Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Favorites



Good Morning and TGIF!

WOW, it has been a week. I don't know about you, but I'm so ready for the Holidays to be over and ready to regain order in my life.... if that's possible. With that said, I'll dive right into Friday Favorites because let's be real that's why you're here :)

Best Meal of the Week
Last night I made macro friendly chicken enchiladas. Yes, it's possible. Anyway, head over to Macro Miranda's page for the full recipe. However, here are the adjustments I would make if I made them again. I would double the amount of cheese. To save on fat I would probably use half nonfat cheese and half reduced fat cheese. I would also use 300-400g of the salsa verde. Last night I did top mine with 1 oz avocado and 30g pico....and they were delish! P.S. I used leftover shredded chicken for the filling!

Best Supplement Deal of the Week
Hello, my name is Tiara and I'm fueled by coffee, JOJO's Chocolate Bark, and protein shakes. Yes, I eat real food, but seriously.... Anyway, Eat the Bear is having one of the best sales I've EVER seen. Run over there now and buy all the protein powders and aminos, stat. When you use code SQUATLOW you'll receive 40% OFF their entire site (except subscriptions and apparel)! I purchased the blueberry muffin and chocolate protein powders. I also picked up a coffee mug so I can Eat the Bear every morning (HAHA).

Best Stocking Stuffers
I don't know about you, but stocking stuffers are my favorite! So here are five stocking stuffers any gal would love: Popsocket, JOJO's Chocolate Bark, gift cards (think Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Target, etc.), these fun socks, or a Health Human 20 oz tumbler (psst... currently an Amazon Prime lighting deal ... making them $19.99 - I'm loving this Willow Oak print).

Best Giveaway of the Week
Are you guys following me on Instagram? If not you should because I'm giving away a month supply of JOJO's Chocolate Bark! The giveaway ends tonight at 5 p.m. PST so head over to my IG feed and enter, stat! Or if you just want to buy some use TIARA10 for 10% any purchase!

Best Blog Post of the Week
Earlier this week I posted about eating healthy while cutting our food bill. Check out the full post HERE for more details and tips and tricks.

What are you currently loving?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake

Thank you, Barilla Pasta/Galbani Cheese and Walmart for inspiring and sponsoring today’s post. #holidaypairing 

Oh, how I love the holidays. Family, friends, food, and fun! But let's get serious it's really all about the food. Am I right?!

There is something to be said about a home cooked meal. I must admit when the weather starts to turn I want hearty meals and a cozy fire. However, I still focus on better meal options. Making everything from scratch is key, but sometimes you just need a little help. Like pasta, homemade is delish but mama doesn't have time for that. However, I can pick up a box of Barilla Pasta knowing I'm making a smarter choice for my family. Barilla stands for the joy of healthy and pleasurable eating, in the believing that Italian pasta is the best recipe for good living, as it provides the perfect canvas for a nutritious meal.


Speaking of family, when it comes to holiday cooking I like to make dishes I can make ahead of time then just pop in the oven when dinner rolls around. Eating pasta brings the people in your life – friends, and family – together around the table. It’s one of the most appreciated foods around the world as something to be shared with loved ones. Pasta bakes are one of those holiday staple meals I keep up my sleeve. It's easy for sharing and flavor combinations are endless.

Galbani cheeses are my favorite to use in pasta bakes. Their ricotta is made in the traditional Italian style for a truly authentic taste, while the shredding mozzarella has a firmer texture for smooth shredding and better melting. Plus, no additives like cellulose, potato starch or other anti-clumping agents.


Personally, I like to keep ingredients minimal so you can enjoy the pasta bake as a main course or side dish. Oh, and it also travels well if you're headed to a potluck, etc. I'll let you in on a secret, I'm able to eat pasta guilt-free because of macros!

While I might count macros, pasta is considered an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Which is a healthy way of eating inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of the Mediterranean region. It incorporates a variety of quality food groups that should be eaten often in reasonable quantities, including pasta. Barilla products are made with few, wholesome ingredients to provide a simple and natural way to enjoy eating.

It's time to rethink the way you eat and make this pasta bake tonight! Prep ahead of time and let it cook while you decorate for Christmas, label holiday cards or wrap presents! Enjoy!


Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake
Serves 6

Ingredients

10 oz  Barilla ziti pasta
15 oz Galbani Ricotta (I used low fat)
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/8 tsp nutmeg powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped (tightly packed)
1.75 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (save 3/4 cup for topping - or just shred more if you want it extra cheesy)

Sauce
2 garlic cloves
24 oz Barilla Sauce, Traditional
2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried Italian Mixed Herbs
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp salt Black pepper
1 tsp salt (optional)


Ibotta Offer: Earn $2 when you purchase Barilla Pasta/Sauce & Galbani Cheese at Walmart

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, milk, parmesan, garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and Mozzarella cheese.

Add the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to the baking dish – I used a medium-sized casserole dish.

For the Sauce: Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the sauce onto the pasta. Then add the remaining ingredients to the bottle and give it a shake.

Once combined, pour over the pasta and top with cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Serve while hot and fresh!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Eating Healthy While Cutting The Food Budget

When people say, "eating healthy is expensive" I say BS. Buying food, in general, is expensive. I can't leave our local grocery store for under $100 and Costco I'm lucky if I make it out under $200! At least Costco is only a monthly trip. But why does food have to cost so much? Well, I'm going to show you how we're cutting our food bill without changing the things we want to eat. Gimme all the snacks, organic products, beer, etc.


