Sunday, July 23, 2017

Marriage, Pregnancy, Children, and Friendships

**Hopefully this will not be too disjointed...

At 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant with my second child, something has become very apparent to me. It is not easy to keep friendships alive. Maybe this is only true for me. Maybe there is something about my personality that pushes people away. However, I need to piece all of this together in writing in hopes that I will reach a manner of understanding.

When I was pregnant with Christian, I was a senior in college at UNC - Chapel Hill. Throughout that pregnancy, I lost two of my best friends. I'm still not sure what happened with one of my friends. This particular friendship was one that I had gained while in college. All of a sudden, we were not friends anymore and she posted tons of slander on my social media pages. It was to the point where I had to delete my accounts and start fresh because of the lies and deception being posted. The other friends, well, that one is on me - 

This girlfriend of mine was one of the best girlfriends I had ever had. She went to a college far away and we kept in touch mostly via text, social media, or phone calls. When we were both home, we were inseparable...until I got pregnant. During pregnancy, you become very hormonal. Being young and having all of these changes happening, I tended to resort to whining/venting to this friend in particular. Most of this whining/venting was about my then-boyfriend. After a few months, I believe she had just had enough. She quit answering my texts and phone calls. I would whine or vent and she would give me advice. I wouldn't take the advice - to break off my relationship - and I'd call and whine again. I imagine it was incredibly frustrating for her. Looking back on the situation after six years, I understand how the friendship fell apart. I tried to heal it, but the damage was done.

Fast forward a little while - 

I met Nick when Christian was four years old. I had my share of failed relationships, and I did not allow these men to meet my son. Nick was different. Believe it or not, within a few months, Christian had decided that Nick was his dad and has never looked back. I had already fallen completely in love with Nick at this point and had no intentions of losing this relationship. Somehow, this relationship felt right. This relationship gave me a sense of peace that I had not had in a very long time. I felt as if God had used Nick to heal a hole in my heart left by other failed relationships - romantic and friendly alike. This was the man that I was supposed to be with. Nick was meant to be my best friend and my husband. I knew that after about two months of dating him.

We got engaged in February of 2016 and were married in November. Over the course of my engagement, I gained several friends. I was able to bond with my bridesmaids and several married or engaged teachers at my school throughout this process. I still have these friendships to this day. Something about marital bliss seems to perpetuate lasting friendships. Babies, however, do not.

Within the first week of our marriage, Nick and I conceived a baby. This is what we wanted. This is what we had prayed for. We wanted to be married and we wanted a baby. God granted us exactly what we asked Him for (even though I was sure it was going to take more time than that).

Over the course of my engagement and the 36 weeks of my pregnancy with this precious baby, I've lost a friendship. Just one this time, but it might just be the most important friendship that I have ever had in my lifetime. This person was my best friend for over 12 years. This time, I'm not sure what caused it to end. This time, I'm hurt and saddened and confused. This time, at least, I have a very reliable, Godly man to help me heal and understand my loss. However, while Nick may sympathize with me, he does not understand how this affects me. I'm not even sure that I do at the moment. My friendship with this person ended on June 4, 2017 - the day before Christian's sixth birthday. These events were linked, but in no way is this the fault of my beautiful, redheaded boy. He has nothing to do with it. It's all me. 

Honestly, I think it's all God.

Before you get offended or think that I am blaming God for something bad that is happening to me, keep reading. I do not think this loss is negative. To be perfectly clear, I think every single loss of a friend is intentional. God does not make mistakes.

Let me say that again for those in the back - God does not make mistakes.

I think that every person on this planet has many seasons in their lifetime. The friendships that I have had fit well within those seasons. As I grow in faith and go farther in my walk with God, these friendships have to change. I can no longer associate with those who would hinder my walk. I do not let go of people easily, though. Once I have developed a tight bond with someone, it is difficult for me to walk away. This is why, I believe, God had each of these people (the three mentioned above) walk away from me. Whether by allowing them to hurt me by spreading false information, by ignoring me, or moving across the entire country, God had these people leave me. They ended the friendships. They put a finality to the end of the relationship(s). He allowed them to walk away. He gave me the strength to cope with the loss.

Despite the fact that I'm currently coping with the loss of a friendship, I know that I will get through this tough time in my life. 

