2018 was supposed to be my year… it wasn’t. This is what I learned.

Idk about you guys but I started off 2018 with hopes, plans, ideas, dreams all of it. I was going to quit my retail job become a blogger start my journey of being a wife and over all just rock it. Well I’m gonna tell ya right now I did not rock it, i sucked it… big time.

So I’m reflecting on my year… my wins, my loses, where I went wrong and what I want to change so that this can be my year. And maybe if you are struggling like I am it can be yours too.

I let fear win.

I am for the most part a square. A rule follower. A law abider. I don’t like to rock the boat, I don’t like to inconvenience people, I like to take the safe route. But by doing these things all of my life I never took any chances, I never took the road less traveled, I never did anything uncomfortable. And so at the beginning on 2018 I set out to change all of these things about my square life. But instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and just diving feet first… I choked. I got scared. Scared i would fail. Scared I would let my wife down, that I wouldn’t succeed. I let fear win.

I fell back into old habits

I have always worked in retail. I started young around 17 and worked my way to become a store manager. Trouble was it was not all it was cracked up to be… and I quickly found myself very unhappy. Luckily in January of 2018 I was able to leave my miserable job and start my new life. Well like I mentioned I didn’t end up really starting all that much and after a few months I was beginning to feel like a failure. To combat this feeling that I was failing my wife and myself I decided to get a part-time job… in retail. What I thought was just going to be a few hours a week and a way to get my confidence back turned into a more then I expected part-time management position that started to consume my life. This is classic me. I hate the job but I’m good at it and its easy for me so I stay, so that I can feel like I am doing the right thing. Problem with this is I am not doing the right thing. I’m selling myself short. So as you can imagine once I started working more, my blog fell by the wayside. My plans took a back seat and before I even realized what was happening I had fallen back into my old ways of putting work first and me second.

Starting over

So the bad news is I am basically in the same place I was last year, the good news is its never to late to start over.

Goals for 2019

Get uncomfortable

Take risks

Take chances

Create a life I LOVE

If you are anything like me I hope you took from this that it is NOT too late to change your life. Setbacks WILL happen, life is TOUGH and SCARY but it is on us to make our dreams come true!

Happy New Year All!

xoxo Erin

unpopular opinion: sharing why i believe the influencer culture is toxic

Be whoever you want to be, just don’t do it because someone made you feel like that is who you need to be…

I don’t know about you guys but I feel like almost overnight social media has been taken over by “influencers” 

Telling us what face wash we need, or what jeans we need, or where to buy our cleaning products that we also need

And because they are bright and bubbly and cute and nice we think that well we need those things. So we run out and buy the things or “click the link” or whatever it may be and put money in that “influencers” pocket. Now let me just say this is in no way shape or form me bashing these men and woman who have made this their job, my issue is not with these individuals but with the culture as a whole. 

Influencers are NOT, I will repeat NOT  looking out for your best interest!!! Understand this! They are running a business. It is their job to look better than you, have more than you and make you feel bad about it. It is also their job to convince you that buying what they have (and more then likely got for free) will make you happy… Which is completely ridiculous. 

SPOILER ALERT: Those things are literally never going to make you happy

Focus on the things that actually will fulfill you

your health

your family

your talents

love

faith

true friends

giving back

generosity

peace

you are not less then

don’t let social media make you feel like you are 

xoxo Erin

 

 

my night time skin care routine

 

I’m in my late 20’s… it is sad but it is true…

I have always tried to take relatively good care of my skin, however up until recently I have kept it pretty simple and basic. That was until I started to realize the fine lines under my eyes were only getting worse and it was probably about time I did something about it.

So lets talk about my skin type…

-combination/oily

-large pores

-fine lines under my eyes

-very uneven and red

-beginning signs of aging

These are the products I have been using for the last several months and I have noticed a genuine improvement in my skin overall.

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Step 1: Wash

Skin + Pharmacy Advanced Anti-Aging Therapy Hydrating Cleanser 

This cleanser has hyaluronic acid, olive oil and vitamins A, C and E

It promises to moisturize and nourish skin, help to protect it from free radicals as well as remove dirt and impurities.

