget-buy swimsuit. above: hat, sunglasses, clutch, sandals, swimsuit (available in 4 colors!)

I've worn this pull over fleece to death this winter... it's been a lifesaver for those days I just feel like I can't warm up! above: fleece (or similar), button front top, sunglassesjeans, sneakers (color: sunset glow)

I can't resist a little red and pink combo this time of year! above: jeanssneakersstriped top, similar hat

I'm finally broke down a purchased one of these adorable letter boards.  I love it! Or how cute are these multi colored options?

Everybody needs a little leopard now and then! This leopard coat is so fun! above: similar coat, sweatshirt (on sale!), jeans, sneakers

I love, love, LOVE this easy top for weekends and everyday wear. above: top (on sale!), lace bralette, jeans

I love a good denim jacket!  This one is awesome and under $40, I love how it fits nice and slim with lots of stretch. If you like a boxier fit I also just snagged this one... because it was also a great deal and I loved the distressing!  above: jean jacket, jeans, similar striped top

A few more fun items I packed for Florida... this was the perfect outfit for a morning Starbucks run. This sweatshirt runs big, so size down. And these gold birkenstocks are BACK in stock after selling out super quick last summer, so snag them soon - they are my go-to spring and summer "mom" shoes! above: sweatshirt, tote bag, similar shorts, birkenstocks, sunglasses

I constantly pull for this relaxed twist-front top... it's so cozy and easy to dress up or down. above: similar jacket, topjeansflats, bag

Make sure you are following me on Instagram for more daily outfit inspiration! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

my everyday style: vacation family date night!

We just got back from a SUPER quick trip to Florida... the weather was so amazing and is making me so excited for spring break, spring, summer... pretty much sun and warmth in it's entirety.  I'm such a sun-seeker and no amount of heat or humidity is too much for me. I love it! My hair, as you can see here is pretty over the humidity.  This is after I attempted to curl it twice and then quit.  Hey I can trade good hair days for warmth. I have no problem with that.

Our family keeps it pretty low key on vacation.  You can find us by the pool, enjoying a little sleeping in and while we usually stock the fridge with healthy and inexpensive options for breakfast and lunch  - we love a good dinner out as a family.  Or a Family Date Night as we like to call it. So we clean ourselves up a bit from being at the pool all day and then head out as a family for some dinner and fun. After a day in the sun the evenings in Florida always feel cool to me... so I always throw in a pair of jeans (am I the only one that packs jeans on vacation?!?!) and a few nicer tops for evenings like these.

Embroidery is going to be a huge trend for spring and summer this year... this embroidered top sold out in a HOT minute (I think there are just a few options left) which is super sad. But I also love this one, this one, this one, this one and this one.  I love this style top... it's perfect with jeans, shorts or even as a swim cover up. It's the perfect spring/summer top.

If you've been around here for a while you know that I'm usually pretty PRACTICAL about my outfit choices.  But can we talk about two very NOT practical pieces here that I just adore!?!? These tassel loafers can't really be categorized as practical... but I threw practicality straight to the curb when I saw these cuties.  I mean, shoes with one tassel are cute... but shoes with multiple tassels? Consider my winter blues beat - all with a cute pair of shoes! Plus they are crazy comfortable so that's a huge win for me - and for my practical nature.  And this bag... I know, it's crazy! It's see-through! It has holes in it! But I just plain don't care. So many other bloggers have it and a few of my super stylish friends have it and I just couldn't resist.  And what is amazing is that I have my phone, some lip gloss and some keys in here and you really can't seem them... I felt like the world would see all my stuff when I took this out for dinner but it really wasn't the case. If you love this bag like I do you can find it here... but there is also a dupe here for way less.  Pick your poison.

Outfit Details:
Top (more options below...)
Bracelet (under $10!)

shop similar tops below...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

the nutrition & fitness program that has changed my life!

Let's talk a little about health and wellness today... I know you gals usually show up for fashion, but today I am switching it up a bit.  If you follow me on Instagram you know I have been absolutely RAVING about this nutrition and fitness program that I have been doing for the last 6 weeks.

Here's the backstory... since turning 35 I feel like my metabolism has absolutely stopped.  It seems that no matter how good I was eating or how much I was working out I was gaining 2-3 extra pounds a year.  Fast forward to today and I'm turning 40 this year and those extra pounds are really adding up at this point.  My jeans were getting tight so I was buying the next size up, I kept buying shirts looser and no matter what I tried (limiting calories, quitting gluten, scaling back on alcohol, etc, etc) - nothing worked.  I wasn't feeling like my best self and I was sick and tired of my clothes getting tighter and tighter all while I was making healthy choices and watching what I was eating.  I was SUPER frustrated.