Even better than that, I'm about to grow my family by an entire person! Nothing is better than that.

God makes no mistakes. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Skin Care! Skin Care! Skin Care! (Night Version)

Hey y'all!

I have finally done it! I've figure out the *perfect* skin care routine for my skin. I felt the need to write it down (so I remember when I inevitably go try other things) and share it with others who have some of the same concerns I do!

I'm going to talk about my nighttime skin care routine only in this post. I'll follow it up with what I do in the morning in another post.

Also, I'm going to link all of the products I use and include their prices. 

Disclaimer: I am not being paid to discuss my opinions. This is not a sponsored post. I bought all of these products myself, unless mentioned otherwise. Also, I am not a dermatologist. I'm just a teacher and a mother!

My skin:
I am very, VERY fair. I have freckles and lots of them. I do have redness in my cheeks. Beyond that, I have VERY DRY skin. I love products that hydrate and illuminate dull skin. I can't use anything that strips away moisture. My skin is also sensitive. It will react to products that are harsh. I get texture, very small white bumps. I don't get full blown pimples, but the added texture is enough to drive me nuts. That, or it will dry out more and look/feel like alligator skin. No thanks!

On to the routine:

After a normal day, the first thing I need to do is take off my makeup. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT EVER SLEEP IN YOUR MAKEUP. It is so bad for your skin (plus it gets all over everything). I use one of two things to take off my makeup:

These wipes are SO CHEAP! You get 20 wipes for $3.00. They have Aloe Vera Leaf Extract in them which soothes my skin. Also, one wipe is more than enough to take off all of your makeup.

2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water ($7.64 at Ulta, $6.96 at Walmart)

This is actually my favorite product to use to take off my eye makeup. You get 13.5 oz in each bottle and the bottles usually last me around 1.5 months. I only use 2-3 cotton rounds each time. I use one round soaked with this product for each eye. Then, I use a final round for my face. My eye makeup comes off with no problem using this. I don't have to scrub or pull at my skin. It's wonderful stuff. Plus, if you don't want to, you don't have to rinse this off. It doesn't dry out your skin. It just feels good!

After I take off my makeup, I follow with a gentle cleanser.

3. fresh. Soy Face Cleanser (1.7 oz for $15 or 5.1 for $38 at Sephora)

This cleanser is good for all skin types, but it make my skin feel so nourished when I'm done. I wet my skin and put a very small amount on my fingertips. Then, I rub this all over my face and massage it in (even over my eyes!). Finally, I rinse it off with some water (straight from the faucet to my face) and pat my face dry with a towel. Very simple, and it make my skin feel hydrated and very clean without feeling tight. This cleanser contains rosewater and cucumber extract, among other wonderful ingredients, that calm and sooth my skin. I highly recommend this!

After I cleanse my face and my skin is dry, I go in with a serum. 

This is an expensive product. However, I invest in my skin! It's the only skin I get. Plus, this stuff is miraculous. 

Because I have dry skin and I'm in my late twenties, I wanted to make sure I was using something that promotes anti-aging and cell turnover. Because of this, I wanted my night serum to have an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) to exfoliate the top layers of my skin. I do not have large pores and I do not have acne. I don't feel the need to use anything with BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) because of that. The most common type of AHA is glycolic acid. 

This serum from Ole Henriksen has an AHA complex including glycolic AND lactic acid. It also include algae extract to nourish the skin and mucopolysaccharides to hydrate the skin.

It's everything I've ever wanted in a serum - gentle exfoliation, nourishment, and hydration! You put a pump (which is about a pea sized amount) of this on your skin - covers your face and neck - and your skin feels amazing the next morning.

Last step is moisturizer:

This moisturizer is so simple. It's just that, a moisturizer. It contains hyaluronic acid, which binds moisture to your skin cells. There's also a complex in it that boosts the amount of hyaluronic acid your skin produces, promoting healthy, hydrated skin! This is all this product does - moisturizes. It's all I need it to do! (Sidenote: I HATE that this is in a jar. Come on, Sephora. Get it together. You know that skin care products should not ever, ever, EVER come in a jar!)