This product is thick and creamy and leaves the skin feeling hydrated and plump and I really enjoy it.

Tool: Ulta Dual Action Cleansing Brush 

Now I realize there are several options when it comes to cleansing brushes, lots of brands produce them now and I’m sure there is one even better than this one however for the price I have been very impressed! I feel like my skin is getting cleaner than ever before, it is gentle, affordable and gets the job done!

Step 2: Eye Cream

ANDALOU NATURALS coconut water eye lift cream

This product promises to hydrate, brighten and smooth with the help of coconut water and vitamin C. It is vegan, gluten-free and cruelty free as well and non GMO certified and 98% naturally derived. This eye cream is light weight while still packing a hydration punch. It absorbs quickly, has a smooth creamy feel and does not leave the skin sticky. It has been a definite game changer for my under eye fine lines.

Step 3: Serum

ANDALOU NATURALS turmeric + c enlighten serum

This serum is my absolute favorite part of my routine! Daily use will help you to achieve lighter, tighter, brighter looking skin and an over all luminous complexion. This serum like the eye cream is vegan, cruelty free, gluten-free, non GMO and 99% naturally derived. It is thin and light weight, absorbs very quickly and comfortably and the best part is it smells like oranges! This serum has helped reduce the redness and unevenness that my skin has.

Step 4: Moisturizer 

ANDALOU NATURALS resveratrol q10 night repair cream 

This night cream is a dream! It is super hydrating without feeling heavy or greasy on the skin. It has a subtle scent of coco which I love and it sinks into my skin very quickly and comfortably. Being that I have combination skin moisturizers can sometimes be too much but this products formula is just right! This moisturizer claims to uplift tone and texture as well as provide velvety soft skin with the appearance of fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and I can most certainly attest to that! 

Some tips!

-Make sure you are using products that are natural! Made with good quality ingredients… remember these products are being absorbed through our skin 🙂

-When applying eye cream use your ring finger and gently pat in the product. Avoid harsh rubbing or pulling in this delicate area!

-When it comes to your serum apply in an upwards motion and gently pat the skin to help with absorption. 

 

I hope you found this helpful and you try out some of these products for yourself!

Thank you for reading!

xoxo Erin 

*disclaimer some product descriptions came from brand website

 

 

Married life, advise

Advise topic: Fighting in your relationship

 

I’d like to first start by saying that just because you and your spouse fight does not mean that you are 

A. Not compatible

B. Not happy (or can’t find happiness)

C. Not right for each other

D. In a bad relationship

If you have read any of my previous blogs then you would know that I have been  with my wife for over 7 years… which means we have had ALOT of fights… we’re talking tons of fights! Some of them were over small things and some of them were much bigger. Some made us question things and others lead us to really learn not only about each other but about ourselves and grow from it.

I am happy to report that we have worked very hard to get to a place where our fighting is truly at an all time low. Now that doesn’t mean that we don’t still have disagreements because we totally do. However we do our best to resolve our issues using some tools that we have learned along the way. And I’m happy to be sharing these tips with you!

Tip #1: Don’t sweat the small stuff

I unfortunately am not particularly known for following this tip… I am a drama queen by nature. And because of that I would constantly find myself causing or starting unnecessary fights. It took time but I slowly started to realize after many fights and many talks after fights that it was time for me to look at myself and see that I was being very sensitive and overly emotional and figure out that I needed to work on that. Now to clarify if your partner is deliberately doing things to hurt you (emotionally, physically, mentally or otherwise) this is NOT  the small stuff and you have every right to remove yourself from that situation. What I’m referring to is your partner playfully joking with you, someone forgetting to text when arrived at a destination, not being able to get off of work to attend an event… things that perhaps warrant a conversation but not a blowout fight. 

