Wednesday, August 14

VEGAN Skincare & VEGAN Makeup!

Sunday, August 11

A secret to vibrant health....

We all want to be healthy and we strive for it in different ways. Covering all our bases is essential to get that glowing skin, those high energy levels and that great feeling of being satisfied in your own body. After all, it is our temple!

Something I have discovered along my health and fitness journey is the wonderful benefits of smoothies. And no, I'm not talking about smoothies from fast food joints....I'm talking about home made healthfood smoothies! They are great because you can get creative and they can even be healthy meal replacements if you're trying to slim down.

Today I got home from the gym and was craving something that would help detoxify me after a sweaty workout and there's no better way to detox than from the inside out!

Personally I find that I don't eat enough dark leafy greens so I sneak them into my smoothies! It adds concentrated nutrients to my smoothie and really doesn't alter the taste very much. 

"Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, probably the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats."

I like buying organic whenever possible so when these went on sale I stocked up! Organic fruits and vegetables are much higher in nutrients than their counterparts and also you don't have to be concerned with pesticides and other unhealthy chemicals.

RAW Garden of Life products are great! I choose to buy plant based protein because I feel it is easy for my body to digest. 

You can purchase RAW Garden of Life products at many vitamin stores or here: 

Thanks for reading and happy health!

Friday, August 9

Vegan Chocolate and Zucchini Cake!

This cake is one of my all time favorites and I'm so excited to share the recipe with you guys!

I have started eating a *mostly* vegan diet (I can't resist seafood!) and I love how creative vegan dishes are, especially deserts. This cake is moist, delicious and healthy (compared to store-bought options that is!)

It takes some time, but I promise you it's worth it if you do each step right! My kitchen was a disaster after but I happily washed the dishes because I know how decadent the end result is.

Below are the ingredients and the directions.

I recommend serving it with fruit, either blueberries or blackberries as they really bring out the flavor of the cake!

Thanks for reading lovelies!

For Cake:
2 cups Whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup Unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 cup Light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Instant coffee powder
1.5 bananas (to replace 3 eggs)
4 Tablespoons Water
1/4 cup Soy Milk
2 cups Zucchini, grated
1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips

For Topping:
3 Tablespoons Light brown sugar
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 360F/180c for 15 minutes.

  2. Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan. You can use cocoa instead of flour.

  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour,cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  4. Mash the bananas. Once mashed, add the water and mix together.

  5. In a medium bowl add oil, applesauce, sugars, vanilla extract and coffee powder. Using a hand mixer beat the mixture at a medium speed for 3-5 minutes.

  6. Add the banana liquid and mix. Now also add the milk and beat until well combined.

  7. Reserving half a cup of the flour mixture, add slowly the remaining flour to the wet ingredients, while beating it in at a low speed. Combine the grated zucchini, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of flour. Add this to the batter and mix it well. Note that the batter is thick at this stage. So don’t worry.

  8. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and smooth it out using a spatula.

  9. Prepare the topping by mixing the brown sugar and almonds. Sprinkle this mixture evenly on the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Friday, July 19

How to survive deployment with a new baby!

Many of you may know who I am. 

You probably see the photo at the top of my blog and think to yourself, she's a military wife. 

But what does that mean? 

And why would you care to know any more than that anyway?

Because we, the military families are the ones who sacrifice along side our american soldiers-

 but never earn any medals and never earn rank in the united states military.

Spouses choose this life because they fell in love with a man, a hero who happens to be a US soldier.

When you meet the love of your life you won't allow anything to separate you from them....

except war.

And if we, spouses had any say you know we would hug our soldier tight and say, NO, you cannot take him. our dreams.

I have been a military wife for almost 5 years now and have learned so much along the way.

I have learned how to become more extroverted and reach out to people.

I have learned that nothing in life stays the same so you might as well embrace it all.

I remember when I was pregnant and I KNEW that my husband would not be there for the birth of our first child...

I searched and searched the internet for advice about how to survive deployment with a newborn. How to deal with all of the emotions. It wasn't easy and I never found any advice I made a video all about to survive deployment. 

So here's my video, I hope it inspires some of you fellow military wives to get outside of your comfort zone. And PLEASE leave a comment if you want to talk about anything!

Thanks for reading & watching!

Nails on a budget!

So I'm all about having cute nails, and what girlie girl isn't?? 