Now, once or twice a week, I also use a lip mask. When I do, it's always the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask (the clear one). This is $26 at Sephora. You don't want to over use it because you want your lips to produce moisture on their own. This is nice, however, when you feel like your lips are starting chap or have been exposed too much to the elements - wind/sun... I like the way it makes my lips feel in the morning. I put it on right before I go to sleep and it stays on my mouth all night.

I love face masks as well, but that's information for another post!

Let me know if there is something that you love using for your skin or if you're interested in trying any of these products. If you've tried these products, let me know that too! I'd love to hear from y'all!

--A <3

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

PiYo Review Time!

Alright, so, a lot of you know that I am a Beachbody Coach. Let me go ahead and throw that out there before I start this post.

I am affiliated with the company. However, I'm not being paid to tell you how good or bad this program is. I'm not a sell-out. I will never tell you something that I don't fully believe.

Example of this:
  • Shakeology is absolutely delicious, in my opinion.
  • The Chocolate flavor is everything.
  • The Greenberry makes me want to puke. It's disgusting. (Just my opinion though)
  • I'm also not a Strawberry person. Didn't like it. Don't recommend it.
  • I've heard wonderful things about the Tropical Strawberry Vegan flavor. Can't recommend it because I haven't tried it.
Once again, I'm honest to a fault. I'll never tell you something I don't stand by.

Also, I do want to clear up why I became a Coach.

It actually SAVES you money! I drink Shakeology every month. Being a Coach saves me about $30 each month on this product. I'm not in it to sell products. You aren't even required to sell products. If I can help someone achieve a goal, I'm all for helping them get a program or try Shakeology. If not, I'm still saving money. So it's a win-win.

Can I just say, right here, right now, that I hate that we live in a world where we feel like we have to justify ourselves before we make an opinion. All opinions just seem to get attacked these days. 

So, now that you've read my justification/explanation/clarification/whatever, let's talk about PiYo!!!

PiYo is a program that was created by Chalene Johnson. She's that lady who does TurboKick and TurboFire. You may also have heard of ChaLean Extreme. I had not ever heard of any of these programs when I purchased PiYo back in June 2014.

I was one of the people who was waitlisted to find out the exact date this program released. I was so in when I heard it was coming out. I'm a long time lover of Beachbody, but had never finished a whole program. I'd done roughly 30 days of P90X (but then I got the flu). I'd done 4 weeks of Insanity (love Shaun T) but was so sore and tired that I quit. I also owned these programs:
  • Hip Hop Abs - SO MUCH FUN. I had no dedication when I was given this as a gift.
  • Slim in 6 - This workout WORKS!!! But it's boring. It's the same workout every day. But it works!!!
  • Rockin' Body - Also, SO MUCH FUN! Lost dedication after Week 2.
  • T25 - My first DVD is messed up, and it wasn't ordered through BeachBody...because I'm dumb. They'll replace scratched/messed up DVDs if you order through them. What was I thinking!?
I've done yoga on and off since I was 14-ish years old. I found one of my mom's All Day Yoga DVDs, popped it in, and fell in love. I have bad anxiety and this is one of the ways I can manage it. Yoga keeps me calm, gets my blood moving, and teaches me to slow down and breathe.

When I saw that BeachBody was coming out with a "hardcore Yoga" (how I thought of it), I was on board. I can look back at posts from 2014 and see just how excited I was.

Then, I had it, started it, and never finished it!

I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to get in shape. I just had no determination to really change.

Then, in 2015, I decided to start it over again. I started in April 2015 and finished it at the end of May 2015. I had great results. I lost about 11 lbs and 11.75 inches in just 8 weeks! I had all of these big plans to start it again and do Round 2. Here are the problems I faced, though:
  1. I wasn't getting healthy for me. I was getting healthy because I thought that would make my boyfriend pay more attention to me.
  2. My birthday was in May. I took a cheat day, but I went way overboard and got off track. This led to negative feelings I "couldn't" come back from.
  3. I did it all alone. I didn't tell anyone about what I was doing. I had no support system.
  4. Guy from #1 up there and I went through the worst breakup that I have ever been through at the very beginning of June. What does this lead to? Emotional eating...binging...all the bad.
  1. I finished the program. I did all 8 weeks!
  2. I did lose the weight. I even kept it off until August/September despite the emotional eating.
  3. I now knew that I can lose the weight. I just needed the right motivation.

