Getting Back On Track with the Atkins 40!

Years ago when I was all set to start dieting I would do it by eating low-fat foods that always left me hungry. Since starting my weight loss journey in January I decided to take a different approach by eating low carb. I ate lean meats, salads, low-glycemic vegetables, nuts and protein shakes. I didn't feel hungry because I was eating healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. I was also surprised that I lost a good amount of weight while still eating things that satisfied me.

Then the summer came and I started getting tired of the same foods I was eating everyday and started eating out more and more. I went back to eating the foods I used to eat before my journey like breads and white rice. I was lucky that I didn't regain the weight because I was still active and exercised but I also didn't lose anymore.

Now that the summer is over and we are well into Fall it is time for me to get back on the wagon and have a better plan to my diet. After doing some research I decided to start the Atkins 40 plan. It is not as strict as the regular Atkins diet with the different phases. With this program you can eat up to 40 net carbs and eat from all the food groups.

On Atkins 40 you will eat:

  • More vegetables than the USDA recommends
  • Proteins including meats, fish, poultry and plant-based proteins
  • Healthy fats including olive oil, avocado and nuts
  • Dairy including whole Greek yogurt and cheeses
  • Variety of fruits and whole grains

I started eating this way when I started, so I feel completely comfortable with this plan. There are tons of resources, recipes and meal plans at I also connected with them on Facebook and Twitter to get all the latest news and tips. I printed out my starting two week meal plan and made a grocery list.

I am excited and ready to start this new part of my journey. With the Atkins 40 I also plan on going to the gym at least 3 times a week, strength training 3 times a week and one day of yoga. I will be blogging about my journey on the Atkins 40 so stay tuned!

What are your favorite low carb snacks or recipes?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.

Super Green Super Healthy Breakfast Sandwich

Before the start of my weight loss journey my breakfast sandwiches consisted of bacon, egg and cheese on a buttered bagel. Now instead of butter I use avocado and instead of bacon I use turkey sausage. The healthy fat from the avocado keeps me satisfied until lunchtime!

Super Green Super Healthy Breakfast Sandwich
  • 1/2 small Hass avocado
  • 1 turkey sausage patty
  • 1 egg
  • handful of fresh baby spinach, washed
  • light multi-grain English muffin
  1. Toast English muffin.
  2. Cook turkey sausage until it is fully done and remove from pan.
  3. Add spinach to the same pan you cooked the sausage in and cook until wilted.
  4. Remove the spinach and cook the egg to your liking. 
  5. While egg is cooking peel avocado and mash with a fork. 
  6. Spread avocado on both sides of toasted English muffin. 
  7. Add spinach, sausage and egg and top with remaining English muffin. 

The Living Proof Hair Lines Lives Up To It's Name!

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Living Proof. I received product samples to facilitate my review and to thank me for my participation.”

I am living proof that the Living Proof hair line really does work! I have been using the Living Proof PhD hair line for over a month now and really love the results. My hair is healthier than it has ever been and super soft and shiny. I was seriously thinking about getting my hair permanently straightened before Living Proof came into my life because I couldn't keep my hair looking good after going to the gym. I am so happy that I gave Living Proof a chance to help my hair and now I don't have to go through the super expensive, time consuming and chemical heavy permanent straightening treatment. I can truly say that I am finally happy with my hair!

The more I used the shampoo and conditioner the stronger and healthier my hair looked. I love how much faster my hair air dries and how long it feels clean. I really don't have time nor do I want to wash my hair everyday so having this extra bit of cleanliness in my hair really helps.

For the past week now I haven't even using my flat iron. All I have been doing is using the shampoo, conditioner and a little bit of either the 4-in-1 treatment or the style enhancer. I then comb my hair straight and put it under a microfiber towel to let it air dry. Then when it is damp I put my hair in a low ponytail to continue to dry. As soon as my hair is completely dry I take out the pony tail and my hair looks and feels so much healthier and like I have used a styling tool. This is my go to everyday routine, when I have a date night or want my hair to look extra special I use a large curling iron on the ends to flip them up and that's it!

