Tuesday, December 16, 2014

eShakti Holiday Dress

A few months back eShakti contacted me to see if I would be willing to do a review of their company and offered to send me a dress of my choice to review. I gladly accepted the offer! 

eShakti is a great company that offers something for everyone. They have sizes from 0-36W and you can customize any piece of clothing from hemline length, to sleeve type, to neck line. I know we've all found great dresses and thought well only if the hemline was longer (or shorter) or if this was 3/4 length sleeves instead of sleeveless. Well with eShakti, you can make your dress PERFECT for you! 

For the dress I ordered, I had the neckline customized to boat and had 3/4 sleeves put on it (it was sleeveless before) for the perfect holiday dress! It is absolutely stunning and I think it would be perfect during this season! Here is the dress online (PS IT'S ON SALE!!) The only difference is the neckline, but again, you can change it up!

Here are some pictures of the dress (sorry for no photos of me in it, that is a challenge when you live by yourself!) It is a gorgeous dress! The lace overlay detail is beautiful and the red color is so fun and festive for the Christmas season! This could make a great NYE dress as well!!

Make sure you checkout eShakti as they have dresses, tops, pants, skirts, jackets and more! They are a wonderful company to work with and I can't wait to order something else from them! Thanks eShakti!

eShakti dress details

eShakti dress details

eShakti dress details

eShakti dress

eShakti is provide me with this dress in exchange for a review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The start of my Paleo Journey: Q&A

It's been a while, friends. I've been meaning to come here and post just a little thing saying that I wouldn't be around much anymore and when the time was right, I'd be back. Well that didn't happen and I think my absence has spoken for itself. School and Life are crazy, so something has got to give and when blogging doesn't become fun anymore, that's when you know it's time to put it on the back burner for a while, right? Right!

But here I am, mindlessly typing away about how I haven't been blogging. So what am I doing here? Well, Kate asked me to discuss the Paleo diet I have started, so you can thank her for pulling back into the Blog world today! 

So let's talk Paleo!

First things first I'd like to say that I am still learning about this lifestyle choice. So I definitely don't know everything, but if you have questions please ask me in the comments and I will respond!! Promise :)

What is the Paleo diet?
My definition: First off it's not a diet, more of a lifestyle choice. Basically it is based on the facts that we were not made to eat processed food (no surprise there), instead we should eat like the Cavemen and women did many moons ago. This includes things that can be found naturally with little to no additives in them. 

How did you chose the diet?
I have been eating terribly and feeling terribly about how I look for a long time. Based on my weight and height I am in the "overweight" category for my BMI and I'm not surprised. I don't like the way I fit/look in my clothes and I'm just unhappy with my appearance. In the past I've tried limiting what I eat, but have not seen any results. It is my hope that with this diet, I will be able to see some weight loss once and for all and to help my body get into a healthier state. So I figured that since I hadn't seen results by just limiting my intake of food, I should try the Paleo diet where I simply cut out food groups completely. Plus I've seen a lot of people have successful results with this lifestyle change. 

What are you not allowed to eat on the Paleo diet?
No grains, dairy or legumes (beans, this includes peanuts).  Still with me?! At first I was like there is no way I can do this. That takes way everything I eat and love, which is the main reason I knew I needed to do it. 

Seriously?! Then what CAN you eat?
Meats, veggies, fruits, nuts and natural oils (coconut, Olive Oil)

How did you start the diet?
I went cold turkey, I cut out all dairy, legumes and grains. For some it maybe better to phase different food groups out. But so far this is working for me. 

What is a typical days meal plan for you like?
 I'm only on day 6 but here is what I've been eating:

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs (sometimes with sautéed peppers and onions) 2-3 pieces of bacon, and fruit( cantaloupe or banana with cinnamon). I also make a smoothie some mornings - my favorite combo is pineapple, banana and strawberry. 

Snack- Trial Mix (almonds, cashews, pistachios, chocolate chips)

Lunch: Salad- Romaine and Cabbage mix, broccoli, bell peppers, 1 hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and Avocado. I'll normally have an apple or celery with Sunflower butter.

Snack: Normally fruit (Apple or Peach), a paleo granola ball or pecans 

Dinner: Chicken Stir fry with broccoli, carrots, onions and peppers and Cauliflower "Rice". Last night I made Spaghetti Squash and Zucchini. 

I normally have two snacks a day when I'm in classes because I helps keep me going since we have such long days. 

