My Supposed-to-be Anniversary

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Today is July 1st. On this day in 2006, just over a month after I graduated from high school, I married my boyfriend of a year and a half, Andrew. I moved to Nebraska to live with him and start our life together. I was 18 years old, and he was 19. We both had full-time jobs, and we had a cute little one bedroom apartment in the heart of a gorgeous historic neighborhood in the capital city of Lincoln. Life was pretty okay. We were so young, and so naive, but we were happy. And that's what mattered. Deeper, though. Deeper than what was on Facebook, and deeper than what we would let our families know, was that we had struggles like any other couple. Ours tended to center mostly around things that most newlyweds worry about --- money, how to split family time, and just the newness of living with another human being. But our speed bumps were magnified, it seemed, by the fact that each little hiccup was seen through the screen of depression. I didn't know how to handle it, honestly. The … [Read more...]

Things Have Happened.

Andrew Ashley

I know I haven't done a good job at all with keeping up with my once-beloved blog over the past year. I've been neglecting what was once my main source of income and my creative outlet. Here are things, ordered semi-reliably from least to most impactful, that have happened in my life in the past 6-ish months: I've gained 20 pounds, sitting at about 170 right now. The reason for this is, on paper, simply explained by overeating and not exercising enough. It's not an excuse, but a big factor is the fact that .... I work full time. More than full time, really, if we're getting picky, but I love my work, so I've got that going for me. I moved from the suburbs of San Tan Valley, Arizona to Scottsdale, Arizona. This was insanely life-changing, mainly because I work in North Scottsdale, and I was commuting about 2 hours each way, Monday through Friday. In the past year, I wrecked my Prius twice during those commutes, totalling it with the second wreck. It was pretty gnarly (we were … [Read more...]

Trying New Things in 2015: Vegan Plant-Based Protein! #GNCPlantProtein #sponsored

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This post is brought to you by GNC and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. It's a fresh year! I know a lot of you guys are as stoked about that as I am. There's nothing better than a fresh, blank slate at the start of a new year. And of course, one of the ever-popular resolutions is to lose weight. Work out more. Eat better. I'm vowing to eat better, and to pay closer attention to what I put into my body, including my protein shakes! GNC has introduced new plant-based protein powder that promises 20g of protein and 10g of aminos from five plant-based sources with no soy, gluten or dairy. BOOM. Plant-based proteins are perfect if you're already adhering to a vegan or vegetarian diet, or  even if you're just looking to build and support lean muscle and total body health. I've been drinking GNC PUREDGE Complete Vegan Plant Based Performance Protein in Natural Vanilla, and as a girl who's had her share of protein shakes, this one is just as good if not better than others … [Read more...]

Sound the alarm! Skinnygirl makes HUMMUS NOW! #NowThisIsSkinnydipping #Sponsored

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I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf ofSkinnygirl. I received a product sample and a promotional item to facilitate my review.  I thought it was impossible for me to love Bethenny Frankel any more, but she's proven me wrong (as she does). I've always admired her for her no-nonsense attitude, her transparency, and her business savvy. As a working mom, I have to admit that I idolize other successful women entrepreneurs a bit, and she's definitely one of my faves. Not only has she created a smash hit with her Skinnygirl brand, she's made it her mission to show that you can have it all -- go out with the girls, but do it without ruining your hard work that you've put in all week on your diet. Can you tell I kind of like her? I like her. And now I like her even more. 'Cause girlfriend came out with HUMMUS. SKINNYGIRL. HUMMUS. This is enough for me to nominate her for sainthood, pretty much. Once I caught Maisy, age 3, standing in the middle of the kitchen, licking … [Read more...]

A Few of My Favorite Things from #ZapposStyle #MC #Sponsored

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I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zappos.com. I received product samples to facilitate my review. Remember my awesome back to school scores from Zappos.com shopping experience? I am so pleased with everything from start to finish -- the selection, the convenience, and the super fast shipping -- that I went back and did some more browsing. So I found these really cute boots for Emma that would go with pretty much anything. And, uh, they sparkle, so she's pretty into them, haha! Stride Rite Mira, $49 I've always loved Stride Rites, and if I can get them with free shipping both ways, I'm on board! The gray will go well with her Tommy Hilfiger polo that she's already gotten from Zappos.com. Herschel Supply Co. Pop Quiz, $79.99 I am so in love with the Herschel Supply Co. bag that I got for Emma that I might snag her bag and give her this one! I love the look, feel, and quality of these bags and they have so many colors and prints to choose … [Read more...]

