Thursday, May 28, 2015

Steph Says: Stitch Fix Box 2 Review

My second Stitch Fix box was so much better than my first, and I kinda wanted to keep everything! But you know, the whole "I have no job and no real paycheck coming in and my husband doesn't seem to believe that new clothes are a NEED and not simply a WANT" thing makes me have to hold back. It's not fun.

But seriously. I NEED NEW CLOTHES.
My closet is stuck in this weird mid-life crisis. Approximately 1/8 of it has cute, current, stylish things that fit me nicely. Half of it is gym clothes and "I'm not leaving my house today" clothes. The other 3/8 is filled with my old teaching gear, which is now mostly too big but I keep hanging on to it "just in case." Does anyone else do that?! Oh hey, this shirt could also double as a circus tent in a pinch, but I better keep it just in case... in case of what? An emergency circus tent malfunction?
I don't even like the circus.
And I wouldn't be wearing a dressy work top to the circus if I did happen to find myself at one.
And somehow I've gotten completely off track. Surprise, surprise.

If you're like...what is this mythical Stitch Fix she's talking about? check out my first post for all the details on how it works. Basically, cute clothes show up on your doorstep. I'm in. 

Thanks again to The Hubs for his photog skills. We even took this one outside. He's earning his paycheck, that one. Onto the Fix!

Item #1
Fun2Fun Clarise Mixed Print Tank
I. Love. This. Top. I love the print, I love the length, I love the colors, I just LOVE IT. $38 was a little pricey, but I try to keep at least one item so my $20 styling fee doesn't go to waste. I totally kept this one and I've worn it enough already to get my money's worth.

Item #2
Daniel Rainn Tolley Mixed Print Crochet Detail Tie-Neck Blouse
(that's a mouthful)
Okay. Sixty-eight dollars? What the what? Are you kidding me? And I find Daniel Rainn tops at TJ Maxx for $16.99 on the reg. Maybe you're paying for the ridiculously long style name? This was cute, but a nope.
Because I can think of a dozen ways I'd rather spend $70!

Item #3
Papermoon Zemba Henley Blouses
I liked this top. I like it even more now that I'm looking at this picture again. But up close, the print was just weird. Really weird. On second thought, I'm satisfied that it was sent back.

Item #4
Papermoon Rylie Embroidery Detail Tank
So much love for this top. I'm a sucker for embroidery detail, so I knew right away I was keeping this one. I wore it for Rascal's birthday party because it matched the decor (yes, I wanted to match my daughter's party's plates. Shut up). She's a keeper!

Item #5
Pixley Marie Abstract Chevron Elastic Waist Dress
Aww, this dress. It was cute. I liked it. But I wasn't head-over-heels for it, and there was something not quite right about the little flap of underboob fabric. Plus, it was not a summer-in-Louisiana-friendly material. If you live in the South, I know you feel me.

So there you have it! Box #2 was a definite winner in my book. I feel like the stylists over there are getting to know me a little bit better, so I'm going to be requesting my next box soon. What should I ask for?

And if you think you'd love a Fix in your life, I'd be mucho thankful if you'd use my referral code.

Hope you have a lovely Friday!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Steph Says: Five Reasons I Run

A few weeks ago, the lovely Cate (@csgetsfit_ on the 'gram) tagged me in a post about the five reasons she runs. That inspired me to do a whole blog post about why I run- why I started running, why I keep running, and why I have fallen in love/hate with the sport. So thanks, Cate, for inspiring me once again!

1. Because I never thought I'd be able to.
Take a little journey with me back to middle school. Every year when that invention of the devil himself - the Presidential Fitness Test- would roll around, the panic would set in. I was quite literally the most unfit and overweight kid in my grade. One year, some of the popular girls got ahold of the coach's clipboard and saw my weight written down next to my name on the roster. They teased me relentlessly for the next few weeks about how fat I was. On top of that shame, I was asked to perform various feats of physical fitness, none of which I could really do. The male coach was rather unequipped to deal with female emotion, so he attempted to encourage me in his testosterone-fueled MAN UP kind of approach (which fueled nothing but his ego and my devastation). He'd scream, "STEPHANIE! JUST RUN THE STRAIGHTS AND WALK THE CURVES!" as I stumbled in the September heat around the makeshift grass track on the playground. And I'd weakly call back, "I can't, Coach. I can't." My body wouldn't allow it. My heart and mind were clawing at the walls, wishing to be anywhere but there, sweating in those too-tight polyester gym shorts that Coach had to special order because they didn't have my size in the school's stock closet.
Twelve years later, I came across Mama Laughlin's blog on Pinterest and spent the entire day reading it from the very first post. I thought to myself, If she can do this, why the hell can't I? So I immediately bought the Couch to 5k app and started my journey.
And now I can run almost 10 miles without needing to walk. I wish Coach could see me now.