Shop at your Local Discount Store
I'm not going to lie, but I use to hate going to our local discount store and usually only found myself in there in a pinch. As in, I needed something quick and this was the closest store. But this Fall I started going more frequently because they carry Annie's Homegrown products for cheap. Now I'm in there at least once a week! I have to admit our local Grocery Outlet store has stepped up their game in the last 6 months. So much so I'm doing the majority of our grocery shopping there. Basically, on Sunday I make a list go to the GO buy what I can from my list before heading to our local Raley's for everything else!

I mean check out the killer deal on the Vital Farms Eggs!


Clip Electronic Coupons
I use Ibotta and Fetch. In short, Ibotta is a rebate app giving you cash back on qualifying purchases. How does it work? Before you shop, add rebates by completing simple tasks. Buy the products you selected at any participating store. Don't forget your receipt! Redeem your rebates by taking a photo of your receipt or just by linking your loyalty card. Ibotta matches the items you bought to the rebates you selected and gives you the cash! Your cash back will be deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours. Use my referral code, eoltjxx, and you will receive a $10 welcome bonus! Sign up, HERE.

Fetch Rewards is a tad different. You earn points for scanning your receipts. If you purchase a certain brand you'll receive additional points. Points are then redeemed for gift cards like Starbucks, Amazon Target, etc. If you use my code: JN9GQ you'll receive 1,500 points after your first scanned receipt. I've earned over 10,000 points since August!

Big box apps.  I don't know about you, but I take full advantage of the Target Cartwheel app as well as coupons via the Raley's app. I load ALL the coupons so they are they when I shop. I believe most big supermarkets have similar apps.


Home Delivery Services
We love Thrive Market! I can order all the organic products I love at a discount price. How does it work? Register for free to browse the Thrive Market catalog, see member savings, and receive 15% off your first purchase. With your first purchase on Thrive Market, you’ll start a free 30-day membership trial. See how much you save. Cancel anytime.Join Thrive Market for just $59.95 and save on the world’s best healthy products for a full year. When you join, you are also sponsoring a free membership for a low-income family. We've already saved over $200 in four months! Sign up today and receive 25% off your first order!

My goal is to drop our monthly food bill from roughly $800-$1,000 a month to roughly $500 a month. We'll see how Q1 goes. The plan is to buy what we can at the Grocery Outlet, then everything else from Raley's, Costco or Trader Joe's. I might even dabble in shopping at Walmart when I'm in Carson City (which is 25 miles from us). I should note we don't eat out very often so I don't have to worry about that.

Are you up for the challenge? How do you save on groceries?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Amazing Protein Bites

Happy Monday Folks!

Have you been following along on insta-stories? No, well I've been sharing all my meals and the macro breakdown, since Friday, so you can see how I make the foods I want to eat work! Yup, only because I love you guys and hope to inspire you to create your healthiest and best life. Whatever that looks like for you because we're all different.

Anyway, over the weekend I whipped up some protein bites to keep handy in the freezer.


These little bites help satisfy my sweet cravings without blowing macros. I say that's a win-win. The best part there's only 5 ingredients and they're all pantry staples! There are so many different variations you can make so get creative. Use your favorite nut butter or white chocolate chips.

These could also sub as a 'healthy' cookie alternative at your next holiday party.

BTW - This post was in no way sponsored by Thrive market, I just really like their products, affordable organic pricing, and quick delivery service!

Sign up today and receive 25% off your first Thrive Market box!


Protein Bites

Ingredients

1 cup Quaker Oats (I used old fashion, but quick oats work too)
1/4 cup Thrive Market Honey
1/2 cup Thrive Market Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Thrive Market Natural Creamy PB
31 g Amazing Grass Pure Vanilla Protein (sub with your favorite protein powder)

Directions
Combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Once combined, roll into 1.5 inch balls. Makes roughly 12 balls. Enjoy one now and store the remaining in the fridge or freezer.

Pro tip: Use a cookie scoop to portion out then roll into balls.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday Favorites: In the Holiday Spirit

Reindeer Sweater (psst - it's currently 40% off)

Well, folks, we made it through another week and we're that much closer to Christmas! I can't believe it. Before we dive into Friday Favorites let's chat. Did you catch yesterday's post - Tips & Tricks to Staying Fit through the Holidays? Additionally, starting today I'm sharing all my meals and snacks throughout the day for an entire week on insta-stories. The number one question I get about counting macros is how do I fit everything in. Guess what I'm going to show you via insta-stories! I hope to have a post finalized and posted here next week. I hope you'll follow along and ask tons of questions.

And now for my Friday Favorites!

Girlfriends
I'm lucky to have found a dynamic group of fellow mamas I can also call friends. We all have kiddos roughly around the same age making it easy to relate to all things motherhood. Every month we get together for a few hours, enjoy a home-cooked meal and share laughs. Wednesday night I hosted at my house! We rocked holiday sweaters and did an ornament exchange. I'm looking forward to 2018 and beyond with these gals. For dinner, I made a Peruvian-Style Roasted Chicken with a side salad. For my first time, it was delicious! I also attempted my first charcuterie board and think I did an alright job.

Favorite Treat of the Week
For the mamas' dinner, I made three different types of cookies - chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies and Candy Cane Blossoms with peppermint kisses. The Candy Cane Blossoms were hands down the best. There weren't any left over either so I would say they were a hit!

All the Gift Guides
I've slowing started posting gift guides because honestly rather than buying things I would rather invest in experiences, 401K, or save for house projects/rental house. When did I become so OLD? However in the spirit of creating my top blogger picks I did craft gift guides for the Fitness Enthusiast, Toddler, and Cook.

