My Personal Get Fit Challenge to Myself

 

Hey all!

I wanted to write something about my challenge to get fit before summer. I recently got a complimentary Cool Sculpting treatment from a wonderful med spa here in Omaha called Devenu Medical Rejuvenation Spa and it has really motivated me to start focusing on my health goals. I am currently writing a separate piece on the Cool Sculping. As a mom, I come across a few challenges like my schedule, yummy kids foods in the house, and just being tired all the time. I know that some of you can relate so my goal is to get this all figured out and make this plan stick and reach my fitness goals. Here is what I have come up with.

1. Make the time!

As tired as I may be in the morning, I HAVE to get my booty out of bed and do some cardio and strength training. My plan varies all the time but at the end of this post I will list some fitness plans I love along with some inspiring fitness gurus that are helping me along the way. If I don’t work out in the a.m., I know I will not get it done in the evening because when I get home I get busy with dinner, helping kids with homework, baths, catching up on personal emails, making lunches for the next day, and the list goes on and on. Basically, I have to get my butt out of bed or my workouts are not happening.

2. Watch what I am eating!

This fall I discovered I was gluten intolerant (not celiac) and I gained from switching my foods to GF. Why? Most gluten free foods have a lot of calories and are highly processed. This is a real bummer! So, my plan has turned into eating REAL food like meats, veggies, fruits and nuts.  My goal is to stay away from processed foods and sugar! The sugar part is a real bummer but, it’s not good on the waist line. Pinterest is really helping find yummy GF, Paleo type recipes to make this really easy for me. Also, this is a great time to teach my kids about healthy eating and cooking healthy. My journey to find healthy snacks for my kids is getting easier and easier and  a lot of the time they enjoy the healthy snacks over the highly processed, sugary ones.

3. Stick to the plan!

It is really easy for me to write a plan because I know what to do and how to eat and how to work out. The challenge for me is to stay committed. I go really strong for about two weeks and then I fall right off of track. I made a visual goal board with everything I want to achieve and it really has been working. If I miss a workout or eat something bad I am also not going to freak out about it! That will through me off track too.

Resources:

Tone It Up girls Katrina and Karena on YouTube. They are my fitness heroes! I love their workouts and they have wonderful tips.

www.toneitup.com

Self Magazine. I love this magazine! I think they have great tips and are realistic.

www.self.com

Lean Secrets on YouTube. Brenda is a fitness expert that believes if you eat wholesome foods and cut out some things you don’t need to count calories. Who has time to count calories? I know I don’t. Her workouts are great too!

www.leansecrets.com

Jillian Michaels. Her DVD series is great and if I don’t have a lot of time to work out I put in a DVD.

www.jillianmichaels.com

Pinterest. Believe it or not it is helping get healthy! I invite you to follow my boards!

http://pinterest.com/ashleygaa/

Here is my typical day:

AM

6:00-wake up and do 45-60 minute workout

7:00-shower, get ready for work, pack back packs, etc.

7:30-get kids up and ready for school

8:00-out the door for work and school

8:30-5:00pm-at work

PM

5:45-at home get dinner ready and help kids with homework

6:30-eat and talk about everyone’s day

7:00-start packing lunches for the next day

7:30-clean up time, dishes, laundry, pick up messes, etc.

8:00-bath time for the kids

8:30-kids off to bed (this usually is a rough time it takes about an 30 minutes)

9:00-watch a little TV and get caught up on emails, social media and maybe write

10:00-I like to be off to sleep by this point

That’s my typical day! Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned but, I don’t get to bent out of shape about it. I just move onto the next day. I believe in being organized but, I also believe in living my life and being happy.

I would love your feedback on this post! Any tips or tricks you have I would love to know!

 

April Beauty Sample Programs Review

I am a huge beauty junkie! So, when the beauty sample programs came out like Birchbox I had to sign up! Since, then I have also subscribed to The Lookbag that is by The Lookstore.com. For only $10 a month I get a  shipment of beauty samples to test, try, and discover. I have found so many must haves from these programs that I would not have known about if not for these beauty boxes. Plus, I always have travel beauty options.

This month I got my Look Bag and Birchbox on the same day! It really is more fun than going beauty shopping. The great thing about them coming on the same day is that I get to compare my first reactions to the products inside. There were upsides and downsides to both this time.

