Finding Your Motivation After You Have Lost It #NSNation (A Look at my Week 5 Struggles!)

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I will admit this last week, week 5, has been the hardest for me since I have started with NutriSystem. I feel like such a failure and that is such a hard feeling to deal with. I have a new attitude as I get ready to start week 6 tomorrow. I am going to stick to the plan completely this week. I have no traveling coming up where I can not take my food with me and no reason that I can not stick to the diet for the next week.

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I am normally really good about sticking to diets so it does not make sense to me that I have struggled so much this past week. I just do not know what is wrong with me that I was not able to control myself.

 
So I thought that I would share a little bit about the struggles that I am currently facing and what I am working on to be able to find the motivation that I temporarily lost.

 
First off I have been terrible about sticking to the diet as a whole. This is really odd for me because I normally am really good with diets and can easily stick to them. I have been dealing with a lot of stress so I am assuming that this stress is what has completely put me in my funk. I have been experiencing insane anxiety as a whole. I am not good when it comes to anxiety. I do not generally overeat and I have not been but I have wanted to eat all of the wrong foods. It has left me feeling worse about myself which has probably made me have even more anxiety.

 
Second of all I have not been able to get on track with my workouts. This disgusts me so I have made a plan to write more about my workouts and to do weekly check ins with my plans for the week. I am working hard and really want to be able to get into better shape.

 
So I am going to be doing a combination of different workouts so that I am not bored and working out without any equipment. I want to be an inspiration to others like myself who do not have the money for a gym membership and do not have the ability to have an abundance of equipment in their home.

 
Today I started an Ab Challenge, Push Up Challenge, Squat Challenge, and Arm Challenge for the next four weeks. I also have a number of additional workouts that I am hoping to fit into my schedule as well. Obviously there are only so many hours per day so if I only get these challenges in then I am still going to be proud of myself for what I have done. If I have extra time I am going to try to fit in one of these additional workouts as well.

 
One of the things that I love the most about NutriSystem is all of the support that you get. I have a wonderful counselor who is willing to talk with me when I feel down. My biggest issue is that I fail to reach out to her when I should.

 
Today I got emailed some questions and as I was thinking about them I thought that it would be appropriate to share them with you.
***Has your experience been as expected?
To be honest my experience has not been what I expected at all. First of all the food was actually better than I had expected it to be. Second of all for some unbeknownst reason I chose to cheat far more than I ever would have thought that I would. Seriously, I ate things that I was not even eating before because I felt like I could not have them. I am hoping that month 2 goes off with a bang and that I am able to break through this mental break that has been plaguing me this month.
***Has your energy level been improved?
Here is the kicker to why I get so frustrated with myself. When I stick to the program I feel amazing and so much better than I do when I do not stick to it. I think that one of the issues might have been that I did not like some of the meals so when I was out of the ones that I liked I chose to just not eat all of the meals that I didn’t. Now to be frank, I am a super picky eater so I would imagine that most people would like the things that I did not like.
***Are you sleeping better?
I did notice a huge improvement in my sleeping and sleep patterns when I was following the diet. When I have not been following it, I instantly went back to my poor sleep habits which I am sure caused me to want the things that I was not supposed to have and therefore it all played against itself.
***Is your outlook and attitude more positive because you are making positive changes in your life?
Well this one was happening. I could feel my moods improving each time that I looked in the mirror or stepped on the scale. However the problem for me has been that I was not able to stick to it like I liked with the traveling and then the anxiety issues. When I was dealing with all of the stress that was causing the anxiety I was having a lot of negative feelings and moods which rubbed off onto negative habits.

 
So all in all I know that NutriSystem is helping me to change my life in better ways. I am doing things that I never thought that I would do. However sometimes these changes are being met with opposition and my own worst enemy….MYSELF. I am hoping to start off month 2 with a bang tomorrow and will be posting soon about how the first few days are going.

