Category Archives: Money Saving

Workout Wednesday: Keep on Keepin’ On

There’s a lot going on in the US right now. To think of a few things: Boston Marathon bombings, Texas explosion, Peoria flooding … Lots of sadness, but also, lots of kindness. Check out this awesome quote I found from Mr.Rogers.

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Friday by Design: Gold Dipped Milk Jug

I keep seeing all these painted glass beauties on Pinterest so finally I decided to do one myself. It was so easy and now I have the prettiest milk jug you ever did see. I did it just like the DIY leather belts. Set up a station in my living room and did a few coats a night. It took me about 5 days, 5 minutes a day.

Because I now make my own almond and coconut milk, I really needed someway to store them in my fridge. A few goodwill visits later, I finally found an old-school milk jug for $2. I cleaned it with soap and boiling water and set to painting it.

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No Poo Shampoo is not for the weak.-UPDATED

I don’t wash my hair. Say what?? Well, I don’t wash my hair with shampoo or conditioner. And I haven’t for 2 months now. It’s quick, it’s effective, it’s super easy, and holy bajolies it is CHEAP. I love it. (Don’t forget to check out the UPDATE at the bottom of the page.)

There may be many of you that have heard of the “No Poo” shampooing. It’s a natural beauty trend that’s been sweeping the blogosphere. It’s for those of us who are trying to get away from chemicals BUT only if the alternatives actually work. And I’m here to tell you, this works better than conventional shampoo and conditioner. Continue reading

Wednesday Workout: Change of Pace

The weather is turning here in Peoria. It’s was gorgeous yesterday and now we’re getting some spring rain. I love being outside this time of year. Through the winter, all my workouts were indoors and I was fine with it. In fact, I loved it. But now I’m pining to get outside. So it’s time to switch it up.

Part of a lifelong commitment to working out is recognizing when you need a change. I am starting to get burnt out and need to start some new activities. So I will continue the 16-minute workout at least once a twice a week but maybe I’ll do it outside on the grass! I’ll also factor in some walks/runs and bike riding. It’s time to produce some Vitamin D!

And now … the workout!

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

Squat Jump

1. squat jumps

PushUp

2. push ups

SquatSideKick

3. squat sidekick

crunches

4. crunches (feet on ground, legs at right angle, or legs straight in air. LIFT YOUR CHEST and SHOULDERS, not your head and neck)

PlieSquat

5. plie squat

plank(better)

6. plank (on hand and knees if too hard, with swimmer kicks if it’s too easy)

If you’re legs don’t burn, you didn’t work hard enough. I hope you’re having a fantastic day! Love and a big smile – Ash

 

Thriving Thursday: Free Makeover?

Caution: Men you may be very bored by this post. Ladies on the other hand, huddle around, it’s story time. Ok, so I was perusing TJ Maxx looking for summer dresses when a woman walked up to me, “I just have to tell you, you have beautiful skin.” Hah! Maybe from over there but get a little closer and you’ll see how wrong you are. “No! You have gorgeous skin!”

This woman was about my age, stunning with a brunette bob and huge almond eyes. And dressed stylishly to boot. And here she was telling me that I had gorgeous skin. I knew there was something wrong with this picture. But I went with it anyway. I was curious where she was going with this. Turns out, she works for Mary Kay. If you provide the location and friends, they will come over and do your makeup for free! Obviously they hope that you buy something but there’s no obligation. So she took my number and promised to call.

I got back to the office later that afternoon and my coworker, Elle, sidles over to me and says, “You’ll never guess what happened to me today. A woman walked up to me in TJ Maxx and said I had beautiful skin…” You can guess where it goes from here. Same woman, same store, different days. And we are coworkers!

So obviously it’s some way for her to make money but at the bottom of the situation there were FREE MAKEOVERS! So we thought it over, we communicated with Emily, our Mary Kay consultant, and we decided that we wanted to get them done before a night out.

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So a few Saturday’s ago, I cooked up some appetizers and several ladies, including Elle, sat around my dining room table with bare faces. It’s amazing how naked you feel without makeup on, especially around relative strangers. Of course I forgot to take photos when all the food and makeup was on the table but the above photo is us with Emily looking all beautimous.

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All the significant others sat and watched March Madness while Emily guided us through our makeovers. She gave each of us some great tips and gorgeous makeup supplies. Being the hostess, I got a sweet deal of $75 worth of makeup for $35.