Birchbox: 

This month they sent out eco conscious products inspired by Earth Day. I loved this theme! I think that products should be more pure. I haven’t had a chance to use all the products yet but, what I have I really do like. Here is what came in the box:

Willa Cleansing Towels: There was a set of 10. I am going to use these in my makeup kit! I am excited about that. I usually use the Burt’s Bees cleansing towels so, it will be nice to try something different.

Befine Fine Food Skincare: There were 3 samples of the Exfoliating Cleanser with Brown Sugar, Sweet Almond and Oats. There were also 2 samples of the Daily Moisturizer with Rosemary, Pomegranate and Rice. I love the cleanser! I haven’t tried the moisturizer yet for fear that I may break out.

Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck Perfume: I really like this fragrance and I am not usually a fan of celebrity endorsed fragrances.

Dropps Laundry Detergent: This was the one item that I felt didn’t fit. I want beauty samples not household items. In a pinch, if I run out of laundry soap I will be glad to have it but, I make my own laundry soap and will probably never run out. I think it was an eco friendly item that was for Earth Day. That’s cool and all, I just would rather have my beauty samples.

The LookBag:

This is my second month of TheLookBag and I am really enjoying this program too! I have discovered so many beauty products that I have never heard about through this one. I have even ordered a few of the products because I loved them so much. TheLookBag was started by the founder of E! news and lots of celebrities and beauty bloggers endorsing it. There was a variety of products in this bag that will make you smell amazing from head to toe! Here is what came:

Laura Mercier Perfecting Water Rich: This I was surprised to see because I used to work for Laura Mercier and know that this product got discontinued about 2 years ago. Plus, the packaging got made over since then so, I know that the sample will not ever lead to a purchase. But, I love this product and the Laura Mercier team would put you in another product that is similar.

CoCo cosmetics Jovie Lotion in Jubliee: This smells amazing and feels amazing on the skin! I have about used the whole deluxe sample!

Virga Fragrances: I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet. I will keep you posted if I like it.

Orofluido: This hair serum smells delicious! Again, I haven’t had a chance to use it yet but, will keep you posted if I like it.

Pur~lisse Daily Moisturizer w/ SPF 30: This is for Normal to Dry skin and something I am excited to try. I think we should all be wearing an SPF of atleast 30 everyday. I was glad to see this in the bag! I will keep you posted on whether or not I like it.

 

Overall, this was a great month for the beauty sample programs! I look forward to May. I would love to see some bronzer samples or eye color samples as we move into the warmer months and will be sporting more of a bronzed glow. We shall see!

To subscribe to these programs go to:

www.birchbox.com

www.thelookbag.com

Sunday Funday! Lush Haul

This past Sunday I went to our local mall to stock up on Lush products since they were in town and set up to sell this weekend. Unfortunately, we don’t have a store or counter in Omaha, NE. It’s nice that the Kansas City store does this twice a year!

I grabbed products that you can’t order online like the masks. They have to be kept cold. I picked up the Catastrophe and Cupcake masks. My husband and I both love them! It’s our pamper me product for Sunday evenings. Catastrophe is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to reduce inflammation to help repair damaged skin. Cupcake smells yummy and fights breakouts, soothes  and deep cleans the skin. These two you can even use back to back for the ultimate pamper me day.

My kids have a favorite soap called Honey I Washed the Kids and Lush has it in a gel version now that’s called It’s Raining Men! Funny name but, we love the smell so much we had to have it. We also had to get the fun bath bombs and melts.

Some other products that I still have that I love are the Coal Face soap and the enzyme facial moisturizer my husband loves. It helps calm razor burn.

To check out Lush products or to find a store near you go to: www.lushusa.com

I would love to hear what you like to do for your Sunday Fundays!

What To Do On A Rainy Day, 10 Ideas

 

This blog entry is a full of parenting tips or boredom tips for adults too!

A few hours ago my little boy, Aiden, came up to me and told me he was bored. He is 4 and gets a little stir crazy when playing outside is not an option. Hoping that his boredom does not bring out The Cat in the Hat with Thing 1 and Thing 2 to make our house look a mess, I came up with a list of activities we could do inside. I allowed him to pick them in any order he wanted and we would do them until he wanted to move onto the next project. Now, these are not unfamiliar ideas to anyone, I am just listing them for you to use as a tool or list.