Are you following the diet exactly?
No. The diet says that you should buy only grassfed meats and organic everything else. I have a grad student budget I am working with, so it is not possible for me to fork (ha! no Pun intended!) out a lot of money each week. Also, I had normal soy sauce on my stir fry, but not a lot so I think it's okay. Oh and my chocolate in the trial mix is semi- sweet, but in order for it to be true Paleo approved chocolate it needs to be dark and at least 70%. 

Additionally, my mom is coming up this weekend and I know I will be put in situations (i.e. restaurants) that will not have paleo options. I just have to make smart decisions while I'm out. For instance, I won't be loading up on breads, pastas and things of that sort. I can stick to meats and veggies, salads (w/out cheese) etc. 

Do I think this will hinder me in the long run?
Not at all. I eat the trial mix once a day and it's packed with tons of nuts to balance the chocolate out. And while it's certainly ideal in any case to buy all organic and grassfed meats, it's not an option for me. I want the diet to help me learn to make smart choices about my eating and what I am putting in my mouth. 

Have you had any cravings?
Not particularly. Sometimes I would really like to have a piece of toast with bananas and peanut butter or sometime of the sort instead of eggs, but it's not a feeling of immediate need or life will not go on if I don't get it kind of thing. 

What challenges have you faced thus far?
I started this diet on Wednesday (the 3rd) and went to Trader Joe's to buy somethings, the sample guy had Cookie Butter Ice Cream to taste test and I had to turn him down. He wished me luck though.
Then on Thursday AND Friday this nursing organization provided Panera Bagels and all the bread breakfast treats they have and everyone in my class flocked to the table to get some, except me!! Thursday night I was invited to Mexican, which I turned down and then Saturday I was invited to Panera. AHH I've said no to a lot of my favorites this week! That has been a challenge and it hasn't been a full week yet!

Also, I don't eat a lot of meat in the first place and definitely no red meat. So I have to make sure I get enough protein in my diet. 

And I miss peanut butter:( I'm trying out sunflower butter from Trader Joe's and it's just not the same. 

Kate wanted to know about all the Paleo "treats" she sees on Pinterest and what I think about them.
Chocolate is basically a food group in my life! I LOVE it!! It's something I'm not willing to part with. So I've got my Chocolate in my Trail Mix and my 70% Paleo approved kind, but now instead of eating chocolate 2+ times a day, like I was doing, I eat it 1-2 but in much smaller amounts. I've pinned some other paleo treats on Pinterest and just like the chocolate I think as long as you eat them in moderation, you will be fine. You can't eat anything with white or wheat flour or granulated sugar in it, so paleo desserts are made with almond, coconut and a lot of other flours I'd never heard of before. I think they are better for you, but just limit yourself. The only "dessert" I've had since starting as been my chocolate. 

How long do you plan to do the Paleo Diet?
Definitely a month, though like I said with my mom coming up I will be less strict next weekend. I want to see if this will truly help me lose weight. If it does, then I will definitely continue it, though I may add in grains once a week or dairy. We will see. I plan to reevaluate at the one month mark aka October 3rd. 

Are you exercising?
Yes! I'm back at Pure Barre after not going for a month and it is kicking my booty! I love PB, more than any other type of exercise. For now I'm sticking with that and maybe I'll add in an at home workout video from time to time. 

What is your end goal?
Ideally I want to lose 30 pounds, that will put me in the appropriate BMI category for my height. I want to tone up, lose my batwing tripcep jiggle and my thunder thighs. I want to feel better about the way I look and feel in my clothes. But most importantly I want to gain more self confidence and be happy with how I look, because right now I do not. 

Did I miss anything? What else can I answer for you?!

Anyone else doing the Paleo diet?!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What I Learned from my OB Clinical

After taking three classes this summer, we wrapped up the summer session with our OB Clinical. I was able to spend 6, 12- hour shifts with my AWESOME Nurse Preceptor helping care for laboring moms and postpartum moms and babies! 

While I cannot share any details I was able to see and do some amazing things! I will share that on my first day, within three minutes of being there, I saw a birth. What a beautiful, joyful experience! I learned a lot throughout this clinical experience not just from a nursing perspective, but about my personal beliefs and thoughts.

I'd like to preface this by saying that I do not have my own children, so I am speaking from a viewpoint of never going through labor. Everyone has their own beliefs on what they feel is right/best for them, today I'm sharing mine! I'd love hear your thoughts on them too!

What I learned from my OB Clinical


1| Meet people where they are in life.
This is just a good life lesson in general. UVA is a huge teaching hospital, so the people we work with come from all sorts of backgrounds. It was rare to see a nuclear family, which was sad simply because bringing a baby in the world is a huge responsibility and a lot of these moms are doing it all on their own. Regardless, you need to throw your judgement card out the window (come on, we are all guilty) and care for everyone the same. No one person is better than the other or deserves special or different treatment. 