Tools to Help You Get in Shape @Kohls #spon #FindYourYes

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I have to admit that once again I was sucked into the amazing and delightful world of Kohls. I seriously can not get enough of their store. I shop there all of the time. I love that they carry everything that I need for all areas of my life. If you’ve been reading the blog then you know that I have been on a mission to get into better shape and that I have been trying to lose weight. Well it is struggle and a challenge for me that is far harder than I could have ever imagined anything being.

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I have been looking for a few things to get in better shape. I have been more motivated to work out when I have cute workout clothes so I knew that I wanted something for me to wear while exercising. I will admit that this is something that is a little bit silly but it is honest.

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So I chose the adorable FILA Sport Core Essentials Racer Back Tank. I love this tank a ton and love that it has a great fit and that it looks nice on when I am working out. I also love that it does not ride up at all or move around when I am putting extra work into my workouts.

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I also chose the FILA Sport Move Colourblock Performance Capri Leggings. I knew that I was going to love these. To be honest when I had my summer VIP blogger box gift card I actually purchased a pair of these. Since they were hands down my favorite workout pants that I have ever owned I knew that I wanted to purchase a second pair of them when picking out a workout outfit.

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Finally I was able to get something that I had been checking out for a while. I got an iHealth Bluetooth Activity and Sleep Monitor. I will admit that I was doing better when I had it on but I have been struggling with some anxiety issues lately and find that I am not good about working out when I am stressed. So I am hoping to be back on the path to getting into better shape this week. My goal is to work out each and every day and to try and get in at least 10,000 steps each day. I am not sure how I will do but I do know that I am going to put forth the effort to do the best job possible. I am charging up my iHealth Bluetooth Activity and Sleep Monitor now.

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The best thing for me is that I got all of these goodies at Kohls. I love shopping at Kohls and love knowing that Kohls is there to help me with the things that I need to meet my health and fitness goals. I love knowing that I am going to get there easier with these great tools that can help me.

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So if you are shopping for fitness or exercise equipment then you should check out Kohls before shopping anywhere else. One of the great things about Kohls is that you can honestly find everything that you need at any given time and the same is true when you are looking for workout equipment.

A Look at the TLC Voxbox @Influenster

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

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I love being a part of the great Influenster campaigns and getting to review great Voxboxes. I have been fortunate enough to get chosen for several of these in the past but I have not gotten one like the TLC Voxbox in the past. To be honest we are going to use everything that we received in the TLC Voxbox and we are going to be using it all on a regular basis. This box was full of things that we all need to have in our life and things that I am going to be sure to use in the future as well.

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Neosporin Neo To Go (retail value $7.99)

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As a mom of four I cannot count the number of times that we have been out and around when one of my children has fallen and injured themselves. I hate not being able to carry something with me all of the time but tubes can break open in my purse and I hate when that happens. This is the perfect solution for something to carry with you all of the time. I love that it can be hooked on a backpack or diaper bag because that makes it easier to take with us no matter where we are going.

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Avon ANEW Reversalist Wrinkle Smoother (retail value $30.00)

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As a product junkie I try a lot of different products for wrinkles. I am someone who is always obsessed with maintaining my youth. So for me this was a product that I would have likely tried on my own. I love that you can put it on over makeup when you feel like make up is causing your fine lines to appear deeper. I also love that it is perfect for the rare occasion that I go without make up. Would I say that this is the best wrinkle product that I have ever tried? No, but I would say that for the $30 price tag it seems to do a great job and be something that is unique in that you can use it over make up. I reach for it on those days when I am tired and notice that I still look a little tired when I have my make up on.

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Shell Fuel Rewards Card (FREE!!)

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This is a great program for you if you have a Shell gas station that you can go to on a regular basis. We do not have a Shell in the town where I live so this is not something that I would be able to get a lot of use out of. The card does work at all Shell locations and it is completely free to sign up so it would be a great choice for you.

 
Puffs Plus Lotion to Go (sold in multi-packs under $1 each)

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I hate when I do not have a facial tissue handy. I always keep these in my purse so I was happy to receive something that I knew that we would use. I also love that these were the ones with with lotion because my children are always complaining when I have ones that do not contain the lotion.