Best Deal of the Week
I picked up a 12 oz tub of Amazing Grass Pure Vanilla at my local Raley's Store for $8, because of old packaging! That is extremely discounted. I'm now kicking myself for not buying a couple of containers.

Favorite Purchase(s) of the Week
So I didn't buy anything this week, but I did have a few items delivered! YAY.  Our Christmas cards from Minted arrived Wednesday and I love how they turned out. There's still plenty of time to order and send out cards before Christmas. If you join now, Minted will give you $25 toward your first purchase of $100 or more! Emerson's full-sized bed arrived last night. Now I just have to assemble it and buy a mattress. Any mattress recommendations for toddlers?

What are you currently loving?


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tips & Tricks to Staying Fit through the Holidays


It's that time of year. You know the one that's full of parties, drinks, sweets, etc. Did you know the average American will gain roughly 7-10 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Years?! Well, I'm not standing for it and neither should you. What if I said, you could maintain and have your cake too?!

It's called Macros. Yes, the flexible eating plan I've been following. It works. As long as you are consistent you'll see results. The key is figuring out the right ratio of carbs, fat, and proteins for your body and lifestyle. Once you do that then you just have to figure out how to make the foods you want to eat work. Simple right?! You're probably laughing. I know I was when I first started counting macros. Those first two weeks I just wanted to throw in the towel.

So here's my advice don't worry so much about hitting those numbers if you aren't already, let's start that January 1. Right now, focus on logging what you eat. Order a food scale and start weighing your food. Think about what you are putting in your body. Trust me, mind blown! Until then follow these simple tips and tricks to fighting the holiday bloat/gain.

Tips and Tricks to Staying Fit through the Holidays

Get Sweaty
Yes, I get it it's a super busy time of year. Don't put exercise on the back burner. Even if it's only 20-30 minutes 5 times a week, get moving and get sweaty. Trust me you'll feel so good once you're done. Pro tip: Get up early and workout before starting your day.

Eat More
Yes, you read that right -- one of the keys to enjoying the holidays without feeling deprived is to focus on foods you can have more of, not less. Whether you’re at a holiday party or between big events, go crazy with on vegetables! Veggies are not only rich in vitamins and minerals, but they are also high in both fiber and water which will help fill you up and keep you munching while not overeating on the cake, cookies, mashed potatoes, etc. For snacks, try to keep fresh fruit and veggies readily available. Personally, I love pairing fresh fruit with non-fat plain greek yogurt.

Pregame
If you skip meals or snacks during the day to “save up” for a holiday party, you will arrive starving and much more likely to inhale every tray of passed apps that walks by. To prevent this, plan for a small yet satisfying pre-party snack about an hour before you head out the door. Try focusing on lean proteins and veggies throughout the day and then have a filling protein shake beforehand. Try this shake: 1 scoop Amazing Grass Pure Vanilla, 1 oz mango or banana, 1 oz spinach, ice and 1 cup water.

Be Picky
Most people tend to overeat when faced with a wide variety of options. Your best bet is to limit your choices by first doing a once-over of everything offered before taking a minute to decide what looks the absolute best and most worth it.  Try to stick to veggies and lean proteins. I personally like to save fats for a few bits of dessert. :) Other tips include, only eating 80% of what you put on your plate and remember to chew slowing.

Be the Social Butterfly
Remember that this is the time of year where you get to socialize, and maybe even reconnect with friends and family you rarely see throughout the year. So grab a plate or drink to nibble and sip while you chat it up.

Bring a Healthy Side
A great way to help your host while helping yourself is to offer to bring a healthy side dish or appetizer that everyone can enjoy. Other guests will thank you for contributing, and you’ll have a foolproof, on-track option to add to your plate. Everyone wins!

Remember to Drink Plenty of Water
When I drink I like to follow the 1:1 rule. Basically, between each cocktail, plan to drink one full glass of water to help keep the drinks from piling up and to help you stay hydrated which will make the morning after that much more pleasant.

Just remember everyone handles the holidays differently, but we can still enjoy good food and family without binging for days on end.


Disclaimer: I'm not a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, or healthcare provider. While some tips were provided by Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist Jo Bartell please consult with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise or diet plan.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

11 Gifts for Cooks

Hello, it's me the healthy foodie. I get it not all foodies or people like to cook, but I do and you better believe there are a few kitchen tools and gadgets on my wishlist this year.

Oh, did I mention I'm cooking for 12 tomorrow. Yes, 12 ladies! I might have stress ate a few cookies last night. I ain't mad about it either. I think as women we put way too much pressure on ourselves to make everything perfect and delicious (thank you Pinterest & Martha). Then add the healthy expectations on top....ugh. What do I make that isn't one of my typical roasted veggie bowls with shredded chicken?! I finally landed on something last night around 10 p.m. after eating a cookie (seriously though). I hope everyone likes it. I'll report back later this week with more details.

Ok, talk about a winded side note, conversation, whatever that was; without further adieu here are my top picks for the foodie or home cook in your life.

11 Gifts for Cooks
1. Every cook needs a stand mixer in their life. Or try this hand mixer? I have and use both.
2. I love my slow cooker, but this Instant Pot Pressure Cooker gives you more bang for your buck.
3. Who doesn't love pizza?! Pair this pizza crisper with all the fixings for the perfect gift.
4. I've been making tons of cookies lately and think a cooling rack would be handy.
5. For the cookie lovers, pair a cooling rack with a cookie scoop! They're a game changer.
6. We have this OXO coffee maker. It's seriously amazing and looks slick on our countertop.
7. Waffles or pancakes? For the brunch-loving folks' gift a waffle maker with this waffle mix.
8. Baby, it's cool outside and this dutch oven is perfect for making soups all winter long.
9. Do you have a health-conscious friend? This food scale is perfect!
10. A Vitamix is any foodies ultimate kitchen tool, in my humble opinion. I use mine every day!
11. Measuring spoons make an easy stocking stuffer!