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After we had finished the makeovers and the men had told us how gorgeous we looked, we went line dancing! It was a fantastic night and so cheap! I love the makeup and face wash I bought and Emily got another party out of it. I highly recommend a Mary Kay Makeover to anyone looking for a fun Ladies Night. If you live in Peoria, let me know and I’ll get you Emily’s contact info.

I hope you’re all having fantastic days. Love and hugs – Ash

ps. I’ll be on vacation in Louisiana this weekend for a good friend’s wedding so no post tomorrow or Monday. Enjoy your weekends!

Workout Wednesday: When NOT to workout

I’m still sick. On day 4 of this wicked flu. I have some awesome coworkers that covered the work I had to do in the office, thank goodness, but there’s no one else who can teach my workout class.

So I taught it in sweats with very little voice. I was much nicer than I normally am but they better not get used to it! I didn’t join them for the workout because my body is already trying so hard to recover that it really doesn’t need any extra strain. For an idea of when NOT to workout, check out this post by a great blog I read: The Guide to Knowing When to Workout or Not While Sick.

Anyway, I figured that I’ve posted enough of a variation of workouts that I could repeat a few every now and then. So this workout is the same as the post on February 13. It was a good one and every person in that room left sweating! I hope you enjoy.

Beginner through intermediate (12 minutes)

– 20 seconds on/ 20 seconds off

– each exercise 3 times in a row

Advanced (16 minutes)

– 30 seconds on/ 10 seconds off

– each exercise 4 times in a row

Exercises:

Side Hops

1. side hop (jump fast and high)

GoodMornings

2. good mornings (with or without weights)

LegLift

3. leg lower (lose the ball on this one)

Swimmers

4. swimmers (looks funny but man does it work your core)

DiamondPushup

5. diamond pushup (do this on your feet, knees, or standing against a wall)

SitAndPray

6. sit & pray (get low and put your weight in your heels)

Enjoy your day! Lots of love – Ash

 

Thriving Thursday: Grocery Shopping Guide

In talking to people all over my community, I’ve discovered that very few of them know how to grocery shop. We have SO many options. When you’re trying to get healthy, what’s the right brand of healthy to buy? This is a simple beginner’s guide to healthy grocery shopping.

So here is a set of rules to help you navigate more quickly through the maze of choices.

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1. Always start with the whole foods. Start in the produce section and let yourself salivate over the deep orange bell peppers or in-season strawberries. If your store has them, move on to the bulk seeds and nuts. Then peruse the other sections, skipping processed foods whenever possible.  Focus your efforts where you can find the most nutrients: in whole foods!

SalsaNutritionPanel

2. Check the INGREDIENTS not the nutrition panel. Only buy processed food that you can’t find in a whole food form. We have been trained to look at the nutrition panel on all packaged foods. How many calories, how much fat, and sodium, etc. But new research and my personal observation shows that it’s the ingredients that matter, not the nutritional breakdown. The fewer ingredients the better and make sure you can recognize the name of everything in the processed food you’re eating.

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3. Avoid sugar like the plague. When you start looking at ingredients in processed food, you’ll notice that sugar is added to EVERYTHING. Check out this post for why sugar is bad. Aside from the obvious “sugar,” Anything ending in “-ose” is sugar including sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Any “gum” is considered sugar including lecithin gum and xanthan gum. And any kind of “syrup” is sugar including brown rice sugar. And finally, ASPARTAME IS EVIL. It’s a neurotoxin. Check the post mentioned above for more info.

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4. NEVER buy “low-fat” or “reduced fat” or “1%” fat or any product from which they’ve removed the fat. This includes milk. Buy whole milk! when manufacturers remove the fat, the concentration of sugar in the substance is even higher. They even add sugar sometimes (!) because the product tastes so bad without its natural fat. Seriously. So it has higher sugar content but a lot of those fats are actually very good for you. They are necessary for your bodies proper function. So just keep the fat in!

There are only a few guiding principles to the beginner’s healthy shopping but man they are whoppers. Budget double the time it normally takes you to shop, at least until you can find the brands you like. Once you’re adjusted you’ll zoom through the grocery store once again!

I hope you’re all having fantabulous days. Love and a big smile 🙂 – Ash