 
Ivory Original Bar ($1.99 or less per bar)

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To be honest I did not know that you could still purchase this type of Ivory. I was still not able to find it in my stores even after receiving it from the Voxbox. I really love the soap and love that my skin does not have that grimy or sticky feeling that I often have after I have used a bar soap. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of this.

 
Breyers Gelato Tiramasu ($6.49 at my grocery stores but I am sure that prices vary)

 
I loved the Breyers Gelato that we tried in our home. The only problem that I had was that we liked it a little bit too much and I forgot to snap some pictures of this delicious treat before it was all gone. Since I have been dieting I did not want to purchase more because it is not on my diet and I am sometimes bad about will power. This is definitely the perfect treat for mom and dad with grown up flavors that are quite impressive when compared to regular ice cream that you would purchase for your family.

 
As you can tell my TLC Voxbox contained several items that were perfect for my family. I have been impressed and think that you will be too if you try any of the above.

Is Your Child Ready for a Booster Seat?

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Recently I was sent the Combi Kobuk for review and there are many things that I love about this booster seat. In fact as a mom to four I have had my fair share of car seats over the years and I have not liked most of them. There was always something that drove me crazy or a feature that I wished was different. So when I received this one I could have never guessed how much I would like it.

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I started trying to think of a unique angle to give to you when I did the carseat review and I started thinking about how I see people moving their children into booster seats far too early all of the time. In fact it is not uncommon in my area to see someone pulling a two or three year old out of the car from a booster seat.

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To be honest I get wanting to move your child into a booster. They are very easy to secure into your car, easier to buckle your child into, and most children do not mind them. However putting your child into a booster seat too early can be dangerous. It is something that you should avoid for a number of reasons but the most important to me are the potential safety hazards.

 
There are some things that you should know about when your child is ready to be moved into a booster seat. You can check out this video that I made with my soon-to-be five year old, Huxley.

Some factors that you should consider with the transitioning from a five point harness to the booster include the following:
**Your child weighs too much for their five point harness. (My almost five year old and six year old are very small so they would still be able to fit in a five point harness. I have just recently moved them both into a booster because they do not fit in their seats for some of the other reasons non this.)
**Your child’s shoulders are higher than the highest harness setting.
**Your child’s ears are the same level as the top of their forward facing carseat.
**Your child is between the age and size requirements that are listed on the carseat. For the Combi Kobuk your child should be at least 3 years old and weigh between 30 and 125 lbs. This is a guideline and some children are not going to outgrow these before they hit the weight.
**You know the laws for your state and the carseat is appropriate for the laws that you have.
**Your child is going to sit like they are supposed to in the seat. Check out this video of Adeline, my two and a half year old, who is not ready to fit in the Combi Kobuk.

As you can see from this video, Andrew (my oldest who is eleven) is too big to be sitting in the Combi Kobuk. Andrew weighs around 120 lbs but he is obviously too big to fit into the carseat.

There are five questions that you should ask yourself to know whether or not they are ready to be moved out of the booster seat and into a regular seat.
1. Can you child comfortably sit with their back all the way against the seat of the car?
2. Do your child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the car’s seat?
3. Is the belt fitting in between the neck and arm comfortably?
4. Does the lap belt fit low and touch your thighs?
5. Will your child stay seated in the correct position for the duration of your trip?

 
So as you can see, the Combi Kobuk is a great choice for a booster seat for your children.

Finding Unique School Supplies and Fun Learning Games with Eeboo

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

A while ago when I was with Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog I worked with Eeboo for a review of some great products. I was very happy to work with them again to show what all they had to offer for your kiddos now that it is time to head back to school. I personally love school supply shopping. I am such a dork like that. In fact I loved office supply shopping when I used to work as well. So for me this time of year is so much fun. One of the things that I really strive to do is find the most unique back to school supplies that I can. In fact when I saw the supplies that Eeboo had to offer I just knew that I wanted to get my hands on them.