Tip #2: Pick your battles

So this tip correlates with tip #1. What I mean by “pick your battles” is this… being in a relationship is NOT easy all of the time. Fusing two individuals lives can be a very difficult thing. And there will be things that you don’t agree on, and that is OK! However I have learned that there are things worth fighting for and then there are things we just need to get over. A great example of this would be if your partner has a hobby or a piece of furniture or a friend that you really, really don’t like, but makes your loved one very happy. You need to decide if arguing over this person place or thing is really worth potentially causing problems in your relationship. I get it… sometimes we just want to be in control… of everything… but I think its important to stop and think to ourselves is there a way for us to make it so that we can both be happy? Can we decide that the recliner that I think is an eye sore goes in the “man cave”, or that your only going to play video games until our show comes on so we can have time together, or you can hang out with that friend who I find really annoying but understand that I just don’t want to tag along. What I’m getting at here is not every disagreement has to be a fight… I’m also not telling you what you should and should not fight about. But consider this next time you find yourself disagreeing with your partner… do I want to fight over this or can we come to a compromise?

Tip #3: Communication

Now I do realize this is an obvious one… but I do think it’s also an easy one to mess up. I think a lot of times communication issues are the biggest issues in relationships but also some of the easiest to fix! What is important however to remember is that we are not mind-readers… if you feel some type of way it is important to share that. Don’t assume that just because you think one way your partner is going to automatically feel the same way. Be open with one another, say what you mean and do it in a way where both people feel heard, understood and respected. This was not always easy in my relationship but over time we have learned that if one of us feels hurt or misunderstood or disrespected by the other we address it. We make time for healthy, honest conversations and we apologize if we have hurt the other. If this is something you’re struggling with in your relationship try finding a designated time during your day when you can touch base with each other (my wife and I do this right before bed, we call it “pillow talk” lol) that way you know if there is something you want to get off your chest you have a safe time and space to do so. 

 

Relationships are not always easy but they are so so worth it, if you can find a partner in this life to bring you joy, comfort, support and love! I hope these tips for how to help end unnecessary fighting in your relationship help you! Thank you for reading!

 

xoxo Erin 

 

Happy Pride Month!

Being that today is the first day of pride month, I wanted to share some of my favorite memories of my love and I over the last 7 1/2 years.

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never never never be afraid to be who you are

everybody deserves love

you are worth it

do not be ashamed

it gets better

you are not alone

I am so very proud of my love story and you should be too!

Happy pride month!

xoxo Erin

 

 

find what makes you happy

Today I am bringing you another installment of #motivationmonday and reminding you to

FIND WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY AND DO IT EVERYDAY

Unfortunately in the world we live in passion and happiness come second to money and success. And while it is very important to be successful and have enough money to pay your bills and live an enjoyable life, I think a lot of times we lose track of the things that really matter along the way.

I will use myself as an example…

Growing up I had a HUGE passion for performing… dance, singing, acting, making people laugh, I loved it all. And because I was incredibly blessed with a mother who encouraged her children to do what they loved I was able to pursue this passion for many years. I took voice lessons and dance classes I went to theater camps and performed in and out of school. I went away to intensive dance workshops to work with famous choreographers and I got to perform in countless recitals, theater productions and concerts. If you would have asked me as a child what I wanted to do when I grew up I most definitely would have told you something to do with music and performing. Unfortunately for me once I graduated high school and began my journey to adulthood my responsibilities became grater and my opportunities to do what I truly loved became less and less. I felt a lot of pressure to go to college (even though I didn’t have the slightest idea what I wanted to do) and I felt a lot of pressure to work so that I could buy a car and pay a phone bill and car insurance and have a social life and all the other things that you become responsible for after you turn 18. And before I knew it I found myself working 2 jobs going to school (and not doing very well) and leaving the things that made me happiest in my past. Fast forward to now 10 years later I never finished my college degree and I have yet to figure out what I truly want to do with my life. I, like the rest of us have so many responsibility’s now that after work and bills and taking care of a home and a partner and everything else we all have going on there is no time left for our passion.

Does this sound at all familiar?

Doesn’t it kind of suck?

 

At the beginning of the year I did something that I always wanted to do and was always to scared to do… I took a leap of faith 🙂 And with no real plan I quit my job! I decided that I was sick of working 40+ hours a week in a job where I just wasn’t very happy. I was stressed I was overworked I was overwhelmed and it made my day-to-day life completely not enjoyable!!! I never saw my family, my friends, I had no hobbies, I had no time or energy to do any of the things that used to bring me so much joy. Quitting my job allowed me to change my life so that I could begin to find passion and joy and do things that made me happy!  I let go of the idea that my only purpose in life was to work for a paycheck. 