But I'm also all about saving MONEY! And as you probably know, Essie (one of the best nail polishes) is $8 a bottle. And for me that is a little pricey! So here's a great option for all you lovely ladies out there who are on a budget!

Cover Girl outlast nail polish...It stays on great and is super pigmented! As don't have to apply 10 layers to get the color on the bottle. 

I love these little gems. I got these both, 2 for $5 at my local walgreens. And if you're super frugal like me, ask your cashier if they have any coupons for beauty products. This always works for me at Walgreens!

Thanks for reading, loves!

Friday, July 12

Flawless Face :: Neutral Natural

If you're anything like me then you have tried just about every brand of foundation out there. You name it and I've probably tried it. I don't know how much make up I have gone through trying to find the right formula. I have tried some of the most expensive brands available at sephora (NARS, Laura Mercier, etc) and I still find myself coming back to the Clinique Acne Solutions liquid foundation. 

To me the most important job of any foundation is to STAY on my face. Not just for 20 minutes, I mean, all day. If you have oily or combination skin, I highly recommend going to your nearest Clinique counter and asking for a sample, or for them to try it on your skin. It has a natural finish and covers extremely well. I ran out the other day and couldn't' wait to get to the mall and buy another bottle. Plus, it's under $30!
Love Clinique!

I've put together my little routine below. I like an easy natural-ish look. Having an infant crawling around I don't have that much time to make myself over in the morning, but I want to look put together. These items are my MUST HAVES in my beauty routine. 

As I've posted in my instagram, if you don't know how to highlight and contour or just don't have the time then I recommend investing in the

         Korres Magic Light Contouring Trio

It is simply amazing. Just use an angled brush and keep your strokes symmetrical. I will do a video tutorial when I get time, of my current foundation/makeup routine. 

Lastly, if you love a nude lip as much as I do then go to your nearest MAC counter and purchase their Creme de Nude lipstick... It's my favorite lipstick in my whole makeup collection. Perfect for fair skin tones like myself!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 28

Everyday face!

When it comes to makeup, I gravitate towards brands that have the most natural ingredients. Of course the most natural way to go would be without makeup...but I am not one of those girls! I am the kind of girl who cannot leave my house without at least a *little* bit of makeup on. I am hoping to build my confidence to a point where I CAN leave the house without it; but I'm not there yet.

I am a huge fan of the new bare minerals compact! I love the coverage it provides and I also don't find that I am wasting product like before when I used their loose powder makeup. I use ecotools brushes also because they are pretty good quality at an affordable price!

The UD (urban decay) is a makeup setting spray that works incredibly well. I never used a spray like this but I guarantee you, once you try it you will wonder why you didn't try it sooner! It makes it so you do NOT have to reapply makeup for 12+ hours. It's worth the $

I never want to have a 'cake-face' and hate feeling like I'm wearing too much makeup. Wearing a tinted moisturizer with some mineral powder over it gives me just enough coverage to cover uneven skin tone without making me feel like I'm wearing a ton of makeup.

Everyday face

Wednesday, January 16

Abigail's Birth :: September 26, 2012

After waiting 9 long months, our baby girl was finally ready to come earthside. The night before she was born I checked into the hospital where they inserted some cervidil to help soften my cervix. The next morning they started pitocin around 6am and broke my water around 1 or 2, I can't remember. After they broke my water, I started feeling real pain for the first time. They told me that since there was no longer a lot of water surrounding my baby that the contractions would feel a lot stronger, and they were not joking! I wish I could remember the little details more clearly... I don't remember when exactly that I got an epidural...but I definitely got one and am so thankful that I did. I wasn't completely numb but it made it bearable. 

When I was getting the epidural, Ashton called via Skype all the way from Afghanistan. He had left about 6 days before that. The days leading up to his departure were awful. I had spent the weeks before then walking, lunging, bouncing on my yoga ball and doing everything I could to encourage babygirl to come early. I walked around the neighborhood every single day, in 80 degree weather trying desperately to go into labor so that Ashton could be there for our first child's birth. It broke my heart to think of him missing it...and he did. Looking back, I think it was more difficult to anticipate his absence. After he had left it was a little bit easier because I knew the hardest part was over; saying goodbye (for 9 months). 

During the epidural, I almost passed out. I think it was because I had been laying down and suddenly sitting upright made me feel faint. I was shaking from the pain and wanted that epidural more than anything. To be honest I can't even remember any pain from the actual insertion of the epidural....either way, it was nothing compared to the pain of those contractions. I really commend women who go all natural!