I am truly amazed at the quality of the Living Proof PhD hairline and also love that it is sulfate-free, oil-free and silicone-free. I will continue to use the Living Proof line and will be making a trip to my local salon store to get some more soon. Are you ready to take the Living Proof challenge? Head on over to the Living Proof website for more information and to learn about their other products. Now through November 8th, with an order of $20 or more, you can enter the exclusive code below to get a free Perfect hair Day (PhD) 5-in-1 Styling Treatment in travel size. With this order you will also receive free samples and free shipping! Just use Shopping Code: NOV2014

iMaze Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor

I have been motivated to exercise at home and go to the gym lately because of the awesome iMaze Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor (HRM). If you exercise and you have never used a HRM you should really get one.

It is super motivating and tells you how hard to workout. Sometimes I am even workout out too hard and it reminds me to slow down. Depending on your age your heart beats per minute (BPM) should be in a specific range to get the best out of your workout. For a woman my age, my target heart rate range is 93-157 BPM to be in the 50%-85% workout zone. I always try to keep my number in the higher part of my range.

I have been using my old HRM for a few years now and was so disappointed when it finally gave out. I started working out without one and kind of felt lost without it. Some machines at the gym do come with HR sensors but it is annoying for me to hold my hands on the sensors for the specified amount of time since I don't usually hold on to the handles when I workout.

I have been wanting to upgrade my HRM to a Bluetooth one for some time now so when iMaze wanted me to try their Bluetooth one I was thrilled. I was incredibly impressed when I used the iMaze HRM for the first time. First the strap was super thin and when I put it on I didn't even feel like I had it on. I also loved how the adjusting buckle was at the back and not on the side like my old one that used to pinch my side.

If you are getting a HRM you have to get a Bluetooth one. Instead of having a bulky wristwatch you just connect the HRM to the iMaze app on your smartphone. You can then pick which activity you are doing like running or cardio, hit the play button and it will begin to record your workout and HR. You have the option of a voice over that tells you how long you have been working out, your current HR and average HR. I love how the voiceover also tells you to slow down or speed it up depending on how you are working out. The app also comes with the iMaze cloud that you can register to so that you can sync and review your workout history and stats from the app, a tablet, or any computer.

One of the coolest Feature of the iMaze app is the Zenn feature with a simple 1 minute assessment each morning during rest. It calculates your Heart Rate Variability, giving you a Zenn Health index score scaled from 0-100. The higher your Zenn is – the better you are! By monitoring your daily and weekly Zenn score, you can adjust your training load to optimize results.

You can learn more and purchase your own iMaze Bluetooth HRM on their website. You can also download the iMaze app for free for Apple or Android.

*Update: With the new iOS update the iMaze HRM stopped communicating with the iMaze App. You can still use the HRM with other free apps like Endomondo and Wahoo Fitness without any problems. I have kept in contact with the iMaze team and they are working hard to fix the bug. 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Easily Live Beautifully with the Walmart Suave Hub

This post is sponsored by Global Influence. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Being a first time mom anything beauty related was just not on my to do list. Now that my "baby" is an independent toddler I have a little more time for myself. I have learned how to get myself ready and quickly with a little toddler running around.

The best advice I have is to get as much as you can prepared the night before. If I am going out with the little one the next day I make sure to have my diaper bag ready with a change of clothes, healthy snacks and her sippy cup ready in the fridge. I then take her outfit and my outfit and lay them out. After that I take out all of the make-up I will be using and put them in a travel size make up bag. Finally I wash my hair the night before then I sleep with a microfiber towel on my head to let my hair dry as much as possible.

The next day I take a shower with the towel still on making sure not to get my hair or the towel wet. I then take my curling iron or my flat iron out and start doing my hair. It is easier and faster doing your hair when it is damp or dry. Next comes the makeup and getting dressed. Finally I get the little diva dressed, get the sippy cup from the fridge, the diaper bag over the shoulder and out the door we go.