2| BreastFeeding is Fantastic
Not that I have personal experience, but it's not necessary to, to know how great it is for both mom and baby. Breastfeeding promotes instant bonding for mom and baby, there are tons of health benefits for mom and baby (short and long term) and best of all it is FREE!! Formula is expensive and your body is providing you will free food that will always be 100% better for your baby than formula. I spent most of my days on Postpartum and some moms were completely against Breastfeeding and others embraced it. Do your research before hand, learn the benefits, become educated and know that it is a learning process for both you and baby. The hospital employs Lactation consultants to help you and teach you, use them! And just always know that if breastfeeding doesn't work, that does not mean you are a failure. 

3| Epidural = Catheter 
Something I had no idea about (and probably most of you don't either) is that after the anesthesiologist places an Epidural, the nurses have to put a catheter in your bladder. The epidural causes you to loss feeling in your legs so you are unable to tell how full your bladder is. A catheter is placed to drain your bladder for you. Also, once you get the epidural you are bed bound. The obvious plus of an epidural is that it takes the pain away, which for some is extremely important. Once again, do your research, know the risks and benefits and pick an option that works best for you. You can have pain medicine through your IV if you do not want an Epidural, though these are not long lasting. Prior to this clinical I would have told you that I wanted an Epidural ASAP. Now, post clinical, I'd say that I really want to try to go without it. I'm sure all the moms out there are shaking their heads and saying "this girl has no clue" and I don't, but I know it's definitely possible to be done (plus I don't want to have a catheter!). 

4| I will have a midwife, not a Obstetrician.
During my OB class we had a midwife come speak with us and I was already very intrigued by the idea. There is research to show that midwives use less intervention (i.e: pitocin, epidurals and C-Sections), you do not have to be on the monitor constantly (at UVA you are strapped to a fetal heart rate monitor and cannot walk around), and you can labor in different positions, in a tub, etc. Midwives have a much more holistic approach to their care and I think are much more personable. When people think of Midwives, I think a lot of people think of "at home births" or water births, which is not always the case. You can still have your baby in a hospital with a midwife or at a birthing center. Seeing birth in a setting where so many interventions are used, I now know that I want the complete opposite of that experience (though I still want to have it in the hospital to be on the safe side). 

5| Enjoy the newborn stage
Newborns are the best! There was nothing better than snuggling with the newborn babies and getting to look at their peaceful little faces. So many opportunities and experiences await these little precious beings, what an exciting time! Babies don't keep and before we know it they will be going nonstop! Even though the newborn stage is exhausting, soak in all those special moments because you never get them back. 

This clinical experience was an amazing opportunity and I'm so glad we started off with such a fun one! While I'm not sure I could be an OB/GYN nurse, I definitely enjoyed my time on the unit. I learned a lot about myself and what it is going to take to become a successful nurse. NURSING IS NOT FOR THE WEAK. There are no scheduled lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, time to get your head together. It's all on the go and you better be able to keep up! 

I can only pray and hope that all my clinical experiences are just as fantastic as this one!

What are your thoughts on any of the above points? Let's talk!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Food, Movies, Puppies and Jacks

Here are a few of my favorite things from the past couple weeks


Mexican Quinoa
  I promise it's under all that yummy avocado! I made this two weeks ago and on Sunday for my mom and she loved it to!


2 | After waiting what felt like forever, Divergent finally came out to RedBox and you better believe I went and picked it up (plus some Ben and Jerry's!!) Both were equally amazing (and can we just mention how gorgeous Four is?!). I also watched 21 Jump street and was in tears from laughing so much! I need to see 22 Jump Street now!!
Divergent and Ben&Jerry's


3 | I'm seen some other bloggers rave out these, so when I saw them in the store I figured I'd try them out! SO Delicious! You need to go pick them up as soon as humanly possible!


4 | Snuggles with my girls! While I know there is no way I could own a dog right now, I miss them mucho when I'm gone.
Poodles and a Yorkie


5 | Mom surprised me with the UVA Jack Rogers when I came home last Thursday! Such a fun surprise! I can' wait to wear them to some of the Football games this fall!!
UVA Jack Rogers

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hooray for 2 weeks of Summer Break!

I am officially done with my first summer session of Nursing School!!

It's kind of crazy how fast the past 2 1/2 months have gone and I know these next two weeks will speed on by before the madness of Fall semester begins. So I'm going to make the most of my time and have a lot of fun these next couple weeks!

I'm currently at home hanging with my mom and the girls. I've already taken naps, slept in, read a book in one day (that NEVER happens), started another book, and made it to Season 3 of Scandal on Netflix. 