There you have it 11 gifts for the cook in your life.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy December ladies and gents!

How fast did this year fly?! The first part of 2018 is shaping up nicely for our family too. Between my brother getting married in June and sister welcoming her first baby in April, it's going to be a very busy first half of the year. Not to mention I have the NorCal Masters competition in January, Crossfit Open, possibly SXSW to see my girlfriend speak, all while logging quality family time, celebrating a number of birthdays, and running a business. Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it.

Anyway, we're not there yet so let's just talk about my favorite things because it's way more fun.

Favorite Treat of the Week
Did you see the brownies I posted on Instagram yesterday? No, well I made the most delicious cake-like brownies. I should also mention they were gluten, grain and dairy free. Some would call that fun free, but they turned out pretty good. Head over to my Instagram account for more details and the recipe!

Best Purchase of the Week
So I'm kind of a diehard HydroFlask fan, but I purchased a 21oz Healthy Human Curve on Cyber Monday because it was only $19.99! Yeah, killer deal. Plus, I wanted to try out another brand. I have a Simple Modern tumbler and while it works it's not my favorite. I kind of want to pitch it and buy a HydroFlask tumbler.... just saying. Anyway, I love the way the curve feels and so far it keeps things pretty cold.

Favorite Kitchen Tool
As silly as this sounds, my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. My trusty slow cooker gets used weekly, sometimes even more. If you don't have one order one today. Soup, shredded chicken, turkey breast, chili you name it and I've probably made it using the slow cooker. I was looking at buying an Instant pot, but maybe Santa will leave it under the tree this year.

Favorite 'Healthy' Food Purchase
I love Thrive Market! It took me a while to get on board and try it out, but I'm loving it. I place an order roughly once a month. Basically, I fill up my cart as I need things and then order once I hit the $50 free shipping threshold. Products I order include Nutpods, all things Simple Mills, Amazing Grass, Thrive Brands, Siete Chips, Stasher Bags, Enjoy Life (just for the holiday season) and a few others I'm forgetting. But anyway the service is awesome if you're looking for organic/healthier options at a better price point you should sign up today and get 25% off your first order!

Best Deal of the Week
Hands down was the Healthy Human Cyber Monday deal, but it's no longer available. Backcountry.com has HydroFlask's for 25% and that's a good deal. Like this tumbler is only $18! Trust me it's a steal. This retro Patagonia Lightweight Snap-T Fleece Hooded Jacket is only $89 and black Patagonia Nano-Air Insulated Jacket is $160 marked down from $250! Oh, and I can't forget the New Balance Women's Coast V3 Running Shoes I just bought are on mega sale too.

Happy Friday! What are you doing this weekend?

Gift Guide for the Fitness Enthusiast

After covering gift ideas for the sweet toddler in your life I figured next up should be the fitness enthusiast because I'm kinda well versed in that area. The gym has become my second home. These are all items I either already own, plan to purchase, or are on my wishlist.

Poolside planks in MX

Without further adieu.

Gift Guide for the Fitness Enthusiast

Hydro Flask - Hands down the best-insulated water bottle on the market. I did purchase a Health Human during the cyber Monday sale so I'll have to report back. They are currently on MEGA  sale on REI.com, through Dec. 3, so run over there and grab one today.

Gym Bag/Backpack - The longer I CrossFit the more 'stuff' I have.... hence why a gym bag is handy. I  currently use an Ogio duffle that was gifted from Amazing Grass a few years ago. While I love it it would be nice to have a gym backpack. Especially for those summer months. I would love to ride my bike to the gym. I'm loving this and this one.

Wireless Headphones - I started running this summer and while I'm not an amazing runner I did learn a few things. Like, I really should invest in a nice pair of wireless headphones. These are definitely on my list this year.

Workout Clothes - I've said it before and I'll say it again -- you can never have enough workout clothes. I just purchased these shoes and LOVE them. While I love Lululemon gift cards my activewear wishlist includes this top, these leggings and this tank.

Lululemon Scarf - This is my go-to scarf. I received it for Christmas last year and it's on my list again this year, of course in a different color -- Heathered Herringbone Heathered Black/Black.

Cell Phone Grip & Stand - I don't know about you, but this little PopSocket looks pretty handy.

Fitbit - It's been a few years since I've owned a Fitbit and I feel like they've come a long way. Recently I've been debating on an iWatch or another Fitbit. I finally landed on the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch. It's a bit pricey, but it has all the bells and whistles I want. 

Protein Powder - Whether it's travel packs as stocking stuffers or a full-sized container under the tree it's a very pratical fit gift. Depending on the day I like Amazing Grass or Eat the Bear.

Blender Bottle - These are perfect for making all those post workout shakes. Fill the bottle with your gals favorite protein bars, etc. 

JOJO's Chocolate - Every gal I know loves chocolate and JOJO's Bark is the Bomb. Honestly, these are the perfect stocking stuffer. Make sure to use code Tiara10 for 10% off your order.

Socks - I love new socks and they make a great stocking stuffer. My go-to is Zella or Nike.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Toddler Gift Guide

Oh, the holidays. We're parents who believe less is more, but do love watching the excitement on Emerson's face every time she sees a Christmas tree. However, last night she told me Santa is scary. I get it, sitting on the lap of a man in a red suit with a big white beard is odd.