Now I am NOT suggesting you quit your job (my example is a bit extreme) but what I am suggesting is for you to take a look at your life and ask yourself

Am I happy?

Am I fulfilled?

Do I want more our of this life?

And if you are not happy, not fulfilled and want more out of this life than make a change!!!

 

It can be big changes, it can be small additions to your normal routine, it can be trying new things, it can be revisiting passions from your past, it doesn’t matter what it is all that matters is that you do it!

And while maybe for now you don’t love your job or you don’t love your living situation or you don’t love everything about your life…

And maybe right now those aren’t things you can change…

But

What you can do is figure out the things that make you happy and do those things 

every. single. day

 

xoxo Erin

my love hate relationship with the ketogenic diet

preface: I am NOT a doctor, dietitian, trainer or heath coach. I am simply someone who struggles with weight and has tried a lot of “diets”, this is my experience and should not be interpreted as fact or typical.

what is keto?

put simply this is a style of eating where you are eating very high fat and very low carb with a moderate about of protein.

 

so ill start with my introduction to the ketogenic lifestyle (it truly shouldn’t be referred to as a diet)

while struggling to lose weight and get in shape for my wedding my wife discovered a friend of ours had transitioned to a ketogenic style of eating and she looked amazing! we reached out to her to see how she was obtaining these fantastic results and she clued us in. high fat low carb… basically the opposite of anything I had every known or learned about healthy eating. 

so with what we had learned from our friend and some research of our own we embarked on our ketogenic journey.

we bought oils and cheeses and butter and veggies and bacon (for Megan not for me) and ketone test strips and we started “tracking our macros” and before you knew it we were in full-blown keto flu.

soooo what is “keto flu” 

what we didn’t really know back then was that when you stop feeding your body carbs and sugar as its main source of energy and switch it to fat as its main source of energy things can get a little wonky for a while. you can suffer from headaches , stomach upset, lethargy, sleeplessness, moodiness and so on and so on. so for the first week or so (could be more time could be less depending on your body) we were kind of feeling like garbage. 

however that did subside (thank goodness) and we were well on our way!

the pounds starting falling off, we were sleeping better, we had fabulous mental clarity, our skin looked wonderful, we had flat stomachs, no bloating, the positives when on and on… and that lasted for about 3 months.

at around the 3 month mark while I was looking and feeling fabulous my bachelorette party rolled around. and there was no way I was going away with my besties for 2 nights and not going to eat and drink and do whatever I wanted… so I decided to “cheat” on my “diet”. which was great for 2 days but it really threw me off the wagon. back to bloating, stress, feeling sick, ect. as much as I tried I really couldn’t commit to the style of eating as I originally had, plus the damn keto flu was back! 

now is probably a good time to give you a little insight on myself as an eater generally speaking…

• I am a vegetarian and have been for about 15 years,

• I am the pickiest eater and prior to starting keto basically survived off of processed carbohydrates.

• I have a HUGE sweet tooth. 

• I can not and will not eat something if I am not really craving it

• I suffer from terrible bloating and have an extremely sensitive stomach

so basically I am SUPER difficult

all of these things did not make keto any easier for me. after a while I got board of the same recipes, I did not have a lot of luck when I would switch up my meals and I eventually found myself living off of string cheese and Atkins bars which is super unhealthy. 

now don’t get me wrong I am NOT saying keto is a bad diet plan or an unrealistic way to eat

however for me not eating meat made this extremely difficult especially because dairy is very inflammatory and not really a food group that your entire diet should be based off. the more research I did the more I found that the recommended way of eating was highly  based on animal protein including bone broth and organ meats, things I am just not willing to eat as a vegetarian

why keto works for my wife and may work for you

Megan is basically the opposite of me when it comes to food and eating. if you tell Megan if she ate worms everyday for a year it would make her feel and look great she would do it! She isn’t picky she isn’t fussy she is able to detach emotion from food and look at it solely as fuel (unlike myself). Megan eats organic heathy fats, greens, low carb veggies and meat. She sources her meats in a way that she believes to be responsible and humane and does not eat low quality foods. 