Activities:

  1. Make your own crayons. Just melt down some old, small, broken, crayons in either the microwave or oven. I throw ours in the muffin tin and place them into the oven until they melt. I let them set up in the fridge and pop them out when they are solid and let the kids color with them.
  2. Use those newly made crayons to color in coloring books or make their own creations on paper.
  3. Give your pet a bath. More than likely, your pet is going to get muddy on a rainy day so, why not teach some responsibility to your children by helping care for your pet. Sometimes, I think they forget how much is involved for caring for pets.
  4. Bake some yummies with them! Kids love to help out in the kitchen and it’s a good lesson on what goes into food. Plus, it makes the house smell really amazing while your all stuck indoors. It is fun to watch the rain while enjoying your treats.
  5. Use the current weather as an opportunity to teach kids about severe weather situations and what to do in case of an emergency. I have two friends that work for the American Red Cross and thanks to them they posted a video about how to prepare and what to put in your emergency kits. This was a great lesson for us as parents and the kids. Remind your kids of your family plan in case of an emergency.
  6. Cuddle up with your family and watch a family movie
  7. Do some creative art projects
  8. Gardening lesson, teach them why we need rain to help our baby seedlings grow to produce our vegetables and fruit.
  9. Give them an empty large box and allow them to use their imagination to create whatever they want to out of it. The boxes are always a hit with the kids. I hardly ever throw boxes away.
  10. Read some books together. It is always nice to cuddle up and tell stories!

I hope this helps with your little ones on rainy days! Below I will post the link to the video my friends put up for The American Red Cross for you to get prepared in case of an emergency. Thanks for reading!

http://youtu.be/TLFkD8TiTvs

New Product Shout Out

 

Hey there! The best thing about being able to blog is have a resource to share with everyone great product finds! I love all things beauty including hair products. I have just as many hair products as I do makeup! However, some are a lot better than others and some I completely regret buying. I wanted to let you all know about a great new and AFFORDABLE hair care line that just launched in all Ulta stores on March 13!

Verb Hair Products is a water based line that goes toe-to-toe with the high end luxury hair products for a fraction of the cost. They also do not test on animals! The products contain no parabens and sulfates. Another cool thing about these products is that they have natural UV protection in them! This is really important as we move into the summer months and want to keep our hair color looking fabulous. There are 6 products in the line currently that include: Finishing Polish, Forming Fiber, Hydrating Conditioner, Hydrating Shampoo, Sculpting Clay and Styling Cream. The system is made to work with all the products for the best results. So, if your hair needs hydration and to smooth flyaways for the perfect hair style try these products and save some money. These products rock!

Where to buy:

Ulta

http://www.ulta.com

Verb Products

http://www.verbproducts.com

Messy House

 

Today is kind of a rainy, gloomy day in Omaha, NE. It is making me just want to curl up in my bed and watch TV but, I can’t just do that. I have a two kids, a husband, and a dog named Sissy that need my attention and care. I have a majorly messy house that always needs some sort of attention! I know I am probably not alone in this feeling but, today I am going to just let the housework go. It will be there tomorrow. Sometimes it’s nice to just let things go and take some time for yourself and your family. We can clean and clean and clean or we can love and love and love then clean every now and then. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is my motto today!

Acne Questions Answered

I get a lot of questions about acne. I can really relate because I have been battling it since my twenties. Thank you hormones!! Instead of just posting to my Facebook page and having to limit the number of characters I decided to blog about it. I wish that I had a cure. I really don’t think there is a cure and it’s weird how everyone seems to react/respond differently to treatments. Here are some tips for you to try and see if they can help you. I know that they definitely help me.

Heal from the inside out:

1. Put yummy healthy fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and oils in your diet. These will all help with your skin. The saying “You are what you eat” really does to apply to how we look on the outside not just in our waistline but on our skin too.

2. Avoid caffeine! I know this is a stinker! I have the hardest time with this one too. However; when I do limit my caffeine my skin really does look amazing.

3. Water. We really do need to drink the about of water they recommend. If you replace things you are drinking with water daily you will see a very healthy glow to your skin. Remember it’s 8, 8oz. glasses of water a day.

4. Try and cut out gluten. I recently found out I have an intolerance to gluten and I would never recommend going completely gluten free unless you asked your doctor because this is not a diet. Since, eliminating it in my diet I noticed a HUGE improvement in my skin.

Look at the ingredients in your cosmetics:

1. Make good choices in makeup and skincare. I am not saying you have to go out and buy really expensive makeup, I am saying choose products just like you would choose your food.

2. You want products that are dermatologist tested, won’t clog pores, no parabens, mica, titanium dioxide, dimethicone, and oil free. Why? These products are not good for you and can cause skin reactions. These are even in the most expensive makeup products. I would choose products that are vegan, gluten free, oil free, not tested on animals (personal choice, nothing to do with skin), and so on.