2. Because of the feeling of accomplishment.
It's jaw dropping and humbling all at the same time to finish a long run (or a short run that just felt really, really long) to stop and think, "I just ran x miles. I am the greatest human that ever lived." Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks that? No? I also love my medals. They're proudly displayed in my bedroom where I can see them every morning when I wake up. Sometimes I wear them around the house just for funsies! Did I actually just admit that? They remind me of the blood, sweat, and tears I put in to earn them. And they remind me to keep training, even when I don't feel like it, because of the success I feel when it's over.

3. Because it keeps me focused.
If I am given the chance, I will be lazy. It's in my nature. Remember that long story I just told you about middle school? I'm about three boxes of Little Debbies and two days of lethargy away from being right back in that same position (minus the itchy polyester shorts). Training for races, competing against myself, seeing how far I can go without keeps me from taking my stress out on a bowl of ice cream or on the poor, long-suffering Hubs.

4. Because of the camaraderie.
Running has brought me closer to so many amazing women. My Thursday nights with Team RWB have brought me closer to my sister-in-law. My Saturday morning group keeps me laughing so much that I get an ab workout along with my cardio. The running community is unlike any other. No matter how fast or slow or overweight or fit or whatever you may be, if you can tie your (hopefully supportive) running shoes, you will be welcomed in by this crazy (definitely supportive) family of runners. I've become a better person because of the people I run with- strong, confident, goal-oriented chicks. May we know them, may we love them, may we raise them. Can I get an amen?

5. Because I can eat.
Dieting is not my friend. I am a miserable, angry shell of a human being when I'm dieting. IIFYM has helped tremendously because I feel much less deprived, and it's a far cry from the stuff I've tried in the past. LA Weight Loss, Aspen Clinic, Weight Watchers, 1200 calories a day... done it all. And it's all worked...for short periods of time. Becoming dedicated to running long distances means that I can eat, almost literally, whatever I want while maintaining my weight. Did I LOSE weight when I trained for the Zydeco Marathon? Not really. But I gained muscle, stamina, and some killer confidence. With a side of fries, if I so chose.

I chose the fries.
Live ya life.
What makes you wanna move?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Steph (Mrs. K) Says: How To Thrive in College (Instead of Just Survive)

So, it's come at last.
At last, it's come.
The day I knew would come at last has come, at last.
My precious baby seniors are graduating.

I taught this group of young men and women when they were in the eighth grade and again when they were freshmen. In those two years, and in the following two, I grew to love these amazing kids with my entire heart. I'm at a loss for words to explain how and why they mean to me as much as they do, but they will forever have my love and respect. I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of them.
Now they're off to the real world I always warned them about. Their futures are bright and they are going to accomplish big things- just wait and see. But first, they have to survive college. LSU, UL, Tulane, Ole Miss, Springhill, Millsaps, UNO, McNeese, Southern, and Northwestern... new campuses with new experiences and new challenges await them.

When I went to LSU, I left the place I had grown up and lived my whole life to move an hour down I-10 to Baton Rouge.  The city itself was intimidating, but LSU's campus felt like an oasis. I found out a lot about myself those four years, and they were some of the best years of my life. But as with all major life changes, there is bad that comes with the good. Here, I've created the list of things that kept me going through those four difficult, exhilarating, life-changing years.

I wish you the best of luck, my sweet babies. Show them what you got. I know you're going to make me proud.

Mrs. K's College Survival Tips
1. Go to class. Professors will see your face and start to remember you. They'll be more likely to help you if they recognize you.

2. Go to the professor's office hours if you're struggling. That's what office hours are for! And bonus points - the prof will see that you care. That's how I passed Economics. It was not because I was making the grade, it's because the teacher literally gave me the C when I was going to make a D, because she saw how hard I was trying. 