So my water broke around 1 or 2 and after a while my contractions picked up so they were back to back. The picture below explains what went on in the moments right before my beautiful girl entered the world:

So yeah, I pushed for less than 30 minutes. In fact, the doctor walked in (he had to drive from his office down the street) JUST in time to deliver Abigail. I progressed really quickly and my body actually started pushing for me. It was a feeling I will never forget. I pushed, and pushed, and put every ounce of my concentration into pushing her out because I just wanted to see her beautiful face so badly...

Rebecca (pictured above) is my best friend. She is the most amazing friend and person. I wish I could find the words to accurately portray how amazing she really is. You can ask her just about anything and she will have an answer for you. She is so caring and is not afraid to tell you whats up. I love her like a sister. So anyway, she flew from Mississippi to Kansas just to be with me and help me before, during, and after having Abby. She was in the room when she was born, and watched Abigail enter the world. I'm pretty sure that she was the first to hold her after me. Having Becca there made everything so awesome, when it could have been so much worse. I had been dreading giving birth without my husband, but I don't think I could have asked for anything more. 

It really was the best birth experience I could have wished for. 

Above, I was trying to figure out why I couldn't see Ashton on the screen....yeah, I was pretty upset. He called about 20 minutes after she was born. I was SO excited for him to 'see' Abigail and the damn computer was being a bastard...

^ But finally he did...and I will never forget it. His tears made me cry. It was a beautiful moment. 

We, had become three.

My friend who is also an amazing photographer came to my room right before Abigail was born. Talk about amazing timing! She had never experienced a birth before this, and she did an amazing job. I have these photos to cherish forever. 

The next morning we got to go home...I wasn't in any pain. I was barely even sore which shocked me so much, because I expected to be like, bedridden. But I was amazingly energized and refreshed. I can't think of anything better in life than being a Mother. 

In a few short months Ashton will be home from his third deployment and will meet his daughter for the very first time. She will be around 9 months old and I cannot wait. It is going to be just as amazing as the day she was born. 

Monday, September 24

1st Care Package ::: Deployment

Since my husband cannot have any open flame or plug in things, I decided to get the Glade scent diffuser. It automatically sprays when someone walks by and only requires 2 AA batteries. He also requested some gatorade powder so I also threw in some lipton ice tea powder too. Plain water has got to get old quick! Also got him a body pillow because I remember he always tried to steal I think he will like that. It may seem strange but I also got him some antibiotic cream which I think is always a good thing to have on hand. Next to that are some eye drops (he had eye surgery about a year ago) and some hand sanitizer. 

Next package will be all about our new baby!! 

Saturday, September 22

September 26, 2012!

Unless baby girl decides to come early, she will make her appearance this Wednesday! I will be 40 weeks and 4 days....I am so excited to be a Mommy! I really can't believe it is only days away....

ahhh!! :-D 

Friday, September 21

People are amazing

I have been so overwhelmed by people lately in such a good way....

From girls driving by in their cars yelling "love your bump!"
to fellow army wives coming to mow my lawn for free
to the lady from the dmv who sent me a card thanking me for our sacrifices as a military family

to getting a wonderful prenatal massage from a fellow Mamma and friend
and a pedicure and baby outfit from the best boss I've ever had

 to getting free professional newborn photos of our highly anticipated baby girl 
and getting offered free professional photos during labor and delivery
getting tons of advice and offerings from fellow mothers 

to the much needed phone calls early in the morning from my best friend on her way to class
(preventing me from a emotional breakdown without even knowing it)

to my best friend's best friend and fellow Mother who I've never met in person who is sending me a gift for Abby all the way from Indiana
to a fellow mother who once did my hair when I first moved to Kansas who turned out to become a dear friend and has offered her help before and after Abby is born...

to my other best friend for taking off two weeks of work to come be with me and help with baby and distract me from the hardest thing I've ever had to do (see Ashton off right before our first child is born) & remind me of what an incredible friendship we share

and to my friend for sacrificing time with her family to come be with all the way from new york to come be with me after baby is born
and baby gifts from a friend in Texas who I haven't seen since high school
...a dresser and closet full of new baby girl clothes from two wonderful parents....

....and the encouraging messages from people who I have either: A) never met physically, or B) Not spoken to in years....