3. Basically, read up on ingredients and become informed of what you are putting on your skin.

Basic Skincare Tips:

1. NEVER forget to wash your face at night! Our skin heals over night so, it is important to get the most out of this time.

2. You don’t need a million different steps. Choose what works for you. If washing your face and putting on a serum works for you do that. Just make sure you are not stripping your skin of oils. If you do that you will end up producing more than normal.

3. Try some the baking soda mask once a week. I found this on Pinterest and swear by it. 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of water, make into a paste and apply to skin. Leave it on 5-10 minutes then rinse with warm water. It really brightens the skin! I even do it to the hubby and he likes it!

My Routine:

P.M.

1. Remove makeup with either Burt’s Bee’s cleansing towelettes or Burt’s Bees Citrus Scrub. On eyes, I use a homemade witch hazel and organic olive oil. It’s about half of each in a bottle and shake before use.

2. Wash face with Shea Terra Organics Rose Hips Black Soap

3. Tone with my homemade Witch Hazel and Tea Tree Oil. Make sure the witch hazel is alcohol free and add a few drops of tea tree oil.

4. Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum by Paula’s Choice. I freaking love this stuff and it’s not a million dollars to purchase.

5.  I use a pea size amount of raw shea butter, warm it up in my palms and apply to my face. This has been used for many years to cure all kinds of skin conditions. I can say for myself that it has cleared my skin!

A.M.

1. I don’t cleanse again, If you are extremely oily you can. I like the Simple line cleanser. I got a free sample and really love it.

2. I use my homemade toner all over.

3. Serum, I like vitamin c serums for the antioxidants. I love Pangea Organics brand for these. I am currently out and missing them greatly.

4. Moisturizer, I like the A.H.A one from Mario Badescu. Then I just add SPF on top. I use nothing less than an SPF of 40+! I like Laura Mercier’s I have never broke out from it.

Other:

ZenMed supplements

Biotin vitamins

REcap:

Basically, to sum it up, be aware of what you are putting in and on your body.

Links to products:

www.pangeaorganics.com

www.mariobadescu.com

www.lauramercier.com

For Shea Terra Organics I got them from my Lookbag I get each month. You can order from Lookstore.com

www.burtsbees.com

www.zenmed.com

Makeup Artistry, StyleItSocial, and Kid Stuff!

Hey Everyone! I have moved to WordPress from Blogger. I just like the layout a little better and it’s a little more user friendly for this non-computer savvy girl!

I wanted to update you on a few projects I am involved in.

It’s the beginning of April and we are starting into the full swing of Wedding season! I have a calendar full of bridal run throughs as May creeps up.  The biggest thing I have noticed about this year is more bookings which is thanks to my sister-in-law Sam for creating a beautiful website for me, my friend Joe for all his wonderful referrals and brides in wanting to look their best on their very special day. My best advice for brides getting married in 2013 is to book in advance, like 12 months in advance. So many people have called last-minute and have missed out. I feel so bad because I would love to help everyone and have to turn them away (insert sad face here.) All of my friends have been booked up to so it makes it hard to even refer them to someone else. I look forward to booking 2013 weddings and I want to say thanks to everyone who supports me!

On another note, for those of you that don’t know I work for Mal Pearson Productions full-time and we just launched Mal’s innovative StyleItSocial iPhone/iPad app! This has been quite a journey for the MP staff putting Mal’s vision and “baby” together. Mal just sent it out to the world on April 3rd. One more special note about the app, I am a Makeup Stylist on the app!!! How cool is that! You have the option to hire real professionals in their field! I think that is really amazing. It is so easy and accessible for everyone. I encourage you to download this app and share your style with all of us!

http://styleitsocial.com/

http://styleitsocial.com/stylists/celebrity/ashley-gaa/

 

Now for some Mommy time! My husband and I just recently decided that this year we will be sending our son to Kindergarten! This is very exciting! We weren’t sure a few months ago that he was mature enough and his development over the last few months blew us away! His behavior has improved tremendously. A new journey will begin in August with both of our kiddos in school! I look forward to this! I know this is a huge debate for parents on whether to send or “red shirt”, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. While I feel like every parent knows their kids best and their decision is their own, it is good to hear thoughts on this subject. Keep in mind this is a positive place of support. All of negativity can be kept to yourself. Thanks!