I had witnessed a few other bloggers trying the FWTFL program and have great success, so when my husband suggested we both try something new in 2018 - I suggested this program.  I was very skeptical of anything working and also didn't want to further limit the calories and food I was eating - I felt like I couldn't limit it any further with another crazy diet.  But you guys, this program is an absolute GAME CHANGER.

6 weeks later: I am a new person! I have lost 10 pounds, about 6 inches, I feel GREAT and finally, FINALLY have found success in looking and feeling my personal best.  How did I do it? The Faster Way to Fat Loss is unlike anything I've ever tried before.  It's a combination of intermittent fasting, carb cycling and fitness.  In my opinion, it's the key to unlocking the weight loss I have wanted for so long and it's also a ROAD MAP for keeping it off in the future.  I know you are probably thinking "what's intermittent fasting?" or "what the heck is carb cycling" and a million other questions... I'll answer a few of the most common questions I get and then you can check out the website for more info or I can answer more questions in the comments!

Question: What is carb cycling?
Answer: Carb cycling is all about eating the RIGHT foods as the RIGHT time. Some days you will limit your carbs, some days you will limit your calories and some days you will eat regular calories.  You will NOT be deprived and you will NOT feel hungry.  Most days on this program I eat MORE carbs and more food than what I am used to - but it's the GOOD kind of carbs and they make a huge difference in fueling your body.

Question: What is intermittent fasting?
Answer: Intermittent fasting is simply closing the window of time that you eat during the day.  For this program you will eat during an 8 hour window each day and "fast" for 16.  My eating window is 11am to 7pm. But you can make it work for you. Many girls do noon to 8pm.  This may sound crazy and it takes a week or so to get used to, but it's actually pretty easy when you train your body to do it.  During your fasting period you can have water, black coffee, or tea. I usually start my day with TONS of water and end it with an herbal tea - both during the 16 hour fast.

Question: Isn't skipping meals dangerous and unhealthy?
Answer: This isn't skipping meals. I still eat 3 meals a day plus a snack, I just condense it. For me that is usually eating my breakfast at 11am, eating lunch at 12:30pm, then having a snack at 4pm and dinner at 6pm. You will get a full days worth of calories, but in a shorter time.

Question: Are we counting calories or restricting calories?
Answer: The program focuses on hitting the right calories to see results but not to starve or deprive yourself.  Instead, as I mentioned before, we are more focused on eating the RIGHT foods at the RIGHT time - so you will focus a ton on tracking your MACROS (fats, proteins, carbs).  It all sounds a little confusing at first, but once you get started it's super easy to get the hang of.

Question: Is this like the Keto Diet?
Answer: No. We eat carbs!

Question: What about my kids/husband? Will they hold me back?
Answer: No! My kids eat what we eat (when they are home from school) and when they eat breakfast I simply sip on my water or hot tea.  They are actually LOVING the dinners we have been having lately and have commented on it! I've even heard of husbands that aren't on the program losing a little weight alongside their wives without even trying.

Question: Isn't this a little expensive? 
Answer: I agree, it's not cheap. I had a little buyers remorse after I hit "buy" myself. But NO LONGER!  This program is 7 full weeks of coaching and like I mentioned earlier, a road map for the future.  What I have learned in this 7 week program will be the program I will stick to for LIFE.  I don't intend on quitting this system any time soon. It has brought a new level of education and awareness about the fueling my body. I'm SO thankful for what this system has taught me that it's worth every last penny.

Question: What are the workouts like? Can I do them at home if I don't have a gym membership?
Answer: The workouts range from home, beginner and advanced levels and are all explained for you. You don't need a gym membership or fancy equipment.  This program is about 80% about the nutrition piece. If you are overwhelmed by the workouts - like me - then focus on keeping the nutrition piece super tight and you will still see amazing results then you can slowly add in the workouts.

Question: Is this only for women? Or can men participate?
Answer: Men can absolutely participate. My husband and I are doing it together! He is in the men's group and I am in the women's group.  Some of the details are a little different, but it's really easy to do together! It's been fun to learn this system together and when you sign up as a couple you get a discount too.  My husband has LOVED this program and has seen amazing results (why can guys lose weight so easily!?!).