Those of you who know me know I'm a practical gift giver. I recently shared an article on my FB page titled, Please Don’t Buy My Kids More Toys. Try This Instead. This article is everything. Experiences, books or contributing to a college fund is better than a million toys [IMO]. What's your take?

With that said, we do like to have one or two things for Emerson to open on Christmas day. This year I'm focusing on toys I know will expand her mind.

Books - Children can never have too many books. This year I'm planning on wrapping 24 books so she can open one a night from December 1-24. I think A Thousand Billion Things (And Some Sheep) is a super cute book to give as a gift to any little boy or girl.

Tea Set - Emerson LOVES her play kitchen, as well as helping mom in the kitchen. Adding pieces to her kitchen will help keep this tiny foodie's imagination fueled.

Toy Kitchen Mixer - Emerson recently discovered the art of making cookies. She always wants to make chocolate chip cookies or muffins with mom. So I'm pretty sure she would be excited to have her own mixer.

Best Friends Magnetic Dress-Up Dolls Set - Emerson loves dolls and this is a simple way for her to play dress up. Remember she's only 3. It also seems like it would make for a great road trip toy.

My Little Town Sticker Activity Set - Stickers are also a big hit and this sticker book is perfect.

Magformers - We bought Emerson Magaformers last year and they were a big hit. She uses her imagination to "build houses."

Blue Orange USA Games Pengoloo Memory Game - I feel like Emerson is at the age where we can start to introduce simple games. I think this would be a fun one to start with.

Clothes - Our girl is set on clothes however come spring she'll need a pair of rain boots. Emerson loves rain boots with loops so she can pull them on herself. Every year we buy her a puffy and while she already has one for this winter how cute is this PATAGONIA Down Sweater Jacket!?

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Our Non-Traditional Thanksgiving in Mexico

Happy Tuesday Gals!

Cyber Week is still going strong. I'm trying not to buy all the things I don't need...the struggle is real. Before I dive into all gift guide related posts I wanted to take a moment and recap our Thanksgiving in Mazatlan, Mexico. I'm not going to lie while traveling with kids is hard our trip was awesome. Not having to cook, clean or stress about anything was a nice change of pace.


Yeah, we missed out on a Thanksgiving feast, but I'm not sad about it. Anyway, it was our year to spend Thanksgiving with Nick's family so we spent the week with his parents, sister, and nephew. Emerson loved all the quality time, especially with her papa.


We spent a fair amount of time poolside but ventured down to the beach in the morning when it wasn't as crowded. Can you tell she loves the beach!


Emerson LOVED swimming around and couldn't wait to jump in. So you could say that we lived in our swimsuits....it's the only way when on vacation right?


I managed to get in daily poolside workouts, before partaking in a skinny margarita. But honestly, I didn't even drink every day and only had 1-2 drinks when I did. It's called balance people.


The guys golfed and the ladies shopped. While shopping we stumbled on the cutest little tasting room, Onilikan. We sampled a few liqueurs and dried fruits. And no there weren't any tequila shots.


We were able to walk to a number of restaurants.  A few places we loved were Mary's for breakfast, Rico's to keep the coffee addiction alive, Gus Gus for the best shrimp, Panchos (on the beach) for views and Los Zarapes for dinner!


The sunsets were magical. No filter needed here.


We had a blast and would highly recommend traveling to Mexico for Thanksgiving!

P.S. I hope to get a post up about balancing macros, drinking and holiday/travel soon. Because life is about balance and it's ok to enjoy a drink now and then.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Best of Cyber Monday Sales

Hello, Ladies!

Did you miss me? We're back from Mexico... sorry I was too busy last week soaking in the sun and family time to worry about Black Friday deals. Plus, Cyber Monday (cough, week) is way better. Did you brave the crowds this weekend or did you shop from the comfort of your couch? And yes this blogger took a week off during the Holidays, WHAT?!


Ok, so let's talk about where I plan on shopping today and what I'm buying.

Target - This should just be a given. I mean Target is awesome and if you haven't heard they have discounts on discounts. Like an extra 15% off your entire online order + free shipping. I plan on purchasing Emerson a snowsuit (pants/jacket/boots) for preschool, this bookcase, and rug.  I'm also loving this accent chair which is under $100 shipped!

Serena & Lily - The entire store is 25% off with code BESTDAY. I'm eying this gingham duvet cover. It would be great for layering. I also love their throw pillows.

TOMS - We love TOMS and their entire site is 25% off today with code THANKFUL. Emerson needs these CANDY CANE GLITTER PARTY TINY TOMS MARY JANES. How cute are they!

Minted - Everything is 25% off with code CM2017. If you haven't ordered your Holiday cards now is the time!

Amazon - Duh, like target you better believe I'm shopping on Amazon. Don't tell the hubby, but I might have purchased an Instant Pot, oh and this water bottle because I'm a sucker and it's only $19.99 with code HHMONDAY.

Hydro Flask - Speaking of water bottles my favorite insulated water bottle is 25% off with code HYDRO-25; plus free shipping if you buy two!

LOFT - They're offering 50% the entire store + free shipping, with code CLICK. Now that's worth ordering a few pieces online. I'm eying this sweater!

Abercrombie & Finch - Another killer deal, 50% off + free shipping. I'm loving this plaid top and mock neck cable sweater.

Best Deals on protein - 35% off Healthy Skoop with code SKOOPMON; 40% off + free shipping on all Amazing Grass orders, with code FRIDAY40; 30-40% off depending on how much you spend on Eat the Bear products

Best Chocolate Stocking Stuffer -  20% off JOJOs Chocolate + free shipping

Wayfair - Everything is on sale. I'm bought this bed frame, in millennial pink, for Emerson and want this rug for under our couch.