Not to mention the daily encounters from people being so lovely and kind...
I just cannot express how amazing you all are and how much these things mean to me.

I feel like amazing things are happening all around me, and at the same time, the most difficult things. Maybe that is what needs to be. 

"Love is the cure
for your pain will keep giving birth to more pain
until your eyes constantly exhale love
as effortlessly as your body yields it's scent"

Non stress test :: 39 weeks

Fetal non stress test :: Baby girl is healthy as can be!


Last 2 weeks of pregnancy

The left photo is me at 38 weeks and the right is at 40! Quite the change in 2 weeks!

How far along?  40 weeks!  It's Abigail Sophia Marie is due date today!!

Total weight gain/measurements: 27lbs!  

Maternity clothes: Nothing new as I think at this time it would be silly BUT I will say that I am getting fed up with wearing the same three outfits over and over again...argh!!

Stretch marks: None that I can see! Using Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks and haven't gotten anymore as of yet. Photo below!

Sleep: Good.  I probably should be getting a bit more each night though...just in case ;)  I don't want to be tired going into labour!

Best moment this week: Having one of my best friends here to be my birth partner....She is amazing. I would really have been a mess this week without her (my husband just deployed..)

Miss anything? All of my pre-pregnancy clothes! :(  There are so many outfits I haven't seen in months...sigh! 

Movement: Yep, very fluid movements now.  

Food cravings: sweets!

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope!

Gender:  Girl!

Labour signs: Lot's of braxton hicks. Lost my mucus plug about a week ago, and lost what looked to be my bloody show about 3 days ago. No contractions that I've noticed (I don't know what they feel like just yet...) Lot's of nesting going on here too!

Symptoms: Lightening crotch...shooting pains down my vaj! Feeling like I have to pee all the time. 

Feeling tired mixed with having short bursts of energy

Belly button in or out? Neither....but it's not an innie anymore!

Wedding rings on or off? Off :(

Happy or moody most of the time: Impatient & ready to meet my baby girl!

Looking forward to: Meeting Abigail and hearing or seeing Ashton's reaction to seeing her face for the first time!

Due today!

Baby Abigail is due today but I am pretty sure she must be comfy in there... No signs of labor just yet. Being induced in 4 days, so this may just be our last belly photo! 

Oh and yes, I am absent a wedding ring because it won't fit anymore :(  

Hopefully she comes before I have to be induced. Last time I was checked I was 2 cm dilated and have had a couple signs of labor being close but no contractions just yet. 

Wish us luck on a smooth and healthy delivery!

Friday, September 14

The Silent Ranks

I wear no uniforms, no blues or greens.
But, I am in the military, in the ranks rarely seen.
I have no rank upon my shoulders. Salutes I do not give.
But in the military world is where I live and am rarely seen.
I am not in the chain of command, orders I do not give or get.
But my husband is the one who does, this I can not forget.
I am not the one who fires a weapon, Who puts his life on the line.
But my job is just as tough, I’m the one who is always left behind.
My husband is a patriot, a brave and pride filled man.
And the call to serve his country not all can understand.
Behind the lines, I see things needed to keep this country free.
My husband makes the sacrifice, but so do my kids and me.
I love the man I married. The military is his life.
So I pledge to support my hero and stand among the silent ranks known as

Wednesday, September 12

The soldier's life

The soldiers life is not for all
A soldier must be willing to give his all
He is overworked and underpaid
A truer patriot was never made
Ready to go at any time
Wherever there is trouble or the first sign
His courage and honor are unsurpassed
Ready and willing to complete the task
Travelling to lands both near and far
He stands his post and looks at the stars
Wondering what he might have done 
If he had not chosen to carry a gun
Remember the next time that you are driving by
And see the flag flying proud and high
That somewhere out there a soldier stands
Weary and cold in a foreign land
Protecting our country from our foes
Standing tall and proud come rain or snow.

Poem: Strong Love

It amazes me how one man
has truly changed my life
so that now my only goal
is to be his wife.

He may never know
the incredible depth of my love,
but everyday I will try and show him
what it is truly made of.

It's a mixture of respect,
passion and learned lessons.
It is constant, and it is growing;
It is far beyond obsession.

It is gratitude and thanks
for all that he has shown me,
and it is an obligation to become
all that he knows I can be.

Most of all it is the faith
I hold deep inside my heart
that he will know this love is with him
every time we are apart.