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We were sent some school supplies and art supplies to check out. I thought that I would share what I thought of the items that I received from Eeboo and then share with you some tips for finding unique school supplies that are not going to be like everyone else’s.

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One of the things that I refuse to do for my children is purchase cheap off brand art supplies. If you have ever worked with cheaper crayons or colored pencils then you know that the colors are not as vivid and they do not seem to work as well as some of the higher quality items that you can find. The Oil Pastels from Eeboo are still very reasonable in price at just $7.99 for a box of 32 and you will love how well they work. They have the right consistency and deliver dark pigment to your paper when you are working with them.

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We also received the Life on Earth Sketchbook ($5.99). The sketchbook is made of high quality paper that I can tell will withstand the abuse that my children put on paper when they are drawing or coloring. I am a light sketcher and writer so I never understood why the kids pressed so hard on their paper. In fact in the past some of our sketchbooks have ended up with holes in pages or pages have been torn because of how hard they are pressing on the paper. However with Eeboo this is just not the case. The paper is thick and withstands their abusive artistic style. Plus it looks great when they are done.

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The Mermaid Lock Diary ($11.99) was a perfect gift for Althea this year on her birthday. Some girls like to have their own diary at school instead of having a journal and this would work perfect for them. Althea loves having a place to write her secrets and share the things that she loves about life.

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We love to play games at our house and one of the things that I try to find all of the time is games that are going to help my child learn something new. I love the Simple Words Puzzle Pairs game ($14.99) that we received. This is a great tool to use with children who are just starting to learn how to read or write. I am excited to play this one with the middle two kiddos since they will both be working on more reading skills over the next year.

 
Tips to Find Unique School Supplies
**Think outside of the box about where you shop. The biggest tip that I have for finding unique things is to shop in unique places. I do a lot of our shopping online in an attempt to have items that are different than what everyone else has.
**Make sure you do not sacrifice quality for style. I hate it when the kids want character crayons. I hate telling them no but I also do not want them to have crayons that are not going to work as well. I love that Eeboo offers unique styles without sacrificing the overall quality of the products.
**Avoid taking pictures and posting them to social media before school has started. If you truly want your child to have something unique try to avoid showing others what you have until after school has started and they are likely to have already purchased their child’s.
Having unique school supplies might not be a big deal to everyone. For me it means that my child is going to instantly know which supplies are hers and is going to be less likely to have her supplies stolen or borrowed and not returned by other students. It offers me peace of mind to know that Eeboo offers some great high quality back to school supplies that feature unique styles that my child is sure to love.

Keep Your Kids Protected with UV Skinz #uvskinz @uvskinz

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

UV Skinz is a unique line of sun gear and swimsuits that actually keep you UV protected while you are outdoors. I am one of those freaky moms when it comes to cancer. I am paranoid about what will happen to my kids if they ever leave the house to go outside and play without sunscreen on. So for years I have obsessed over putting on the sunscreen only to learn that most clothing and swimsuits do not protect the body from harmful UV rays. This means that they are still being exposed to the harmful UV rays on the areas of their body where they have their swimsuits on. This thought prompted me to look for something that was going to protect them better and that is what led to me finding UV Skinz unique line of swimwear for kids.

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Prior to the research that I did for this I did not realize how important sun protective clothing was.  It is actually possible to get skin cancer in areas of your body where you have clothing on because the sun’s rays can damage skin underneath clothing.  So UV protective clothing is something that I feel every parent needs to know more about.
I was very excited when we received our items from UV Skinz. Adeline received the Girls Short Sleeve Sun and Swim Shirt ($26.95), the Girls Swim and Play Bloomers ($17.95), and the Girls Reversible Bucket Hat ($16.95). She loves wearing them and they are generally the swimsuit that she picks out if I let her pick which one she is going to wear for the day when we are outdoors playing. I LOVE knowing that she is extra protected from the harmful rays of the sun.

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Huxley was also very excited to receive a new suit. He is a swimming and water play type of kid. He rececived the Boys Short Sleeve Sun and Swim Shirt ($26.95) and the Boys Board Shorts ($26.95). He loves the starfish and is so in love with the outfit that he has actually worn it on several occasions when we have not been playing in the water but instead when he just wanted to be wearing it around the house.