What are you shopping for? FYI - I'll be updating this post as the day goes on. Happy shopping!



Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy and Healthy all Winter with Nature Made

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NatureMadeVitaminD #CollectiveBias

Hello, my name is Tiara and I'm the smoothie drinking, soup making, supplement taking, CrossFit addict behind this blog. Stick around for awhile and you'll get a healthy dose of all things yummy, healthy and random. Yup, that's me a nutshell.

Running my own business (and I'm not talking about this blog) means I'm always working. Which means I can't really afford to take a sick day. I've always believed if you fuel your body with good nutritious food your body will be good to you.

It's even more imperative to eat right, drink plenty of water, take our vitamins (90% of US population do not meet their daily vitamin D needs1) and get plenty of sleep as we enter into the holiday season and winter months.


Yesterday it poured all day at our house, but luckily it snowed on the mountain. While I'm not sure how I feel about winter knocking on our door, I am ready for heartier winter meals. I don't know about you, but when the temps start to change I start craving heartier dishes. However, I'm all about giving traditional winter meals a healthy twist. Like this Chicken Tortilla Soup, I recently made. 

 

This dish will not disappoint. It's a healthy but filling. My husband requests it regularly.

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Serves 6-8

Ingredients 
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
15 oz. corn
15 oz. diced tomatoes (regular or with green chilies)
5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Toppings:  Cheese, Avocado, Tortilla chips and fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions 
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Before serving, remove chicken breasts and shred. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and stir. Divide among bowls and top with cheese, avocado and tortilla chips (break with your hands to make big crumbs). Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Even though it's winter you'll still find me enjoying a massive salad for lunch. However, now it might include seasonal veggies like sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.


Regarding vitamins, here's my take, if they work for you then awesome but don't knock it until you try it. I personally take a Multivitamin, Collagen, Turmeric and Vitamin D daily. I have reasons why I take each, but today I want to dive into Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is synthesized by the skin when we’re exposed to sunlight during certain times of the day and year, and can also be found in a limited number of natural and fortified foods sources. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and vitamin D supports bone, teeth, muscle and immune system health.†

Nature Made® offers several levels of Vitamin D at Walmart, including Nature Made® Vitamin D3 2000IU Tablet and Nature Made® Vitamin D3 5000IU Softgel. The 5000IU high dose product is intended for those deficient in Vitamin D as determined and recommended by their physician.

When you take vitamin D from Nature Made, you can rest assured that you’re getting quality vitamins from the #1 Pharmacist Recommended Vitamin and Supplement Brand - based on a survey of pharmacists who recommend branded vitamins and supplements.

Do you take Vitamin D? FYI, I purchased these vitamins at Walmart near the pharmacy section.


† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

1 Fulgoni V, et al. Foods, Fortificants, and Supplements: Where do Americans get their nutrients? J of Nutrition 2011;141:1847-1854.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Friday Favorites


Yeah, I know it's technically Thursday, but I have a sponsored post tomorrow... so there's that. With that said, instead of changing the name or skipping it all together I just decided I'll post today. Hey, it's my space which means I get to do what I want, right?!

While life is crazier than ever there are two things you can count on me being consistent with, healthy living and Friday Favorites! Without further ado here are all the things I'm loving, eating, or buying!

Favorite Treat of the Week
These Chocolate Chip Cookies. I made them for ice cream sandwiches, but I prefer them all alone. They are seriously the most delish cookies and I think you should make them for Santa this year. You're welcome.

Favorite Kitchen Tool
OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop! People this is a cookie making game changer and with all the holiday cookies you'll likely be baking in the coming weeks you'll want one! You'll thank me later. As basic as this sounds, I love my slow cooker. When life gets busy my Hamilton Beach Programmable Slow Cooker saves my family from eating out more often than not. I'm not kidding when I say I use it weekly.

Favorite Internet Deals of the week
I finally purchased a decent blow dryer and wow it makes a big difference! I was in the market because mine died on me mid blowout.... don't let that happen to you. I've always just purchased a blowdryer from TjMaxx, or the like. Since I was tired of recently it every two years or so I decided to spend some money and invest in a blow dryer. Anyway, I love it and it's currently on sale and has a free gift with purchase (online and in-store). I purchased the Hot Tools Tourmaline IONIC Professional Dryer ($79) and received a Styling wand free! Here's the gist, FREE Styling Tool with any $39.99 Hot Tools Styling Tool purchase (offer valid 10/22/17-12/30/17 or while supplies last).

Best Purchase of the Week
OK, ladies when was the last time you were fitted for a bra. Even better, when was the last time you purchased a new bra?! Yeah, it has been nearly TWO years for me. Let's just say my bra hasn't fit properly in a long time (aka it's WAY too big). When I went to Victoria Secret the other day I walked straight to a sales gal and explained my situation. After we determined my size, I told her the type of bras I like, and TA-DA I was trying on 3 different options and purchased two of those styles. I was in and out in 20 minutes! Best bra shopping experience ever and the girls are much happier. What did I buy? I purchased this Front-close Bralette in black and blush (currently on sale for $15; purchased a small) and this Perfect Shape Full Coverage Bra in almost new, because I'm basic like that. I should note, while it says full coverage it's more of a medium coverage demi bra. I should be good for a few years now, hahaha.