Question: What does a usual day look like for food?
Answer: There is a lot of room for making this program your own, so every day will look different.

The usual low-carb day looks like this... (or you can see more of my low-carb meal ideas here)
Breakfast: Protein Shake (Chocolate Vega Protein Powder, Almond Milk, Spinach & Almond Butter)
Lunch: Homemade Chicken Salad on Greens with blueberries on the side
Snack: Almonds
Dinner: Salmon with Roasted Broccoli

A usual regular carb day looks like this...
Breakfast: Protein Shake (Chocolate Vega Protein Powder, Almond Milks, Spinach & Banana)
Lunch: Whole Grain Sprouted Toast with Avocado and Turkey Sandwich Meat
Snack: RX Bar (I am LOVING these)
Dinner: Sweet Potato with Grilled Chicken and a Green Salad

You can find out more information on the website HERE.  The next round starts 2/26/18 and I already have early word that it is filling up quickly! If you have plans for getting in shape for Spring Break or your New Years Resolutions are in the tank and you are feeling hopeless in your weight loss and health and wellness journey - you will NOT regret signing up for this program!  And feel free to ask any additional questions I may not have answered!

Keep in mind, I'm not a doctor, dietician or fitness expert - I'm simply seeing great results from it.  All technical questions should be directed to the Faster Way to Fat Loss founder Amanda.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

what to pack: spring break!

Okay all you spring breakers... it's TIME! Time to stock up your wardrobe with a few fresh pieces for your upcoming trip south. Thinking about warm and sunny locales is about all that gets me through this time of year...  you?  Today I pulled together tons of easy, breezy basics that are all budget friendly too.  This lace up striped dress is perfect for pairing with some flip flops and a hat for grabbing vacation brunch.  I love this gingham swimsuit paired with this swim cover-up.   For dinners out I love the idea of this ruffled dresswedge espadrilles and a clutch.   Last year on spring break I threw a few of these pool toys in the suitcase and they ended up being a blast to play with for the entire family.  My personal favorites to pack are this sunscreen, my kindle paperwhite and the most comfortable and flattering one piece suit EVER.  And don't forget your sun protection... a simple hat and my favorite sunscreen are always in my bag too!  I always like to plan on being in my swimsuit as much as possible on spring break so top that double as swim cover ups like this oversized white henley tee or this relaxed pull over sweater are great to pack.

Here are my top picks for spring break travel this season and I'd love to hear what fun place you are headed!

blue ruffle trim dresssunglassesblow up swanlace up striped dresscanvas tote (I just snagged this for myself!)denim shorts (my favorite budget find!), wedge espadrillespull over sweaternavy woven clutchpink slide sandals (lots of color options!), twill field jacket (for cool evenings), gingham swimsuit (top & bottom), earringskindle paperwhite (never leave home without it!), black/white striped dresswhite jeansblue white maxi swim cover-uphatpink ruffle teeoversized white henley teeone piece suit (my personal favorite... it's so comfy!), sunscreen set (this is my FAVORITE!), flip flops

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

my everyday style: all the hearts and 10 things making me happy right now!

I probably sound like a broken record but I LOVE Valentine's. No joke it's my favorite holiday! As a parent it's pretty low pressure... I usually snag a few little trinkets for the kiddos and then either pick up cookies or cupcakes or make them myself. And then we do something easy and fun for dinner - last year I took the kids to Chik Fil A because my husband accidentally scheduled a work trip so it was just the three of us! It was a fun little date night together.  I love looking forward to Valentine's Day because it's something to break up the monotony of winter in February and because I love pink, hearts, flowers and candy and that is basically what the entire holiday is about. I never once had a boyfriend on VDay before I met my husband and while he usually spoils me a little too, I think this holiday is all about spoiling others and/or yourself.  I have no shame in picking out some flowers and candy for myself... or being gracious and accepting them from my husband. Either (or both!) work for me!