what I’ve learned

there have been a lot of great take aways for me even if as a whole this style of eating is not for me. one thing I definitely did not put enough focus on is how bad processed carbohydrates are for our bodies. how they turn into sugar while being digested and are gravely detrimental to our heath. I learned that I was simply eating too much sugar and again I didn’t really even realise it. while I definitely am not following a keto diet I have greatly lowered my carb intake and tried to limit it to mostly whole food carbohydrates. heath and wellness are a lifelong journey and I believe it is super important to always do your research and really do what works best for you and makes you feel your best!

I really hope you enjoyed learning about my personal journey with the ketogenic lifestyle!

thank you so much for reading 🙂

xoxo Erin

 

#motivation monday

embrace every opportunity that comes your way

life is short, we all know this. life can be difficult, we all know this as well. life can be scary, frustrating, unfair, daunting and overwhelming. it is so easy to get stuck in routines, ruts and situations that leave us unhappy and unfulfilled. however it is so important to remember that we are in charge of our own destiny. do not let opportunities pass you by because you are afraid of failure! embrace every opportunity that comes your way. if you are unhappy, make a change. put your self out there, try new things, network, meet new people, share your story. every conversation and interaction is a chance to open a new door.

believe in yourself

have faith 

trust your gut

and never forget you are awesome 🙂

xoxo Erin

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tips and tricks to keeping a clean kitchen!

I don’t know about you guys but i really do not enjoy cooking… not because the actual cooking part but the dreaded clean up afterwards!!!

I feel like every time I cook a meal somehow every single knife, pot, pan, dish and utensil ends up dirty and in my sink; my counters are filthy there is packaging and garbage everywhere and I have zero interest in cleaning it up. So here are some of my favorite tips ans tricks to keeping your kitchen cleaner while you are cooking to avoid a huge cleanup at the end of your meal!

  1. This is probably my biggest and most favorite tip! USE A GARBAGE BOWL! What I mean by that is you want to grab your biggest mixing bowl and use it to hold all of your garbage until you are finished cooking. So if you are peeling veggies do it over this bowl, opening a package of ground beef stick the packaging in this bowl, egg shells, stems, whatever scraps you have go in the bowl. This is going to save you time running back and forth to the garbage can and it is going to keep your counters clean and tidy! pexels-photo-1004112.jpeg
  2. Wash your dishes while your cooking... Now this may seem like a no brainer but i’m going to include it anyway, because in the past i would always just throw my utensils or used pots and pans in the sink until I was done and then before you know it I would have a mountain of dirty dishes. Use the time it takes to boil water or bake your dish to wash as many of the dirty dishes as you can. That way when your finished eating all you have to clean is a few dishes. pexels-photo-545013.jpeg
  3. Keep your kitchen tidy all of the time! So I realize I live in a house with just 2 adults and it is MUCH easier to stay on top of then say a family of children however, keeping your kitchen clean and organised is going to make it so much easier once it is time to cook and clean up! If your starting point is a disaster you are going to feel so overwhelmed by the new mess its going to be difficult to even know where to start. I like to take 10 minutes after we eat to wash dishes and clean up after the meal (unless my wonderful wife does it for me :)) and then before I get ready for bed I will go back and put those dishes away, scrub my sink, wipe down my counters and clean my stove. It does not take very long at all and that way in the morning when I go to make my breakfast or lunch for the day I am starting in a clean space. 

pexels-photo-1027508.jpeg4. Meal prep! Like I have been saying an organised kitchen is going to help you stay tidy and make clean up a breeze! When you bring home your veggies take the few extra minutes to wash cut and portion them. That way when it is time to cook you are simply taking your already prepped ingredients out and throwing everything together. Less clean up and a faster meal, win win!

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If your like me and you just do not enjoy cooking and cleaning up after I really hope you try and utilize these steps to help you maintain a cleaner more organised kitchen. I know at first it can be difficult to start a new routine but once you start keeping a clean kitchen you will never want to go back!

xoxo Erin