So, here I am, June 2016, and I'm in my last week of PiYo. Technically, this is Round 2, but it sure didn't feel like it. I felt like I was starting over from Square 1.

In the first 7 weeks of PiYo, I've lost 13 lbs and 13 inches. (Yes, I think it's hilarious that both times, my losses were the close - 11 lbs and 11.75 inches vs 13 lbs and 13 inches).

I still have one week left, and it's the hardest of them all. Chalene combines the toughest workouts in a sequence that will "light you on fire." Or that's how it feels!

The workout programs in the whole program are:
  1. Align: The Fundamentals
  2. Define Lower Body
  3. Define Upper Body
  4. Sweat
  5. Core
  6. Buns
  7. Drench
  8. Strength Intervals
  9. Sculpt
  10. Hardcore on the Floor (if you order through a Coach)
Holy CRAP! 

I'll have to do a separate post on the workouts in order to really do them justice. I'll go ahead and tell you that my two favorites are Drench and Hardcore on the Floor. Drench is 48 minutes and it feels so good. It's HARD. Don't get me wrong. I mean, the workout is named Drench. When you're done, you are drenched in sweat. But I love the way you feel when you're done. It's a full body workout.

Then, Hardcore on the Floor is all core work. It's done on the floor (hence the name) and it is also really hard. But it's WONDERFUL (and about 33 minutes).

Nick's favorite workout is Sculpt. It's around 30 minutes as well (might be right under at 28 or so), and it does what it says - it uses your body to sculpt your body. I feel like it's a lot of leg work, but you finish with arms. He doesn't like the Core workouts because his core is his weakest area. It's my strongest, so I'm all about it.

Our least favorite is Strength Intervals, but we've pushed through that one as well. I'll explain why we aren't big fans when I do a post on that one, specifically.

All-in-all, if you're looking for a program that is low-impact, but gives great results, PiYo might just be your soulmate workout. It's definitely mine. It's a great option if you're just starting out on your fitness journey, or if you just really love Yoga, like I do. It's intense. There is a modifier (heyyyy Michelle!) and you should follow her if you are struggling. Sometimes, I follow her just because I'm sore! It will work for you if you work the program.


--Also, don't forget to get your nutrition in line. Don't expect results if you're eating crap all day. I'm the pickiest eater in the whole world, and I was able to change what I was eating. I've incorporated more healthy foods, more whole foods, and eat the 80/20 clean diet. Try it and see how your body changes!

Friday, June 3, 2016

New Food Love!

Can I just say that I absolutely hate being a picky eater?

I'm not one who ever really eats veggies, unless they are on a salad...and, by salad, I mean lettuce, a few carrots (maybe), radishes, spinach (maybe), and dressing. So, those are wimpy salads anyway.

Fruits, on the other hand, I love. I could eat fruits all day long. As a matter of fact, I do eat fruit all day. Apples, pineapple, berries - yum!

Last night, though, I tried something for the first time.


I have friends who eat them all the time. I'm so scared to try new foods, that it's hard for me to just buy something and try it. However, I wanted to love these. This past weekend, we went to SAMs Club in Fayetteville. While we were there, we picked some up. They were pretty cheap, so I decided to get them and see what I could do.

By the way, yes, this "trying them for the first time" thing means that I've never had guacamole. I know, it's shocking. You'd be surprised about all the things I've either recently tried or never have had.

On Pinterest yesterday, I found a recipe for a Shrimp and Brown Rice bowl that also included diced avocado.

Here's the link for the recipe: Yummy-Healthy-Easy - Shrimp + Avocado Bowl

I bit the bullet, had Nick buy the ingredients I was out of - sesame oil, white wine vinegar, lite soy sauce, truvia - and decided to make the recipe!


While the shrimp was cooking, I had the avocado diced and drizzled in lemon juice. I was conversing with Nick and just grabbed a piece and ate it. It was so creamy and delicious. The lemon juice gave it a bit of a bite, but not much. (Also, I love lemon juice...vinegar...anything acidic) Nick had to be convinced to try some. He didn't think he liked avocado...but he said this wasn't bad!

