The Best Fall Fashion Finds for Easy, Cozy, and Stylish Outfits

My son in the leaves

I love Fall: the cold crisp days; falling colorful leaves; crackling fires in the morning; getting ready for Christmas and last but not least, cozy sweaters; leggings; boots; scarves – basically everything about fall fashion!

I’m also a ‘lazy’ shopper. Or I prefer a ‘smart’ shopper. I have three kids four and under and clothes shopping can be a big pain when all your toddlers want to do is go home and take a nap or play or anything except be there and watch their mom look for clothes. And that’s not even taking into account the whole “trying things on ordeal” as you keep the girl from dragging the baby out of the dressing view while the boy loudly proclaims how he wants to color dinosaurs now and they suddenly are all hungry and thirsty at the same time.

Because of that I’ve transitioned to buying most of clothes online.  Amazon has come a long way in the past few years in their clothes department to the point where they now have a huge range of items. Also, if you have Amazon Prime, you get free two-day shipping (= you get your items super quickly) AND you get free returns, which means you can easily return things that don’t fit.

With that in mind, here are my favorite fall clothing staples for my 2017 Fall and Winter wardrobe:

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Traveling with Kids Part 1: Planning and Preparation

Traveling with Kids: Planning and Preparation

Due to circumstances outside of my control, my posting has been sporadic lately.  A big part of that reason is that we’re getting ready to go on a huge 3 month adventure!  We’re heading to Europe!  With our three little kids! Who are four and under!  And yes, I’m nervous and excited at all at once!

In just under three weeks, my husband and I will be fulfilling a dream we’ve had since we got married (and I’ve had since I was 15) and going on a three month international trip, centered in France and the United Kingdom.   Hopefully, this will be the first of many as, long-term,  we would love to provide travel to our kids as part of their regular education.  A lot of decisions have come together to make this trip a reality: from job choices to even how we live on a daily basis.

Starting today, I will be doing a series of posts on traveling: from planning; packing tips; flying tips; things we learn along the way; tips on making traveling with children successful and rewarding and the tools we used to achieve this.

Keep reading to find out how we are making this  all work!

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My Top 10 Go-To Fitness Accessories for Living an Active Lifestyle as a Mom

 

On a short getaway to San Diego!
My babies!

As a full-time mom to three little ones (4 years old, 2.5 years old, and 3 months old) it’s not always easy to carve out time for exercise and it’s also far too easy to make excuses for myself!  So, I’ve written up my Top Ten Go-To Fitness Products that either help me stay motivated; help me stay on top of my fitness goals; or make it easy to exercise even if I have to do it with all my kids.  I’ve included a “Why I love this” description and a link that will take you to Amazon where you can find more reviews and current prices.  So, keep reading below for what makes working out with toddlers easier for THIS mom.

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The Top 5 Rowing Machines of 2017

Why You Should Row & The Best Rowers of 2017

When people head into a gym, they immediately gravitate to the treadmill.  Or elliptical.  Or maybe the free weights.  But they rarely head over to the most underused AND undervalued piece of equipment in the gym: the rowing machine.  Maybe it’s because they feel intimidated by it.  Or maybe they feel like it’s uneffective.  But the fact of the matter is, the rower is one of THE most effective exercises machines that you could use.  About the same price as a good quality treadmill, the rower is a way more efficient and worthwhile machine to consider for your home gym.

If you don’t have much time you’ll find a short list below of the Top 5 Rowing Machines of 2017.  I include a brief description on why each machine is a good rower and a link that will take you to Amazon for the current price and more reviews.  If you have more time and want more information, keep on reading for some more information, workouts, how-to videos, some helpful accessories and some fun facts about rowing and all that it does for your body!

The TOP 5 Rowing Machines of 2017

  • Concept2 Model E Indoor Rowing Machine with PM5:
    The Concept2 Brand is considered to be the Gold Standard of Rowers.  Used by professionals for its similarity to  the real thing, the Concept2 Model E provides a smooth low impact and total body workout with minimal noise and set up.  It easily separates into two pieces for storage and has a 500 lb. user capacity.  It includes a monitor that provides accurate data for each stroke of your workout. There is also a Model D which caters to a slightly different audience.  Check here for my review on the Concept2 Model D and here for my review and comparison of the differences between the Concept2 Model D and the Concept2 Model E Rowers.
  • Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Exercise Rower This Magnetic Rowing machine allows you to program different workouts as well as adjust resistance and workout time with the touch of a button.  It  comes with 12 programs and a fitness monitor that tracks distance, time, calories, watts and strokes per minute.   This is a perfect rower for someone on a moderate budget who wants a great machine for their home gym.

 

 

 

 

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The Top Five TRX Strap Kits in 2017

TRX Straps: My New Favorite Gym Addition in 2017

TRX Straps

Are you traveling and need a solution for working out on a budget?  Or can’t afford a big set of weights but want to do strength training?  Looking for a good core workout?  TRX straps are your answer!  Inexpensive and yet SO effective, these handy straps are light, easily slipped into your suitcase or used in your home and take literal seconds to set up.

If you are short on time, see below for a list of the top 5 TRX Strap Kits in 2017. I’ve included a short description and the links will take you straight to Amazon where you can find the current prices and sales. If you would like to see a more detailed review, you’ll find a comprehensive review a little further down, complete with pros and cons, how-to videos and workouts.