Oh and KILLED a copperhead snake... EEK!! Oh my goodness it was horrible. I walked out of my house yesterday morning before church for my dogs to go to the bathroom and I saw them looking at something to my left, I turn and there the snake is, hissing at one of my poodle!! I screamed for my mom and she ran out and got a shovel and an ax. After about 10 minutes going over and over what we should/should not do, we were able to pin it down and kill it. Oh gosh it was horrible and I hope I never have to do that again. But since it was near our front door and those are poisonous snakes, it had to go!!
This is what it looked like...SCARY


That was more than enough excitement for me and my mom. So our plans just include a lot of relaxing. I know once I start school in a few weeks, I won't have much down time, so I'm enjoying it while I can. 

Next week one of my very best friends, Kerry, is coming to visit me for the week!(Read about our trip last year) I'm BEYOND excited and I may just not let her leave at the end of the week ;) At the end of that week I'm going to spend the weekend with my other best friend Kristin and her husband Paul! I stayed with them back in January and I'm really excited they are letting me come back again :)

I'm excited to pack in all this friend time while I can! I don't get to see Kerry or Kristin as much as I like too, so this is really special to me!

I can't wait for all the fun adventures ahead and I promise I'll be back to share all the details! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Edamame Basil Hummus {Tahini Free}

Ever since I moved into my apartment I've really been making my own foods. I LOVE to cook and make dinner several times a week, but I also am loving making simple everyday things like pesto and now, hummus! 

When I was at Trader Joe's a few weeks back I randomly bought a bag of edamame and my basil bush. I was trying to decide what to do with the edamame and remembered how much I love Wegman's edamame hummus. A quick google search lead me to this recipe.

And while it didn't turn out exactly as I thought it would, nor did it even come close to the Wegman's hummus, it still turned out pretty great! 

Edamame Basil Hummus

Edamame Basil Hummus

Edamame Basil Hummus

Edamame Basil Hummus

Edamame Basil Hummus

Edamame Basil Hummus

Edamame Basil Hummus recipe

As you can tell the hummus is not so much creamy, as it is more of a "mash". While I was looking for more of a creamy texture, I couldn't achieve it. Still it was delicious.

My favorite way to use it? Put it on a tortilla with provolone cheese slices, fold it in half and hit it in a pan on the stove. Think of it like a hummus quesadilla!! I wrapped it in aluminum foil once it cooled and took it to work with me for lunch. Delicious!

Have you ever made hummus? What recipe do you use?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thred Up

I love to shop, but I don't love to spend a ton of money. Anyone else that way? 

When I stumbled upon Thred Up I instantly fell in love! Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I loved the concept and the prices are amazing! Thred Up is an online consignment store of sorts. People send in there gently used clothes, Thred up pays you and then they resale the clothes for a fraction of the price.

Thred up has all sorts of brand names, included designer goods. In addition to clothes they sell shoes and handbags. You also have the ability to set up "shops" to conveniently shop with particular brands or specific items. For instance I have an "Old Navy" shop with my particular sizes and when Thred up receives new items within my shop parameters I receive an email. How awesome is that?

I recently purchased some clothes from Thred up and wanted to share with you what I got! 

Thred up Box

Thred up Box

The packaging is adorable! Now on to the good stuff!

Thred up Black Button up
Old Navy Black sleeveless Ruffle Collar button up
Original:$18
I paid: $4.26

Thred up Pink Top
Old Navy Pink Top
Original: $18
I Paid: $3.88

Thred up Purple Top
Old Navy Sleeveless Purple Blouse
Original: $23
I paid: $5.43

Thred up Green Dress
Old Navy Green Dress (I'm using this a beach cover up)
Original: $30
I Paid: $6.98

Thred up Pink and Orange Dress
Old Navy Pink and Orange Dress (using this as a beach cover up)
Original: $30
I paid: $6.98

Thred up Blue Dress
Old Navy Blue Ruffle Dress
Originial: $30
I paid: $6.20

Thred up Chevron Dress
Ann Taylor LOFT Chevron Dress (Brand new with tags still on!!)
Original: $89.50
I paid: 18.20

** I received a $15 dollar discount since it was my first purchase, so the "I paid" prices are the prices with the discount.

My total for this order (with the discount) was $51.93! BOOM

Needless to say this will not be the last time I purchase clothes through Thred up. The only downside is that it took my package a week to get here (shipped from California). 

If you spend over $50 you get free shipping!

Have you ordered from Thred up before?

This is not a sponsored post. I'm just sharing this great business. However, the link is an affiliate link. So if you use it, I get $10 and so do you.