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Althea received an outfit that was similar to Adeline’s and was all about how she felt like a surfer when she was wearing it. I was surprised by how much she reminded me of me when she was wearing it because I have always wanted to learn how to surf too. She also received the Girls Short Sleeve Sun and Swim Shirt ($26.95), Girls Swim and Play Bloomers ($17.95), and the Girls Reversible Bucket Hat ($16.95).

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One of the things that I thought was unique about this company is that they do not just offer styles for the kids. They also have a complete line of swimwear and sun-wear for the adults. This meant that I was able to get Andrew a Mens Short Sleeve Sun and Swim Shirt ($39.95) so that he is well protected when we are out in the sun too.

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I never forget hearing stories about people who have had skin cancer in areas that they have never had exposed to the sun. Thanks to UV Skinz I am not a mom that is going to have to worry about whether or not my child’s skin is being protected while under their swimwear. Instead I am going to rest assured that they will be protected with their new clothing and swimwear.

Smashed My Week 3 Goal, Just What I Needed for Week 4 #NSNation

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

I LOVE the results that I am getting from NutriSystem and I will admit that I am not even following it 100%. I love eating out and have done so a few times while I have been on the diet. The thing is that I feel like I am relearning how to eat. I am working hard to be able to smash my workout goals and I feel like I am accomplishing them far quicker than I would be on my own. I am officially down 6.6 lbs since my beginning weight. I am weighing in at 238.6. My week 3 goal was to be below 240. I tend to plateau and struggle with each 10 lb point so getting into the 230′s was the goal that I had in mind. I feel like I smashed this goal and am off to set new goals for week 4.
I am trying this small goal thing instead of looking at the big picture all of the time. I used to be so frustrated when I would have a goal to meet and I would not be able to meet it. This would stress me out and leave me feeling worthless and like I could not accomplish the things that I set out to accomplish.

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So instead of doing this I had promised myself to be different with NutriSystem. I had an overall goal of one day being able to fit into a few pairs of jeans that are way too small now. My thoughts were that I would have to weigh around 135 to accomplish this. So I was looking at a 122 lb weight loss to reach that goal from my official highest starting weight. This is a huge number and just seemed so depressing to me because I always felt like I had so far to go. This is why so many diets have failed me in the past, because I was looking at them in the wrong. So I changed my thinking. Prior to starting NutriSystem I had some goals myself that I was trying to accomplish.

 
My first goal was to give up soda. Now in the past three months I have only had a handful of sodas and I feel better and more energetic. Things are finally coming to order in all areas of my life because I no longer have the crutch that was keeping me where I was at.

 
My next goal was to get out of the 250′s. So I had approximately 8 lbs to lose. I was able to do this a few months back with hard work on my own. After that I wanted to get out of the 240′s which is where I was stuck when I started with NutriSystem. Now that I have met that goal it is on to the 220′s for me. While it is frustrating to see myself losing weight so slowly I know that I am doing it the right way and that I am going to be able to keep it off.

 
I love that NutriSystem is encouraging me to eat right. I am able to go out to eat and make the right choices. If I make a bad choice I choose something small and do not go overboard like I once did. For instance we got Chinese take out the other night. I allowed myself one plate and had a little bit of rice, 1 crab rangoon, and a few pieces of sweet and sour chicken. Was this the healthiest option? No, but life has taught me that when I want something that I should really go for it. The reason being that if I do not and am still craving it I end up eating it on top of what I have already eaten which just means feeling bloated and overly full while eating more calories than I would have to begin with. This time I only ate what I needed to for me to feel full.

 
I am snacking the right way too. If I feel like I need a snack I am choosing the things that I know are good for me. I eat a lot of raw veggies and pistachios. I was used to eating raw veggies with dip but after not eating dip for a while I no longer even want it. In fact I am shocked by the way that the veggies taste on their own as they are so much more flavorful than I realized or remembered them being.