This is what the recipe looked like once I had it in my bowl:

I liked it so much, I brought leftovers to school for lunch! 

Best part - it made five servings, which came to 292 calories each! That is not bad at all. I have 1.5 servings pictured above - I was HUNGRY! Still, only 438 calories for my whole dinner. I'll take it!

Now, of course, then I came to realize that avocado - not a vegetable. It's a FRUIT!

This didn't really help me learn to love vegetables, but it did add another healthy element to my diet! I'm going to try to cook them into some burgers tonight! I'll let you know how that goes.

Two things before I end the post.

1) Here's a little nutritional knowledge for you (in the form of an infographic, because those are fun!)

2) Scriptural Inspiration for the day! I've been reading Made to Crave with a small group of girls that are involved with Beachbody and this verse has really stood out to me:

"Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." (1 Cor 10:23)

--Andi <3 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Day 24 (and beyond)


I meant to update after the 24 day challenge ended.

Here's how it played out.

I lost a total of 11 lbs in 24 days. I also lost 11.75 inches!

That's craziness!!!

My challenge ended on May 10. Since then, I've actually lost an additional 2 lbs (and idk how many inches. I'll have to measure this weekend) and have maintained pretty well.

What I missed on the challenge and have since added back:

  1. Coffee. I love coffee. I can't live without this. I only drink 1-2 cups a day now (vs. a pot or more) and I sweeten it with truvia. No calories, no problems!
  2. Wine. There is a very strict no alcohol policy on the 24 Day Challenge, but I love a good glass of wine every now and again.
  3. Shakeology. This might have been my biggest miss of the whole challenge (after coffee). I really missed drinking Shakeology for breakfast. I've got it back now!
I love the 24 Day Challenge as a good way to break all bad habits of the traditional American eating style - all convenience, very little nutrition. 

I don't like all of the "you can't have" that's associated with it.

What I really don't like - the price! Ugh.

Now, I'm not saying that it doesn't work. It DEFINITELY works. I'll honestly probably do another one in August. I love the challenge. It's a nice - albeit expensive - way to reset your system. And Spark is sooooo good.

However, when it comes down to it, I'm a Beachbody girl. I've converted my fiance into a Beachbody believer as well.

We finish PiYo on June 19th. Then, we are going to move on to another Becahbody program. Idk which one yet, but we're looking at a few - 21 Day Fix seems to be a big contender.

I'm also in a challenge group right now with a few coaches. I'm hoping to lead my own in a few months! We all come at this from a very truthful perspective and, above all, we remember to do this in a Godly way. We know that it's honoring God to take care of your body and to not let food addiction consume your life. We use books and scripture along the way. It's very spiritual and very insightful!

The most exciting part - I'm now a Coach! I prayed about it for so long. Nick even wanted to do it. Then, when my mom started showing interest in 21 Day Fix and Shakeology, I knew it was time!

If you're interested in any Beachbody products (and you want an honest opinion) ask away! If I don't like a program or if I don't think something is what you'll like, I'll tell you. I'd never compromise my morals to make a sale. Honestly, what's important to me is helping others achieve their goals while I'm achieving mine. I also hope to help my friends and family grow closer to God as we fight this battle together. I want to inspire them and I know they'll inspire me!

If you want to browse products, here's my link:

I'll be updating continuously as I go through this journey with my fiance! We're taking our health very seriously! You should too! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

It's Day 18 (7 more days to go!)

First of all, we're in the final countdown! :)

Yes, I'm a dork.

But really, there are only 7 days left of this challenge! That's including today! I'm so excited! We've almost finished!

Before I jump into that, let's talk about my new puppy!!!

Oh my goodness. Can you just look at this preciousness:

We got him yesterday! Nick picked him up as soon as he got back into town from work. I was at physical therapy, so I didn't get to go :(

Anyway, he's done such a great job! We got him home, he ate some food, went outside to use the bathroom (and has not gone in the house at all yet, other than a small piddle when my mean cat, Luna, smacked him), and played to the point where he passed out in the bathroom for an hour. He was worn out.

Then, I gave him a bath and he got all cuddly in a towel. Christian came home and got to love on him for a little while. We put him in his crate for "night-night time" and he stayed there all night! No whining. No using the bathroom in it! We are very impressed with him!