Suave is helping families to live better every day by offering products for the whole family at a great value at Walmart. You can check out the Suave Hub for beauty tips that fit into your life - from a trip in the park to an escape in paradise.

Be sure stop by your local Walmart – the one-stop shop for all your Suave needs. For continued savings, you can sign up for Suave Family Perks and submit your receipts to accrue points and redeem for Walmart gift cards.

See how you can live beautifully with savings on Suave products only at Walmart!

Youphoria Yoga Mats Review

I finally did Yoga this weekend and loved how relaxed it made me feel. I have wanted to start doing Yoga on Sundays just to give me some time to relax and stretch out while also working out. I tried doing it on top of my area rug before but that wasn't so comfortable. I finally got through a whole 30 minute yoga workout with the help of my Youphoria Yoga Mat!

The first thing I noticed about the Youphoria Yoga Mat was that it didn't have a chemical odor to it. About a year ago I bought one from a discount store and threw it away soon after because I didn't like how it smelled. It was also pretty thin and didn't have much cushion to it. The Youphoria mat is really thick and dense so I felt a nice cushion even on my tailbone as I rolled up.

The grip on the Youphoria mat is also super tight as I didn't feel any slippage even when my palms were sweaty. I felt like the super thick mat and the extra grip really helped me complete the 30 minute workout. When I tried a few times before I gave up within 5 minutes because I just wasn't comfortable. This mat really helped and I feel like it is great for beginners just like me.

The Youphoria yoga mats are 24" x 72" and 1/4" (6mm) thick. It is made of high density memory foam that helps you stabilize your hands and feet during yoga poses or workouts and gives joint relief without losing balance. It is also eco-friendly, SGS Approved and free from Phthalates.

You can learn more about the Youphoria Yoga Mat and order one for yourself on Amazon.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Mia Mariu's RestauraCel-C Thermal Microdermabrasion + Giveaway!

Microdermabrasion is a great way to get younger looking by helping to diminish the the look of wrinkles, scars and uneven skin tone. It works by buffing away the top layers of your skin. As a stay at home mom I don't have the time or do I want to spend the money to go to a salon to get it done.

I was pretty curious and excited to try Mia Mariu's RestauraCel-C Thermal Microdermabrasion Set because I have tried their make-up line before and loved it. The RestauraCel-C buffs away dead surface cells, signs of sun damage and discoloration for immediate smooth and soft skin. It also helps reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, acne scars and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  It is non-irritating and oil, paraben and fragrance free. Some of the main ingredients are Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids.

Using the product was super easy too. All you have to do is take a dime sized amount of the Re-finisher Cream and add a few drops of the Thermal Activator. Mix it into the palms of your hand and apply to your face in a circular motion. Leave on for 3 to 4 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.

After trying the product for the first time my skin felt really soft and smooth. I also noticed that my skin was brighter and more even. You can learn more about Mia Mariu's Skin Care and Make-Up Line on their website: Mia Mariu

Enter the Giveaway below to win your own set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Aveeno® Eczema Therapy Give Me Eczema Relief!

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for #AveenoEczemaTherapy. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

I have been dealing with Eczema for a while now and get bad flare ups on my neck. Things get worse when it's hot outside or when I sweat at the gym. I used to get some relief when the fall and cooler weather came along but now that I go to the gym my flare ups have been year-round.

When I heard about the AVEENO® Eczema Therapy Collection I was excited to try it. The AVEENO® Eczema Therapy Collection was created with leading dermatologists and awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance because it provides gentle, superior ingredients to soothe skin with eczema. The collection uses the best ingredients in nature to help with the four symptoms of eczema: itch, roughness, dryness and irritation.

The first product I used was the AVEENO® Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. I loved how thick it was and the great coverage on my neck that lasted a long time. I put it on in the afternoon and it lasted my entire workout until I went home and showered. I also loved how it soothed my skin and didn't get irritated. I had experiences with other creams where it would itch and sting right when I put the cream on.