With each day that passes
I hope that someday he'll see
this love that I have for him
is stronger than the love I have for me.

The memories that we've made
are the roots of our past.
They are so very important to me
because they will always last.

They keep me hanging on
when he has to go away,
and I hope that's what he turns to also
when he's having a lonely day.

I do not think he will ever know
the respect I have for him,
or how much I admire the drive
he has to protect his fellow men.

Looming Deployment

I wish more than anything that I could just freeze time...

The love of my life is leaving soon, and I wont see him for 39 weeks.

Anyone who has gone through a deployment of a loved one, especially their significant other can testify to the emotional upheaval it causes. But I have a real american hero as a husband, and I couldn't be any more proud of that. He is everything to me and I will keep the home fires burning until he comes home. 

...until he comes home. 

Tuesday, September 11

38.3 weeks pregnant:::no end in sight

Today I went for my 38 week appointment. I wasn't expecting any good news and didn't get any, just like I thought. It is the last appointment that my husband will be able to attend as he is deploying in a few days. I have gotten so desperate that I was trying to give myself high blood pressure by making myself nervous while the nurse was taking my blood pressure measurement. It worked too, the first time. But then she took it again and it was normal again. The kicker is, if I did have high blood pressure they would send me in to be induced right away. No such luck.

I realize how selfish and impatient this all sounds...but this is by far the hardest thing I have ever gone though. Every time I think about delivering Abigail without Ashton there my eyes well up. I just can't believe that he wont be able to meet his daughter, his first child, until she is 9 or 10 months old. And we are so close to 39 weeks...but they just will not induce me. Not to mention my body isn't close to labor I am only 1 cm dilated and baby is not engaged at all yet.

I am just feeling really sorry for myself and for Ashton, and I realize how much we have to be thankful for, despite the deployment. It's just so difficult to keep it all in perspective. I keep telling myself that we are very lucky to even be able to get pregnant and have a healthy baby...some people can never conceive. We should be so lucky.

There is no getting around it.... He just wont be here for her birth. He leaves the day I turn 39 weeks pregnant and as I have had literally no signs of impending labor, I am sure I am going to go over my due date. Which is normal, as most first time moms deliver after their due date. I don't know why I ever thought we would get lucky enough to have our baby together....He is in the military. And duty comes first.

I just need to let it go. I need to let go of any expectations I have. I need to wish for the best and stop focusing on the negative. I mean, after all...we are having a baby. The most precious gift a person could ever wish for...and we are having our very own! When he gets back from this deployment, we are going to go on one amazing family vacation. I can't wait!

Friday, September 7

Cute baby buys + smash book + deployment advice

Pregnancy progression

I had taken a photo when I first started showing, and made sure to wear an matching outfit every time I took another 'bump' photo. Being at the tail end of my pregnancy, it is really neat to see how my body has changed and how baby girl has grown. She is already so precious and I cannot wait to meet her! She is my world already, I cannot imagine how in love I am going to be when I see her little face!

We love you Abigail Marie

Thursday, September 6

Birth Gift

My husband had this made for me...Since he will be missing our first child's birth, he gave it to me early. He left room below her name to put her birth day....I love it! I love that it is a dog tag.... so sweet. I love him.

Sunday, September 2

6th month outfit

This is one of the cutest dresses I've seen! I cannot wait for Abigail to turn 6 months and take her photo in it. So cute!

Saturday, September 1

Almost there!

Looking through the photos I have taken through my pregnancy reminds me of what an awesome experience this has been. I cannot believe I am in the 9th month and will be meeting our little girl THIS MONTH! I am so excited to be a Mommy! 

Friday, August 31

Abigail's homecoming outfit

So I have been on the hunt for a cute homecoming outfit for our new baby girl. I just hit the 37 week mark so she could be here any day! None of the outfits I had for her were cute enough so I went out shopping to find something that I loved and this is it! Unless I happen to find something even more adorable, then this will be what she wears home from the hospital!

Lately it has been in the 90's so I don't think she will be cold in this outfit. I just cannot wait to meet her and see her beautiful little face. I don't feel 100% prepared for everything that is coming, but who ever does? I think Mommyhood is just something that you gradually get in the groove with. She's still in my belly kicking away so I don't think she is quite ready to come earth-side yet, but when she is I will be nothing but smiles and open arms for my little bundle of love. 

We cannot wait to meet you Abigail Marie Shoults!