Back to the purpose of the post: the challenge!

Yesterday was easy! It's always easiest on days that you've planned out well or on days where you stay super busy. Yesterday was both. I ended up with exactly 1300 calories in, which, according to MyFitnessPal, will still have me lose roughly 12 pounds in the next 5 weeks! Yay for progress!

I was extremely tired yesterday, though. Like, more so than I normally am. I don't know why. I don't think I slept well the night before. Waking up at 4:30 takes its toll on you, for sure. I'm so ready for Saturday. I don't think I have anywhere to go, so sleeping will be happening!

Anyway, time for some TMI: My bowels are starting to adjust again. I was having issues for a couple of days just due to being off of the "Cleanse" phase. Now, I'm good again, I think! Everything feels better and my body is digesting food like it should be.

Also, I think the healthy eating is something I can keep up after the challenge is over. My friend, Amanda, who is also my Beachbody coach, has me in a 7 Day Clean Eating challenge group on Facebook. Then, another group starts May 9th because I bought a challenge pack (I wanted Beachbody on Demand and I missed my Shakeology). We're going to go through a novel called Made to Crave. I am very excited about this! I think the challenge groups will help me stay on track! The next one, the one on May 9th, starts 2 days before my 24 day challenge is over, so it gives me something to hold on to.

PiYo: Core tonight. I think we've moved our rest days to Wednesdays. It's hard to get motivated in the middle of the week (hump day sucks). Plus, with my physical therapy on Wednesdays for my arm, I'm usually a little sore. I was on Monday and Wednesday, anyway. We're going to keep pushing play until we conquer our goals, though! We've got this!

I'll update more tomorrow (prepare for more puppy pics. I'm sure they're coming).

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

HAPPY STAR WARS DAY + Update (Day 17)

It's been a crazy week, thus far. It's only Wednesday.

Stahhhhhp. Time is going by so slowly!

On Monday of this week, I started going to Physical Therapy. I have tendinitis and PIN syndrome - both in my right forearm. I finally got in to see the therapist, and I'm now sporting this lovely Kinesio Tape (Rock Tape) down my right arm.

It looks like every Monday and Wednesday are going to be my "massage + ultrasound + electrical stimulation + tape" days. It is painful, but it helps a little. We'll see how it helps over the next few weeks.

Also, today we are getting our puppy! He's a black lab (probably mixed with something else, but it's so faint). Because it's Star Wars Day, we are naming him Kylo Skywalker (yes, yes, I know it's Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and he's not technically a Skywalker...but we're making it work).

Let's talk about the challenge:

Today is Day 17 of 24! 8 more days to go, including today, and we're done!

After the Cleanse phase was over, my body had to readjust to bathroom habits. It's finally starting to relax into some good habits, I think. It's a struggle, but it always has been for me (TMI, I guess).

Nutritionally speaking, it's been alright. For the past two days, I've been on the lower end of my calorie range. MyFitnessPal recommends that I get 1420, excluding calories earned from exercise. I've been somewhere between 1100-1200 for two days. I'm not trying to stay low; I'm just satisfied from eating less these days.

Nick and I both are still getting up at 4:30 for yoga and supplements. We are still doing PiYo 6x/week at night. Last night was Buns. I don't think I'm that sore, but man, it hurts while you're working it out! 30 minutes of sheer pain!

We've been doing mostly a good job with eating - except this weekend when I let Nick cook -_-

He also had an interesting, dairy-full Monday. I told him that I wasn't paying attention to him anymore. He can just watch his food himself. He's done better since!

Last night, I had two pieces of tilapia (cooked on the George Foreman, which might be my new favorite way to cook anything - especially fish) and some corn. I was satisfied after that. For me, that's a huge change because I love to eat.

I hope that I see some good results when we weigh and measure on Day 25.

As far as after Day 25, Nick and I have a plan in place, we think:

--Keep going with Spark
--Shakeology! I had to order more. It's so wonderful and makes me feel so good.
--Follow the 21 Day Fix eating plan
--Continue with yoga in the AM and PiYo at night. It's working, so why quit?
--21 Day Fix workouts after PiYo is over? Maybe?

Yay! I feel so good :)