3. Take good notes in class. Don't expect to remember it all like you could in high school. 

4. Re-read those notes every night. It'll help you to really digest the info and make it easier to remember. My dad used to tell me this, and I was always like "Mmhmm oh yea, sure Dad, will do." Lo and behold...he was right. (Ugh don't you hate when your parents are right?!)

5. Always pack a jacket/sweater/cardigan/long sleeved tee. Classroom temps are unpredictable and it's hard to focus when you're shivering!  (Yes, this makes me sound 90 years old. I don't care.)

6. History classes are like story time. Approach them that way- you're learning a story that you'll have to retell on the test. They're not always the most interesting stories, but stories nonetheless! Then on the test, you're just retelling a story you've heard.

7. Volunteer to be a note taker if that's offered in a class. Oftentimes you'll get something like priority scheduling in return, or at the least, a letter of recommendation to put with your resume. It looks good to future employers! And priority scheduling is GOLDEN, especially junior/senior year.

8. Join clubs/organizations/Greek life. If you hate it, at least you know. If you love it, stick with it. You will meet new people regardless, and that in and of itself is valuable.

9. Make friends in your classes. These people will become your study buddies, and you'll need them at 3:00 a.m. when you can't even see the words on your Biology 201 study guide because you're so delirious.

10. Don't drink during the week. Actually, you shouldn't drink at all until you're 21. But I'm not your mama, and I can't tell you what to do, but I will tell you that going to class hungover will not allow you to pay attention or take decent notes. Sleeping in and skipping class because you're hungover is even worse.
Remember points 1 and 3? No? Scroll up and read them again. They're no joke.

11. Don't forget about your general health. Move (other than walking to class). If you have an awesome rec center, USE IT. LSU people, you better lace up and run the lakes at least once. Do it for me. Additionally, Doritos should not be the biggest staple in your collegiate diet. Now cheese fries on the other hand... I kid, I kid! Now I'm not saying college is the time to start a restrictive diet, but just be aware of what you're putting in your body, or you will end up with the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. Or Forty-Seven.  Which totally didn't happen to me. Totally not. Nope. 

12. Don't forget about your faith. Spend time with God. Go to mass. Pray before tests. Eat the free meals at the Catholic Student Center during finals week (seriously, do this). You will need Him, so don't forget Him. 

13. It's okay to not be okay.  You are going to be so far away from the cocoon of high school and you're going to have some rock-bottom moments. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE. So many people love you. Even if you just need to talk there's the Crisis Text Line. Text "Start" to 741-741. It's free, it's confidential, and it's okay to not be okay. (Also- read this article.) You are so loved. 

14. Revel in it. You're in college, after all! Take chances. Meet new people. Enjoy every experience to the fullest. You are only young once and this is the best time of your life. Live it up!

15. My last bit of advice is something I've always said to you- Make good choices.  Do good things. Be known for your goodness and kindness.

You're going to be just fine, my sweet babies. I'm here if you ever need me.

Lots and lots of love,
Mrs. K

Meg and Steph: Weekend Warriors

Meg came in for the weekend and in classic fashion, we sat out on the patio at Agave, drank margaritas, inhaled chips and queso, and gorged ourselves on beef fajitas.
We wish.

Instead we had a sensible sushi lunch, went to Academy, and worked out in Steph's backyard.

Meg & Steph's Weekend Warrior Workout

10 Sets of Selfies with Luna Bar

60 Seconds Sparring 
60 Seconds Forward Facing Jabs 
60 Seconds Kicks

Rest for two minutes in between each set, and take plenty of pictures.

[Circuit 1]
Jump Squats (15)
Goblet Squats (15)
Weighted Walking Lunges (15)
Single Leg Deadlifts (15)
-repeat circuit 3x-

Weighted Walking Lunges
Single Leg Deadlifts

[Circuit 2]
Reverse lunges to leg raise (15 each leg, alternate legs)
Deadlifts (25)
Kettle bell swings  (25)
Deadlift-squat-press combo with kettle bell (15)
-repeat circuit 3x-

Press with Kettle Bell

[Circuit 3]
Lateral Raises (15, 5lb weight)
Hammer Curls (15, 10lb weights)
Tricep Extension (10, kettle bell)
Shoulder Press (12, 10lb weights)
-repeat circuit 3x-

And just for funsies, throw in some 40lb Mulch Flips, Oblique Twists with partner, and Sit-up Soccer Ball Throws with partner. You work with whatcha got.