 
So what’s to come. Well I am hoping for week 4 to be the week that I get serious about working out. I have been sitting here thinking about how much more weight I could have lost had I been doing some easy workouts at home. So now I am off to Pinterest to find my workouts for the week as well as promising myself to do yoga each and every day. I need something that is going to improve my shape and while I am being more active actually exercising is going to be a huge help.

 

I know that week 4 is going to be great.  I am going to be working extra hard because my hubby and I are taking a weekend trip to the city together.  We are headed to Chicago tomorrow morning and won’t be home until Monday afternoon.  So we will be working extra hard during this time to get ourselves into the best shape of our life.

Gearing Up for a Weekend with My Love with Phish in Chicago

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

This weekend my husband and I are going to be celebrating some glorious alone time with several thousands of our closest friends as we go to see Phish. Today I learned about a lot of great things that are going to be happening in the area over the weekend from The Barn (Chicago area based music blog that is focused on bringing some amazing musical events and acts to the city). I thought that I would share our plans for the weekend, my hopes of what I would like to check out, and even a little look at the band that I am so excited to see.

 
Our Plans
We decided to take it easy this year and to truly have an adventure. So we will take off from our house just after feeding the kiddos breakfast on Friday morning. My mother in law is coming into town to stay with them and watch them for the four days that we will be gone. We then are going to get back on the train and head to Chicago. We will get there at lunch time and will be able to head to the place that we are staying. We plan on walking to where we are staying. It is a about 2 ½ miles from Union Station.

 
We got adventurous for this weekend and booked our stay in a flat through Air BNB. We have been in contact with our host and it appears that this should be a great experience. I chose a host who had a lot of ratings and was known for being a great host. I did check out a few places that were close to the venue that did not have a lot of reviews and for our first Air BNB experience I wanted to go with someone I felt like I could trust.

 
Then we are going to check out Phish for the three nights and we might do some other crazy things like check out a few after parties. I have a list of the ones that I would like to attend that I will share with you. I will also share some links so that you can get more information about them.

 
Then on Monday morning we will head back home and I am sure that I will be ready. While I am always excited to be able to spend some time with my hot husband I know that I am going to miss my little ones so much. Sometimes it is so overwhelming that I actually have a hard time leaving them, but I know that this time is good for my husband and I. It will help us maintain a stronger relationship.

 
A Look at Phish and Why I am So Excited
I will admit that I was not always a huge Phish fan. I was older when I started to fall in love with the band. I went to an amazing Mike Gordon and Leo Kottke show at the Music Mill in Indianapolis and I fell in love with Mike Gordon. From here my love of his music grew into a love for the band Phish. During this time Phish was on a hiatus and it appeared that they would not be together again. I regretted all of the missed opportunities that I had when I could have been seeing Phish shows.

 
In 2008 when we heard that Phish was getting back together. I was shocked and wanted to go see some shows so bad. I didn’t realize how much going to a show would change my life, my outlook, and the core of who I was. I have been accused of so many things because my opinions have changed so drastically on life but I know that the music touched me in a new way and that through the music of Phish I was able to discover some new and amazing things about myself. I am so thankful for being able to go to my first show and for all of the amazing friendships that I have made over the years with a bond and shared love for such an amazing band.

 
To say that it was life changing would almost be an understatement. I would more refer to it as soul changing.

 
So as you can imagine I am very excited to be able to see them play and I have my own list of songs that I would like to see. I am also pumped that I have floor tickets for all three nights of the shows at Northerly Island. I am hoping that I will be able to get up close to the rail and be as close as possible to Mike Gordon. I love watching him play and love the unique and beautiful man that he is.

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(I was so lucky earlier this year when I got to see him play in Madison WI because I was soooo close! This was definitely a dream come true for me. Although one of my biggest career goals would be to be able to interview Mike and to pick his brain for a bit.)