Next I used the AVEENO® Eczema Therapy Hand Cream which was perfect for my super dry hands. With a toddler around I am constantly washing and sanitizing my hands. This makes my hands really dry and sometimes scaly. I loved how smooth  and soft it made my hands feel. I can't wait to try it during the winter time when my hands are at their worst.

Lastly I used the AVEENO® Eczema Therapy Bath Treatment a couple of times a week. It was easy to sprinkle into my bathwater and dissolved easily. I soaked in it for about 20 minutes and loved how soothed and soft my skin felt.

I have been using these three products for about 3 weeks now and they really do work. It has helped my skin, especially in my neck immensely. I will continue to use these products and highly recommend them to anyone who suffers from Eczema or has really dry skin.

October is National Eczema Awareness Month, Did you know that approximately 35 million
infants, children and adults suffer from eczema?

You can learn more at the AVEENO® Eczema Therapy Website: Be sure to follow Aveeno on Facebook for all of the latest news on their products and tips on skincare.

The Creative Galaxy Show Makes Learning Art Fun!

Creative Galaxy is an amazing show for toddlers and preschoolers that teaches them art, being creative, shapes, colors, building and so much more. It's bright and colorful and the characters are adorable.

Creative Galaxy is produced by Out of the Blue Enterprises with Angela Santomero who works with Blue's Clues and Super Why. Characters like Arty and Epiphany travel around the galaxy to solve problems with art through crafts, music and dance.

My 2 1/2 year old loved it! Since she already knows her colors and shapes she was able to answer the questions the characters asked. She was super proud of herself when she got them all right. In the first episode we learned how to create art using Pointillism. I loved how they explained it by using paints and pom poms. Though my daughter couldn't say pointillism she got the point of it by mimicking the characters as they said "dot, dot, dot."

As a mom I loved how they showed clips of real kids creating projects that went along with the lesson learned. They showed kids using bingo dabbers, paints and pom poms to create art such as a pom pom pizza and a spaceship out of the technique of pointillism and paint.

To reinforce the lesson she learned about pointillism we did an art project using circle stickers and a rainbow. I did an Internet search for "bingo dabber rainbow printable" and got tons of hits. Then I printed one out and set the stickers out for my daughter. When she saw the stickers she said "dot, dot, dot." I pointed to each color and she told me what each one was. Then I put a sticker on the first dot of each color of the rainbow and guided her as she put the rest of the stickers. She totally loves stickers so it was super fun for her to aim in the circle and stick on each sticker. When my husband got home she ran to him with her rainbow and yelled "Daddy! Dot, dot, dot!" My husband looks at me and I explained to him how we learned all about pointillism today.

I think a show like this is super important as you see less and less arts and crafts in schools. This show would be a great addition to any toddler and preschool learning at home. Make sure you have lots of craft supplies on hand as you see the episodes because your child is going to be so inspired to be creative!

Go check out Creative Galaxy on Amazon Prime Instant Video!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Healthier Arroz Con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

One of the easiest things to make with the ingredients I always have on hand is Arroz Con Pollo (Rice with Chicken). I decided to take my family recipe and make it a bit healthier by using brown rice instead of white, boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of skin-on chicken pieces and less oil.

Healthier Arroz Con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Achiote seeds (Annatto Seeds)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup Sofrito
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 3/4 water
  1. In a small pan add oil and achiote seeds. Fry until the seeds begin to sizzle. Strain out the seeds and add oil to an electric pressure cooker. Turn on the brown setting. 
  2. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add to hot pressure cooker. Brown each side of chicken thigh and take out and set aside. 
  3. Add sofrito and salt to pressure cooker and cook stirring around for a couple of minutes. 
  4. Clean and drain rice and add to pressure cooker with sofrito. Mix around and cook rice for about a minute. 
  5. Nestle chicken thighs on top of rice and add any juices that have accumulated. Add the water and cover and seal the pressure cooker. 
  6. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. After the cook time let the steam naturally escape for 20 minutes. 
Serves 4