With the month of LOVE in mind... here are 10 things making me happy this month:

1) Valentine's Day!
2) The steady stock of tulips that are now at my local Trader Joe's. I pretty much pick up a bundle or two every time I'm there.  It's the perfect pop of spring during this endless winter.
3) This sweatshirt. So soft, perfectly oversized (I'm wearing a size small) and it has hearts AND stripes. What else could a girl ask for??? Oh and it's only $33!!!
4) We head to Florida TODAY. I'm so ready for a little warmth, sun and humidity.  Follow along for some fun adventures on my Instagram Stories.
5) Valentine's candy... I mean, its my favorite!  Those cinnamon lips and jujube hearts... alllllll about it. Oh and of course, plenty of conversation hearts. Even though I'm not eating much candy do to THIS amazing program I am doing.... but I still enjoy a little indulgence here and there ;)
6) Speaking of... I'm in week 5 of 6 of this AMAZING health program and I am loving it! I'm terrible at keeping a diet, but so far I've had great success with this program. Now that I am almost 40 *ahem* it seems like I gain another 2-3 pounds a year that I just CAN NOT get rid of. Well, consider them gone. This program is that good. I'll do a full blog post on it soon... but in the meantime, I highly recommend it! Feeling good is making me VERY happy right now!
7) Country music. Okay I just got hooked on country lately because I'm just so over the 10 songs that the radio plays... so instead I'm hooked on 10 new songs on my Pandora country station instead. It's kind of fun and a great change of pace... so far I'm loving LANCO, Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line. Do you listen to country? I think people either love it or hate it!
8) I'm obsessed with these bars. Have you tried them? I swear I could down like 3 a day.
9) Remember these shoes I wore here? They are back in stock! It makes me so happy because I know they sold out super fast last spring/summer and so many of you were bummed. But they are back! I wore these babies NON-STOP last summer.  So comfortable and cute!
10) This book. I've been keeping it on my desk and reading one each day. The book is so pretty... and it's a great encouraging word every day - which I often need!

What's making you happy these days?!?!

Outfit Details:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

the monthly edit: February 2018!

February is here! The month of LOVE... and the month of patiently waiting for spring to arrive.  Thankfully we have the "love" part to distract us! I'm basically stockpiling candy and shirts with hearts on them to distract me... haha, anyone else?  Here are a few fun things that are inspiring me this month and that are helping make this month a little more bearable.

oh la la top, how cute is tis for Valentine's Day or just for spring in general. It reminds me of spring in Paris... doesn't that sound lovely?
black platform sneakers, these easy to wear sneakers are my latest obsession. I have a similar pair I wear constantly... they are a little dressier than a usual pair of sneakers and are perfect for weekends and errands.
cream sweater, at this point it seems like sweater season will never end. I might as well enjoy it, or try! This one looks SO cozy!
boyfriend jeans, I am obsessed with this pair of boyfriend jeans for spring. I'm so ready for bare ankle season! Boyfriend jeans are, in my opinion, the perfect spring and summer jean.
the perfect lip duo - I'm wearing this lipstick and lipgloss everyday! Some days I'll choose one or the other or some days layer them!
l'amour sweater, Isn't this the cutest? I would pair it with a denim jacket for a weekend look. It's perfect for Valentine's but could be worn all spring!
striped top, This is the perfect casual top to take you from winter to spring. It's part sweatshirt, part sweater, part t-shirt. Doesn't that sound amazing?! It's so soft  and it's under $25!
black tote, I love this classic black bag for everyday use. I need a new black bag - I'm looking for something that is super simple and big enough to carry all my "stuff."

Monday, February 5, 2018

my everyday style: addicted to athleisure!

I've been BIG into the athleisure trend this season... if you're not familiar with "athleisure" it's a mix of athletic wear with leisure wear. It's basically your favorite fitness leggings with your favorite oversized sweater... I mean, doesn't that just sound like heaven? This is new and unchartered territory for me.  Usually I go for jeans and a sweater and change out of my workout clothes right after the workout (I mean, ewww... sweaty Betty!). But pulling on a fresh pair of leggings first thing in the morning to run errands? That is new to me! I love that you can "dress up" your leggings with a fun oversized top or vest.  I'll admit, I also love how comfy this combo is and that sneakers are automatically included.  I will say that my jeans and flats aren't going ANYWHERE.  But there are a few days when "real" clothes just won't do.  I need maximum comfort while still looking pulled together and I love that "athleisure" checks both boxes.

These leggings are definitely obsession worthy with their high waist (so flattering!) and super soft and stretchy material.  They are super slimming as well, so they are great for all day wear even when I am not hitting the gym.  This oversized double layer tee is the perfect mix between a classic t-shirt and a sweatshirt.  It's perfect for a day of errands or for throwing over my workout clothes on the way to an actual workout.  And these sneakers!?!? The best. I have them in two colors and they are hands down my favorite.

Outfit Details:


site design by kiki and co.