Favorite 'Healthy' Food Product
I use the term healthy loosely because truly how healthy are protein bars. However, they are a great grab and go option. I always pack bar when I'm traveling because you never know. Personally, I typically grab a Perfect Bar (only when I have extra fat to spare) or an RX bar, but recently I discovered Think Thin bars. Yeah, yeah you're probably thinking I'm late to the game, but have you tried the latest seasonal flavor, Dark Chocolate Peppermint?! Yup, game charger. Macros are on point at 19c/5f/10p making it tasty afternoon snack or treat.

What are you currently loving?!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!

Without sounding like a broken record, there's just not enough time in the day/week. Seriously, though. This time of year is jam-packed and I'm starting to feel like I'm spreading myself thin, in all aspects of my life. Although that's life hopefully, it will slow down soon. The upside is my small little business is growing at rapid speed and sometimes I feel like my business partner and I need to hire an assistant or clone ourselves. Enough work chit-chat, let's dive into what I'm digging this week!

Soup Weather
Yesterday was a rainy day and the hubs requested Chicken Tortilla Soup. It gave me the perfect excuse to use the slow cooker. This is the third soup I've made in the last few weeks. There's just something to be said about a warm soup on a cold day. What's your favorite soup?

Best Internet Deals of the Week 
All things Patagonia are on sale on BackCountry.com. I'm digging this, this and this fleece which is only $77! Oh, Target you did it again. I recently purchased this National Tree 3 Foot Hickory Cedar Tree with 50 Clear Lights ($33 from Amazon) and these, these and these ornaments from Target. While the Christmas stuff isn't on sale, home items are currently up to 30% off and with code HERO you'll receive an additional 15% off select home items through Monday. I snagged this Lanham Marble Top Side Table - Threshold™ for $46, at checkout!

Christmas Shopping
Have you checked our inbox lately? I'm sure it's full of emails promoting sale after sale. Like many Americans, I too have started my Christmas shopping, but we do things a little different with our families. For the adults, we do secret Santa through Elfster and then buy for the kids. We also ask our extended families to limit the gifts purchased for Emerson and contribute to her college fund instead. Yes, we are those parents. When it comes to buying Emerson gifts, it's usually limited to a big gift, PJs, and books. Nothing more. I believe in less is more. I recently read, Why You Should Give Your Kids Exactly 3 Gifts For Christmas — No More, No Less and it only confirmed our process. What's your take on gift giving? Trust me the child doesn't go without.

Favorite Kitchen Tool
Any guesses? It gets used daily. Yup, the coffee maker! We have the OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker and it's amazing. We've been using it for over a year ago and still love it! It's worth the price.

Favorite Supplement
Collagen! I started taking collagen in July and have noticed a difference in my hair, nails, and joints. My friends and hairdresser have even noticed a change in my hair. #thinhairgains I use either youtheory Collagen Advanced Formula 1, 2 and 3 or Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides daily. Do you swear by collagen too?

Your turn. What are you loving?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

How to Create a Simple Tablescape

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DIYHolidayWithSCJ #CollectiveBias


I can hardly believe Halloween was last week and Thanksgiving and Christmas are just a few weeks away! Where did 2017 go!? With that said, it’s time to start decorating. I skipped Halloween and went right for Thanksgiving. Ok, maybe my decor covers Fall all together, but who’s counting.


If you’ve been following this blog, for any amount of time, then you know I have a tendency to keep things simple. The extent of my holiday decorating includes a festive mantle, tablescape, and door wreath. I truly believe less is more.


When Nick and I decided to host a Friendsgiving this year I figured it was time to start prepping the house (aka, deep cleaning). Oh, and bust out that fall decor.


Now that our kitchen has been remodeled I feel it’s the perfect space for entertaining. Big windows, farm table and island for hosting a fair amount of friends. Did I mention the space is super easy to clean too? I’ve found I can clean the space using only three products, Windex® Original Glass Cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles® Fantastik® Heavy Duty and Pledge® Lemon Clean. With these three products up my sleeve the kitchen and dining room area is clean in 30 minutes or less!

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Be on the lookout for Pledge® product promotions on display in Home Depot stores 11/1/17 through 1/31/18!


So how can I clean my kitchen so fast?  Let me break it down by product.


-  Thanks to its patented ingredient, Ammonia-D®, Windex® Original Glass Cleaner starts working on dirt and grime even before you wipe.
- Pledge® Lemon Clean can be used on furniture all around the house to quickly clean, condition and protect –all while leaving behind the classic, fresh lemon Pledge® scent. It also features Allergen Trappers® to remove dust and up to 90 percent of the allergens found in dust.
- Scrubbing Bubbles® Fantastik® Heavy Duty All-purpose cleaner and degreaser removes grease, grime, soap scum and other household soils. Plus, the powerful anti-bacterial formula cleans and disinfects a variety of household surfaces, including counters, stoves, microwaves, etc.  


Like I said, I only need 3 products to clean my house! Once I’m done cleaning comes the fun part decorating!


How to Create a Simple Tablescape

1. Choose a Color Scheme - Since I have a farm table I decided to stick to traditional Fall colors.
2. Choose a Theme - I focused more on Fall vs. Thanksgiving.
3. Create Layers - Whether it’s a tablecloth, runner or dishware adding these various elements will add depth.
4. Add Texture - If you look closely I used real pumpkins, burlap pumpkins (to play off the runner) and glass pumpkins. While all are different they worked well together.
5. Create a Focal Point - This can be candles, one big centerpiece, etc. I chose to anchor the table with two large glass pumpkins.



While it’s only October my tablescape will work through Thanksgiving dinner! Do you decorate for all the holidays? Have any tips or tricks you would like to share?