Have an awesome weekend!!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Presently Loving- April 2015

We recovered (barely) from our wedding/birthday weekend extravaganza, and we're here to bring you everything that we loved in April.
Not mentioned: wedding cake, Dark Roux brunch, pulled pork sandwiches, or wine. Because y'all don't need to see all that. It's not pretty.


These shirts.

Southern Apparel has super cute and comfortable workout/hangout tanks and tees. They make you feel classier than a drive-thru daiquiri, and we're going to be doing a GIVEAWAY with them soon!! Stay tuned to our Instagram for details! 

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in Natural is light, but it covers really well and feels cool (as in temperature) when you put it on, which is nice for summer weather! We actually figured out last weekend that we wear the same shade, after being matched at separate stores in separate states. Meant to be? You bet.


This Place.

This place y'all. This coffee. These awesome coffee mugs. The mason jar glasses. The beignets! I would save up all of my cheat meals for an entire year to eat those three little beignets again. Dark Roux was a perfect wrap-up brunch for my weekend in town with Steph and David and a fun little place to enjoy a little acoustic music, swap stories from our fun weekend, and drank the sh** out of some local Louisiana coffee. I miss that stuff!

These products. 

I'm still using and loving my Bare Minerals mineralixirs for my daily skincare (see March's Presently Loving blog for info on those miracle workers), but as an additional skin cream between morning and evening, I've been going for the Coconut oil, which is amazing for keeping your skin tight and nourished. The NatureWell brand combines the natural oils with Vitamins A, C, and E -- which my face seems to love!

The Teatree Mint conditioner is another favorite this month. My hair is in a ponytail every day and usually is soaking wet by the time I leave the gym, so I've been looking for something to help condition it so that it's strong enough to keep growing even with the stresses I'm putting it through. Teatree to the rescue!!

The Greens!

I've kinda been on a greens kick lately, and let's face it, the ones that are REALLY good for you just taste like grass. But that's nothing a little smoothie can't fix, so I've been throwing in strawberries and blueberries, mixed with a tiny bit of yogurt and protein, and this goodness (insert heart eyes emoji because your body will love you all day long when you start your morning off with the cruciferous vegetables that taste so bad but treat you so right!) Honesetly, though, this brand of kale, mixed with some other veggies, and a bit of grilled chicken and olive oil drizzled on top really does taste so good, and helps your muscles grow and your skin glow :) 



This store.
I stopped by my local Complete Nutrition to use a coupon from my LOPA 5k swag bag, and it ended up being a wonderful experience. The people there were so friendly and helpful, and they didn't treat me like someone who didn't belong in their store. I even signed up for the Complete Nutrition Club, and for $11 a month I get $22 to spend. I think you have something like 120 days to use the rewards or they expire, but with the amount of protein shakes and P28 I've been inhaling, that won't be a problem.

HOLY YUM. I found my P28 High Protein Peanut Butter at Complete Nutrition and went for the White Chocolate flavor thanks to an employee's recommendation. It's good, y'all. Like good good. I've tried it on my pancakes, my rice cakes, my spoons, and my favorite one yet- ON A SWEET POTATO.
I'll let that sink in. I'll let it sink in the way that P28 sinks into all the crevices of a warm sweet potato fresh out of the oven microwave (because I don't have time for ovens. Please).

This life.
I have jumped on board with IIFYM, AKA If It Fits Your Macros, AKA Flexible Dieting, AKA The Poptart Diet. Basically, you figure out your macros and then you eat exactly that amount of fats, carbs, and protein (all in grams) every day. It's ridiculously complicated at first, and it took me a good three days to not feel like a total idiot, but now that I have the hang of it, it's pretty easy! You have to weigh everything you eat, which is such a pain, but I'm seeing results was seeing results before I ate everything in sight over my birthday weekend. SkinnyMeg does a MUCH better job of explaining it, and she's the reason I ever heard about this crazy way of looking at food.
Sidebar: I got my macros calculated professionally by Paige- she rocks.

What were you into this past month?

Meg & Steph