14 raves and favs

I’m not Oprah, and can’t begin to offer free truckloads of my favorite things to my readers, but I can share with you some of my favorite food, fitness and family things as of late.
Silicone Baking Cups: I stumbled upon these cups in the baking section of TJ Max. I think I only paid $4 or $5 for them, but wow, they are awesome. I love baking using alternative flours (coconut flour, almond meal, etc.), but my muffin recipes always stick to paper baking cups. Silicone to the rescue. Not only are these reusable, but my alternative flours don’t stick to them. I can’t wait to make breakfast egg muffins using them.

Reebok Performance Rib Tanks:A couple months ago, I had a Dick’s Sporting Goods giftcard burning a hole in my pocket and I was determined to buy some new workout clothes that would fit my new mom curves since all my old tanks had built-in shelf bras that wouldn’t quite cut it anymore. After being completely overwhelmed with the vast selection of items, I finally settled upon purchasing three of these simple tanks, in black, turquoise and pink. They’re  basic ribbed tanks, but made of performance fabric instead of cotton, so they wear very well. I absolutely love them.

Lululemon Shorts: When I was pregnant, I told myself that I would treat myself to a Lululemon shopping spree after I had lost all my baby weight postpartum. For some reason, this shopping spree never happened, but luckily I’m friends with the southeast regional manager of Lululemon and she completely surprised me the other day with a pair of shorts. (No, below is not a picture of my booty–it’s a stock image.) Love this springy blue color, as well as all the technical features. Thank you Teri!

New Balance Minimalist Shoes: Gifted with another giftcard (thank you Gret!), I hit up Dick’s again, but this time online, to order a pair of minimalist shoes. I was determined to buy the New Balance Minimus shoes, but went with the 730 Running shoethanks to a $40 pricepoint difference. These shoes are still very minimal, and will be great for olympic lifting, as there’s no give in the heel.

Planet Box: I know it’s a bit pricey, but I really love my Planet Box. Since having James Michael, I’ve been on a ridiculous salad kick, and eat a big salad at least 4 times a week. Making it at home is one thing, but when I want to carry a salad to work, it gets a little tricky since I add so many ingredients. At one point, I was using 5 plastic baggies for all the ingredients, but now, I can just use my Planet Box and it works out perfectly.

Pastel Nail Colors: In the past, I’ve always opted for a bright red or dark pink nail color on my toes, especially while I’m still pale from the winter. Then once I get some color on my skin, I switch it up completely and go with a neutral color that accents my tan. But it seems that nail color has become a huge trend lately. I’d been wanting to try something different, and finally bought two new colors to try out: tart deco and lilacism. As much as I wanted to avoid paying close to $8 a bottle, when compared to every other brand, Essiejust had the best colors.

Target skirts: Working next to a Target is both convenient and dangerous. I recently went to Target on my lunch break to get breast pump steaming bags, which of course they didn’t have, so somehow I found myself in the clothing section, thinking how I needed a few basic skirts to get me through what is sure to be a hot summer. I found the Merona Womens’ Doubleweave skirt, which fit perfectly and was only $23, so I snatched up two colors: dynamo violet and denim.

Baby sunglasses:I mean, seriously, who can resist smiling when seeing a baby in sunglasses? These have come in handy for our early evening walks. And James Michael looks so coooooool in camo 🙂

Jogging Stroller: I’m so thankful I found a jogging stroller on Craigslist a few weeks ago for only $45–we use it all the time. Compared to his Graco stroller, the jogging stroller is made of super lightweight fabric, so I feel like he stays much cooler now that it’s hot outside. We plop JM in the stroller every time we take him up to the gym, and if the workout involves running, I take him along.

This stroller has also allowed us to go on family walks/runs at Cochran Shoals (what I always refer to as the River). And just yesterday we went on a walk/run at the Bob Callan Trail. It was awesome and I plan to go back often since it’s closer to where we live than the Silver Comet Trail in Smyrna.

A Sleeping Baby: When we travelled out of town last weekend, JM had a horrible night. I got about 2 hours of sleep from 11pm until 6am, and must have gotten up close to 10 times to tend to him in the pack and play. I’m still not sure why he slept so terribly, but nights like this make me super thankful for nights when he does sleep well. JM always sleeps better at home than on the road, but I’m hoping he gets more adaptable as he gets older. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing sweeter than a sleeping baby.

TJ’s Dark Chocolate Almonds: We tested out Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Almonds last weekend and I was hooked. The ever clever Joe the Trader sprinkled the chocolate coating with sea salt, making this treat the perfect balance of sweet and salty. I highly recommend these, just make sure you have someone to share them with or you could end up devouring the whole container!

Spice Jars:
Even post-baby, it seems I’m still in a nesting phase. When I have free time, which is very rare, I try to tackle small projects. After realizing that our spice cabinet was out of control, I purchased a dozen spice jars in an attempt to downsize. I managed to throw out 3/4 of our misellaneous containers to clean up our cabinet. Now, I just need to print out labels for the jars to complete the project.

My Boys: It’s amazing just how much your heart changes when you start a family. You hear other parents talk about it, but you really don’t get it until you experience it yourself. I never thought of myself as an emotional person in the past, but James Michael has changed that. Starting a family even changes the way you see your spouse. You wonder how you could love your husband more than you do on your wedding day, and then seeing him loving on your child brings your love for him to a whole new level.

Being pregnant: Yes, I’m one of those women who will finally admit it: I loved being pregnant. I had a great, healthy pregnancy, and for that I am super thankful. Looking back at old pictures of myself, I’m discovering just how much I miss being pregnant. Now I’m not Michelle Dugger and don’t plan on spending a couple decades pregnant, but I am already looking forward to the next little one in the future. Until we’re ready for that one, I’m trying to get myself back into good shape doing CrossFit. I’m finally back to doing most all WODs prescribed (except muscleups!). I really think CrossFit helped me feel my best. I can’t make it to the gym 4 to 5 days a week like I did in the past, but I’m trying to make the best of my 2 to 3 weekly visits. On days I’m not at the gym, I try to run/walk with James Michael just to keep moving–and keep him entertained!

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