The one where I have no time and the kids need stuff for school. #ZapposStyle #MC #Sponsored

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I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zappos.com. I received product samples to facilitate my review. Remember how I totally admitted defeat and decided to knock out my back to school shopping at Zappos.com? It all came in!!!! And I LOVE IT ALL.  I scored ALL of this for under $300, and I was super pumped about the brands they had available: Nike Stride Rite New Balance Converse Keen Pediped Under Armour The Northface Patagonia Roxy Volcom Splendid Tommy Hilfiger Stuff that I KNOW will last long enough and stand up to the beating my growing kids will put it through! I was originally planning on schlepping to an outlet mall an hour away, followed up by another shopping center ANOTHER hour away, but I was able to pick up the high quality stuff I wanted while in my pajamas. I declare myself the winner. On to the clothes! Emma started off with this Tommy Hilfiger Hi-Low Polo in Fuschia ($24). Polos aren't required … [Read more...]

Guys. I totes conquered back to school shopping. #ZapposStyle #MC #sponsored

Emma Stock Collage

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zappos.com. I received product samples to facilitate my review. Summer is basically over now, ain't it? Labor day is right around the corner, so it's time to bid farewell to summer-y things. Like popsicles. And water parks. And ratty clothes. My kids are looking pretty busted, not gonna lie. They've been at a summer camp type place that just LOOOOOVES to let them use tempera paint without smocks, and while I love having 90847501938475 pieces of butcher paper covered in blue, red, and yellow streaks, I do NOT love the idea of sending them to school in clothes covered in blue, red, and yellow streaks. But here's the problem. I work a lot, and that means that even in the summer, my day consists of commuting, dropping off kids at day camp, working, picking kids up, commuting again, and then mustering enough energy to feed the fam. Notice how there's no time for massive back to school shopping trips? Yeah, … [Read more...]

Ready, Set, LOSE! JOIN the #SummerSweatDietBet with me!

Summer Sweat Diet Bet

Has anyone else been living it up this summer, indulging in poolside treats and letting loose? Um. I have. Lots of Otter Pops and ice cream. Picnics with hot dogs and chips. But it's time to reign it in! I've had so much fun with my kids this summer, but I'm ready to get back on track. What if I told you that you could lose 4% of your body weight by Labor Day, and win money while doing it? I've done it before, and I'm so excited to do it again! I'm hosting a DietBet, a weight loss game where participants bet money that they'll lose 4% of their starting body weight in four weeks. Those that do, split the pool of money! If that's not motivation to get your rear in gear, I don't know what is! Announcing the #SummerSweatDietBet! Here's how it works: The #SummerSweatDietBet starts on July 29, but you can join RIGHT NOW to get in on the bet! Click here to join. You bet $25 that you'll lose 4% of your body weight in four weeks (game ends August 25). To give you an idea of how … [Read more...]

Creamy Brown Sugar Spread with SPLENDA: Making #SweetSwaps

Splenda Sweet Swaps

This post is part of the SPLENDA® 365 SWEET SWAPS ™ blogger program by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. and The Motherhood, who sent me products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are my own, and I hope you enjoy them. Y'all. I just made the best flippin' cream cheese dip I've ever had in my life. It was super easy and I even lightened it up a little! Lately, I've been ditching sugar and using SPLENDA no calorie sweetener, and I've been enjoying my favorite stuff with a little less guilt! This week has been insane -- Emma's 7th birthday (OMG) was on Sunday, so it's pretty much been a week of non-stop food. Birthday dinners, ice cream cake, and cookie cake have all gone down so far, and it's only Wednesday. Tonight's cookie cake was my breaking point. I just FEEL so gross from all of the indulgent meals I've been eating, so I decided to whip up something that still felt like a major cheat, but with SPLENDA, I was able to cut some calories from … [Read more...]

Making #SweetSwaps with Splenda! #ad

Sweet Swaps

Part of living a calorie-conscious diet means making changes in the things you eat -- but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the foods you love. You just have to be smarter than the food! I've spent the past year and a half finding little tricks to eating right that make a big difference over time. It might not seem like a big deal to swap your sugar with a no-calorie sweetener, but each day adds up to a week, that adds up to a month, which rolls into a year. Little swaps can (and do!) make an impact! For me, things like swapping diet soda for water (so hard!), fried foods for baked options, and restaurant cooking for at-home meal prep solutions. I definitely am an advocate of taking small steps that add up to big movements -- overwhelming yourself with a million new "rules" or changes will probably just result in frustration when you inevitably fail. Did you know? Experts recommend that women consume no more than 6 tsp. of added sugar daily, but the average American … [Read more...]