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All the products used to prep/clean my house can be found at Home Depot! For additional Fall ideas, click HERE.


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Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Favorites


TGIF! After yesterday's honest and raw post I figured I would keep things a little light-hearted today. Because why not?!

Favorite Meal - TURKEY STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
I've been experimenting with dinner lately. Basically trying to figure out how to be more creative with meals while hitting my numbers. Dinner last night was amazing! Basically thanksgiving in a bowl. My modifications included using two acorn squash and cutting the olive oil in half.

Favorite Purchase - MODERN UNPICKED BUTTON FLY SKINNY JEANS
I've been living in them for the last week. I'm in the midst of revamping my closet so I would love to know what you're currently loving.

Favorite Sweet Treat -  JOJO's
If you follow me on Instagram then you know I love this stuff. Well, I recently joined their ambassador team which is a win for me and you! Use discount code TIARA10 for 10% off any purchase anytime!

Favorite Workout Apparel on Sale
NIKE Sports Bra ($38) and NIKE Power cropped running Leggings ($55) + an additional 20% off both items with code: SAVEBIG; LOU & GREY FORM INLINE TANK ($31.50 at checkout no code necessary); Zella High Waist Lattice Midi Leggings ($39), Power Splice Crop Leggings ($35) and Cozy Mock Neck Pullover

Favorite Kitchen Tool Le Creuset Cookware
This shouldn't be a surprise since heartier foods come with Fall/winter. my Le Creuset gets used almost weekly from October to March.  I personally have a Le Creuset Signature Cast-Iron Round Dutch Oven and feel it was money well spent. I also have a few Le Creuset spatulas and LOVE them. Again, money well spent.

Ok, your turn. What are you currently loving?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Relationship with Food and Thoughts on Counting Macros

Writing about weight loss is harder than I thought. Maybe it's because I didn't think I had any weight to lose, or maybe because it's not a story about weight loss, but a story about gaining a new perceptive on food, fitness, and self-image. Anyway, this is my story.

2016 vs 2017
Sometimes I sit and look at this space and don't even know where to start. Food, fitness or fun. I mean it's easy to pop in and share our latest adventure and what I'm eyeing, buying or making. What's hard is writing those truthful posts. Maybe I'm fearful you won't like it, the internet trolls will come knocking, or I can't articulate what I'm thinking. With that said, today I'm diving deeper and sharing my relationship with food and what I've learned about myself and my relationship with food since I started counting Macros.

First things first, I LOVE food -- especially all things in a treat form (i.e., cookies, ice cream, etc.). However, I'm not a donut person (gasp... I know). Now that we got that out of the way, my relationship with food has been an interesting one. I kind of always ate what I wanted, when I wanted it and didn't care.  Growing up I played sports, so I never had to worry. Same thing during college, so I never gained the freshman 15. It wasn't until post-college I really started watching what I ate the pounds crept up. One day I found myself unhappy, working 50+ hour weeks, and nearly 150 pounds. OK, I know that's not a lot, but when you're barely 5"4' it is. Especially when you have "fat genes" in your family. The thought of being fat scares me. Yup, my food and body image issues are serious, but I've learned how to work through them over the years.


Moving to Tahoe I lost the weight because I ditched the desk job and became more active. As I've aged I needed to really start watching my food choices. Over the last 5ish years I've tried zone, paleo, clean eating, intuitive eating, etc. and while they all worked they weren't something I could sustain long-term. After a while, I just went back to old habits. Over the years, along with my weight, my body composition and self-image has fluctuated. Don't get me wrong I've always been a healthy eater, but it was overeating and poor food choices (aka sweets and alcohol) that always did me in.

Enter Crossfit and the 80/20 rule and life was grand. Basically, I just indulged on the weekends, but like everything else I plateaued. Late June, after seeing numerous friends with amazing results, I decided to hire a nutrition coach and start counting macros. Guess what?! It's now 20 weeks later and I'm still tracking macros because it's a lifestyle, not a diet. Also known as "flexible eating." To-date, I'm down 16 pounds and 3" in my waist! Not only do I have more energy in the gym, I'm PRing, recovering quicker, and am overall stronger.
A 15 week and 15-pound difference

What I've learned mentally counting macros.
 - You can have your cake and eat it too! It truly is flexible eating. Basically, you have a daily budget of carbs, fats, and proteins and it's up to you how to spend it. So as long as you plan on it, you can enjoy a cupcake, etc.
- It's ok to have off days. It's the off weeks that will hinder progress.
- Not everyone will understand and you don't have to apologize for it.
- If you can get through the first few weeks it becomes second nature.
- If I physically feel good, then I'll mentally feel good. This, in turn, makes me a better wife and mother.
- While I look at food as fuel, it should and can taste good.
- You make your own choices.
- You will inspire others, but it's not for everyone.
- I have more discipline than I thought.
- I never felt as though I was depriving myself and didn't find myself wanting to binge eat.

What happened physically when I started counting macros?
- I lost fat and gained muscle
- I lost inches everywhere
- Less inflammation
- Even better sleep (I've always been a good sleeper)
- Increased energy
- Increased strength
- Overall change in body composition
- Improved complexion (maybe because I started drinking more water)

I'm sure I'm missing a few points above, but those are my biggest takeaways.

Before I started counting macros I was a total binge eater. I would be so "good" for days/weeks and then would just eat and eat. Which isn't good. Now I'm eating more food daily and I'm over 15 pounds lighter. Think about that for a minute.

I'm passionate about sharing my story in hopes that it will inspire others. I know I shared a lot and not a lot today. Let me know what you would like me to tackle next in regards to macros/healthy living.