 
A Look at the Events Happening in Chicago for Phish Weekend
There are a lot of fun and unique after parties that are going on in the Windy City. In my opinion the best one of the bunch is the amazing yacht party that takes place after Saturday night’s show. This particular party does not start until 1 am so technically it is not going on until Sunday. I have not been able to see Particle play for several years. I have always loved them so the idea of a Particle and Friends party in itself is super cool. What is so great about this one is that you get to board a yacht, have a couple of drinks on them, eat a delicious buffet meal, and then party all night with Particle, DJ Logic, and many others. This event is a steal at $100 but sadly as a mom to four it is out of my budget. If you can afford it I would highly recommend it and I will just sit back and envy you. I am secretly crossing my fingers that I will win their amazing contest that you can read more about on their Facebook page.

 
Another one of the after parties that has caught my eye is the one after Friday night’s show with Cornmeal and Old Shoe. I have only recently become a fan of Old Shoe but I was a street team member for Cornmeal back in the day. I did some promoting for them in 2004, 2005, and 2006 so I have been a fan for a long time. I can say that I do miss some of the members who have left to go on their own musical journeys but no matter what I have never seen a Cornmeal show that disappointed. This great show takes place at the Hard Rock Cafe. You can read more about it here on Old Shoe’s Facebook page.

 
Another local favorite that is playing the area is Mr Blotto. This is one of the more popular Chicago local bands. The after show for them is at Reggie’s which just so happens to be located a few blocks from the flat that we are staying at.

 
I also plan on trying to check out Rock Bottom Brewery’s Sample in a Jar beer that happens to benefit the Mockingbird Foundation. My reason for this is simple. I love supporting charity and I love drinking beer. So how much better can it get than drinking beer to support charity.

 
Finally there are two really cool PhanArt events happening in the area over the weekend. On Saturday at Screens and Suds event which benefits the Mockingbird Foundation and National MS Society. It is free to get in but a suggested $5. Then on Sunday there is the PhanArt Poster and Pin Exhibition at the Congress Plaza Hotel from noon until 5 pm. It is sure to be an amazing visual adventure if you can hit up either one of these.

 
My Dream Song List
Now I want to share with you some of the songs that I hope that I will get to hear over the weekend. I am going to list 18 songs which is just 6 each night that I would love a chance to listen to. I had attempted to pick out 15 and just could not limit myself to that! I know that it is unlikely that I will see them all but I will definitely keep you posted as to what I hear and if I get to see them play the songs that I love so much.
1. Bathtub Gin
2. Boogie on Reggae Woman (and yes I do realize that this is a cover but I would like to see it all the same!)
3. Bouncing Around the Room (I know a long shot but I just LOVE this one so much!)
4. Dog Faced Boy
5. Gotta Jibboo
6. Harpua (for the hubby since this is his favorite song and he has never been able to see it live)
7. Heavy Things
8. If I Could
9. Kill Devil Falls (bonus for me if I win Old Shoe/Cornmeal tickets and they open with this on Friday night, I am going to get a free beer…lol!)
10. Mike’s Song
11. My Sweet One
12. NICU
13. Ocelot
14. Party Time
15. Prince Caspian
16. Sample in a Jar
17. Wading in the Velvet See
18. Wolfman’s Brother

And yes I do realize that these are in alphabetical order.  There is no reason for this except that I am a weirdo like that and I love order and having lists organized.  So alphabetically just came naturally to me.

 
My Final Thoughts
Maybe one day I will get to meet the band for a prolific interview where I can ask them some unique questions that I have never seen asked before. Hopefully one day I will be able to finish the book that I am working on about the sociology of Phish and the impact that their music has on the fans (my own life included as the basis for this book). However regardless of what the future holds all that I can be sure of is that I am going to have an amazing time with my husband this weekend celebrating my 32nd birthday (which happens to be next Friday). I am so eager to check out all of the amazing sites and sounds that Chicago has to offer and am crossing my fingers that we will be able to score at least a pair of tickets to one amazing after party (but I am secretly dying inside to get the chance to win the tickets to the yacht party!!).