 

 

The TOP 5 TRX Strap Kits in 2017

TRX Tactical Kit: This kit is perfect for those who want an army style workout!  It comes with every single thing you need to work your whole body in shape: including three ditigal bootcamp workouts and access to the TRX Force Super App.  It also has a one year 100% purchase satisfaction, which means if you don’t love it you can return it for a full refund!

 

 

TRX PRO Suspension Training Home Gym: This TRX kit is similiar to the Tactical Kit except that it’s geared more towards home users.  It includes an 8 week workout program, 5 video workouts specific to different parts of the body, one total body workout, and 2 extra workout videos.  It also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee for one year, making this a great option to try out!

 

TRX Suspension Training Home Gym:  This TRX kit is similiar to the Pro Kit except that it has slightly less extras included. It also includes a one year 100% purchase satisfaction guarantee and comes with six digital home workouts and a comprehensive guide on using your TRX straps to their full advantage.

 

TRX training – Suspension Trainer Basic Kit + Door Anchor, Complete Full Body Workouts Kit for the Home and the Road:  This product is perfect for someone who wants a travel friendly kit.  Geared for people on the go, this product is lighter and easier to transport but JUST as high quality as the more expensive TRX strap kits.

Lifeline Jungle Gym XT: This is a great option for those who want to give Suspension Training a try but aren’t ready to invest a lot of money in it.  These are just as effective, and easy to use but are much more economical and more friendly to your budget.

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Last Bump Photo, Birth, & Postpartum Week 1

My littlest man was born at 38 weeks, 6 days weighing 6 lbs. 7 ounces.  He is a tiny little peanut but perfect in every way and a champion eater.

 I happened to snag one last bump photo a couple of days before he was born which was good because he came a bit early!  

Last Bump Photo: 38.5 weeks +31 lbs.

My labor was long (18 hours) and hard, but he’s such an amazing baby (just sleeps, eats and snuggles) that I forgave him pretty quickly for making me work so hard to get him out! 😉  I will be doing a postpartum series documenting weight loss; fat loss; and exercise over the next several weeks.  I finished the pregnancy at 158 pounds (for a 31 pound weight gain) and after 1 week I’m 142 pounds.  My body doesn’t really kick into losing weight until a few months after so I don’t expect to lose any pounds for a little bit but I am hoping to start regaining some muscle.  

Once I pass the six week mark, I plan on doing a three month weight training program to help build up my core, upper body and overall body strength.  In addition I’ll be incorporating more cardio to hopefully assist in dropping a few pounds.  My number one priority will be making sure I can continue breastfeeding the little guy, but with my other two babies, I was able to exercise quite intensely and it had no noticeable affect on my milk supply, so I’m hoping that will prove the same this time around as well!

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Pregnancy Update: 36 weeks with baby #3


How Big is Baby:

According to Baby Center, our little guy is about 6ish pounds and 18 inches long.  He is still considered pre-term but if born now, would most likely have very few health problems and typically would only require a very short stay in the hospital.

Weight gain:  I’ve gained 28 pounds so far.  This is the amount I gained total with my 2nd baby so it looks like I’ll be gaining about the same or a little more this time around.  I’m still well within a healthy weight gain range and as long as baby is healthy and well I don’t mind.

Body Changes:  Still getting bigger.  Of course!  At my home visit last week, we found out that little guy was breech!  At this point I’m not TOO concerned, as both of my other babies were also breech at this point and flipped on their own before birth.  That being said, naturally I would definitely prefer a head-down baby for a multitude of reasons (like.. Not wanting a c-section!).  As of writing this post, I THINK baby has flipped but I’ll find out for sure at my next appointment on Monday. Edit: He flipped!

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Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks with Baby#3

fullsizerender-1It’s been quite a few weeks since I gave a pregnancy update and what and how my exercise has changed as I’ve moved well into the third trimester.

Overall, this third pregnancy has gone more smoothly than my first two despite some life happenings like my two year old breaking his leg TWICE in a space of three months.. Not fun! (He has a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta and although he has Type I, which is considered mild, it still means that he can break bones quite easily.)

He currently is 2 weeks into a 5 week stint of being in a spica cast (I’ll post on that later), so life has been interesting to say the least.  There isn’t a lot out there on spica casts and toddlers, so I’ll definitely be doing a post on ways to deal and cope (and diaper care!)… because it’s something I sure would have appreciated!

Thankfully he is a very tough, happy little guy so it hasn’t been as hard as it could be, but it’s definitely not what I would have preferred in the last two months of pregnancy!

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The WaterRower: The Ultimate Indoor Rowing Experience

What Is a WaterRower?

Quite simply, a WaterRower is an indoor rowing machine that uses water (typically in a small/medium sturdy container) to provide resistance instead of using air or magnetic resistance typically used by other rowing machines.  Because it uses water as resistance it is often boasted of mimicking the feel of a real boat and provides a smooth, natural, rowing feel.  

Average Cost of a WaterRower:

Because of the quality and craftsmanship of WaterRowers,  they are not inexpensive machines.  However, people who use them believe (and I think this as well) that they are well worth the investment.  You’re not only paying for a better and more accurate rowing experience, but you’re also paying for the fact that these machines will practically last forever.  When you weigh that against a cheaper machine that might break down after a few years use, you end up spending less money overall.

That being said, every machine I discuss below typically fall somewhere in the $800 – $3000 range (depending on the machine and current sales).  If you aren’t looking for a indoor rower in this price range, consider checking out the Stamina Air Rower or Stamina Trac Glider which fall into a significantly lower price bracket and are still well-reviewed, good rowers.  Otherwise, keep reading or head on over to Amazon now to see some well-reviewed rowers.

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