My Yoga Goals and How Gaiam is Helping Me Get There

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Gaiam logo

You will learn as you follow me here that I am in the fight of my life to lose weight and get in the best shape possible. One of the things that you do not likely know yet is what my personal fitness goals are. I honestly do not have fitness goals per say. Yes, I would like to run a 5K, maybe a 10K and maybe a ½ marathon one day but I don’t have many fitness goals beyond looking better in a swimsuit.

 
However since I love yoga so much there are some yoga poses that I would love to be able to master. So I guess you could say that my biggest health and fitness goals are really my yoga goals.

 
I hope to be able to do the following five poses with ease one day:
The Crane Pose

crane pose

Image found on Google Images.

The Firefly Pose

firefly pose

Image taken from Google Images

Forearm Stand Scorpion Pose

forearm stand scorpion pose

Image taken from Google Images

Lotus Headstand with Bound Legs

lotus headstand

Image found on Google Images

Eight Angle Pose

eight angle

Image found on Google Images

Now I know that these goals might sound easy to you and if they do I challenge you to Google them. Check these poses out and see if they are something that you can do. If you can then you are one of my yogi inspirations that I aim to be more like.
How I Plan to Get There

I plan to reach my yoga goals by working out and doing yoga on a regular basis. One amazing yoga company that I have been able to work with is Gaiam. The company has a number of great goodies for those who are trying to practice and learn yoga.

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I was lucky enough to be sent the Thin Grip Mat ($35.99) and I love it! I have practiced yoga for many years and have never had a yoga mat. I did not realize what I was missing until I did yoga for the first time with this mat. I no longer struggled to keep standing in certain positions and I did not slip or slide when I was trying to move in between positions. In fact this mat has been one of the favorite things that I have ever gotten for my health and fitness goals.

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In addition to the mat I received the Gaiam Sol Natural Cork Yoga Block ($16.99) which is a resourceful tool to help you with certain positions until you are strong enough to get there on your own. At first I will admit that I did not know if I would really use this or not. I also was not sure how often I would use it but I use this all of the time with my regular yoga workouts and can feel my body strengthening and needing to use it less and less each day.

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Finally I received two great yoga DVDs, Colleen Saidman’s Yoga for Weight Loss ($14.98) and Calorie Killer Yoga ($14.98). I have owned a ton of workout and exercise DVDs in my life and even a few other yoga DVDs but I have never liked exercise videos like I like these two.

 
I am able to see results, in the past few months I have lost and maintained an 11 lb weight loss. This is huge considering that I went on vacation during that time and ate out for basically a week straight. I know that I still am not eating as healthy as I should be but little by little as I feel better about myself I can see myself losing weight, eating less, and really doing the things that I should to better care for my body.

Make Your Own Lipgloss with ALEX Toys

Simply Shawn N Jenn Disclosure

Do you struggle with finding things to do with your child? I know that a lot of the times I resort to playing the same old board games or to making the same crafts. I do research Pinterest a lot and I choose things that are fun for the kids to make. However it can be so hard to find something new to do with them.

Alex Toys Logo

We were recently supposed to take our 6 year old on a special birthday trip on her birthday. Sadly we had to postpone almost two weeks because my husband had his vacation day canceled for work. From the moment that I heard this I tried to think of unique ways in which we could make it up to her because she had a countdown chart to her trip.

DSCN1830alex lip 25

So we chose to give her the ALEX Toys Mix & Makeup Lip Shimmer Kit ($21.95). This kit was something that was perfect for her age. She was able to create her own lipglosses with minimal assistance and it was a ton of fun for us to do together.

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The process to create your own lipgloss is really quite simple too. You mix the base with the chosen colors that you would like to make your gloss.

alex lip 14 alex lip 16

Then you can choose to mix in glitter.

alex lip 11 alex lip 1

Finally you put the lipgloss into the adorable containers that come with it.

alex lip 2 alex lip 3

On Althea’s 6th birthday we had six exciting adventures and adventure number four was making her own lipgloss with this adorable kit.

I thought that I would share a video with you of the process to make her own lipgloss.


Here is a little video of the process of putting the lipgloss into the containers.

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