In the beginning, Life Changes

YouTube: Journey to Mommy

I’m on YouTube! Below is a link to my newest unboxing video.

I decided to start posting on YouTube a few months ago because it is easier to show products in a video. I have a few review and unboxing videos but going forward I will have more. I plan on having 3 playlists for now: health and fitness, unboxing and reviews as well as my YouTube adventure.

Health and Fitness will at times replace the blog because I’ve been failing to update it since I haven’t made any real progress. I feel YouTube will give me the opportunity to quickly own up to my healthy lifestyle struggle rather than having a repetitive apology blog. Reviews and Unboxing are fun things I like to do because sometimes (esp when buying online) you need to see how an item looks while in motion. And you want to see someone you know trying it out. My YouTube adventure will be an amusing look at the process I’m going through to start my channel and work through anything that comes up.

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I hope you’ll join me on YouTube as Journey to Mommy starts creating videos 🙂 And thank you for reading and subscribing to my blog. It means a lot when I see people not only found my tiny corner of the internet but also liked what they saw and chose to stick around ❤

 

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Health/ Fitness, Life Changes, Postpartum, Self Care, Weight

Motivation & Habits

Do you remember her from my Motivation & Habits post? If not feel free to check it out!

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NOTE: I asked the woman above for permission to post this screenshot.

Well I did exactly what I intended to do but with a twist. After checking out http://www.ryschyragz.com I decided to purchase motivation items. These are items I intentionally bought in a smaller size to inspire and remind myself to stick to my healthy lifestyle. This is also a form of financial motivation for me as I do not like to waste money.

I bought 2 shirts and pants.

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I’m an XL or XXL depending on the shirt and pants size 16/18. The shirts are both medium which I didn’t plan but they were too cute to pass up. I originally bought a different pair of pants but they were out of stock. She explained what happened, apologized for it and sent me the pants below in 2 different sizes (L & XL). Not only was I pleasantly surprised by the customer service but she included a nice note saying thank you and acknowledging what happened. Now I don’t know about you but good customer service is getting harder and harder to find so when I get it I become a regular customer.

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The surprises kept coming as I tried the clothes on. I tried it on to see how much I needed to lose before any of it fit. I mean they don’t fit correctly but at least I got them on! I’m wearing the XL pants in both pictures as I was under no delusion that the Large was going to go up far enough for me to take an appropriate picture.

The shirts are both soft to the touch and feel good on. The pants have great stretch so even if they don’t look like the correct size* trust me and try them on. I’ll have an update as I lose weight and can fit them correctly. But for now I will definitely be a returning customer so I can get something that fits now 🙂

*For my exact measurements please see my April 2018 Weigh In post.

Food, Health/ Fitness, Life Changes, Postpartum, Weight

April 2018 Weigh In

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No Your eyes do not deceive you. I am using the same picture again but this time I am using it as a comparison. Full disclaimer the pictures below were actually taken in April however it was 3lbs ago so I feel it’s still a fair representation.

Actual Date: 5/4/2018

Weight: 227.1lbs

Measurements in inches

Chest: 46

R/L Arm: 16

Waist: 45

Hips: 51

R/L Thigh: 29.5

Goal(s):

  • Stick to some type of diet/ healthy meal plan (IP!!!)
  • Read something other than children’s books (Check)
    • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
  • Exercise 3x/ wk (IP)
    • I did this 3wks in a row then not so much so mostly a win
  • Post monthly updates on/after the 8th for accountability (Fail)

Is this were I wanted to be for my first weight post in a long time? NO but I am no longer beating myself up about what I know I did or didn’t do. I know what I ate, how much I worked out and what I let distract me from my goals. This time is different because I don’t feel like a failure. I feel like a work in progress. I feel stronger and more powerful because I’m not quitting. I feel grateful my body hasn’t failed me though I have put it through way too much stress and strain. The best feeling is seeing the progress even though I didn’t think there was any. My current versus my original shows a slightly smaller body but most noticeable to me is my waist. Again I can’t tell when I look at myself because breasts are in the way but this picture shows I have made physical changes.

To my body:

Thank you for not giving up on me. Please accept my apology for the abuse and know that I will never give up on you again.

With all my heart,

JTM

In the beginning, Life Changes, Reviews, Self Care

Putting It Out There – Career/ Business

I’ve often wondered how reviewer/ product testers get in contact with their favorite brands in order to get sponsored. I’ve looked into a few things on my own but not many end up being real. I am here to ask for advice from people capable of pointing me in the right direction. I know all information comes with BUTs because no one can guarantee a company will have any use for what I can provide; detailed reviews and suggestions for improvements but any useful advice would be very much appreciated.

Drum Roll please:

Target Corporation – This has been a favorite of mine for years and I frequently refer to it as my happy place. 2 of the 3 other companies mentioned were discovered at Target. The Starbucks inside are an added bonus.

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Just started using big pack of wipes; I normally use the paper masks

Yes To, Inc. – Specifically Tomatoes. I love their sheet masks but I can’t use them as often as I like so I am not positive they work so much as I enjoy using them during my Spa Day.

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Out of wipes so this is just an empty package 🙂

SheaMoisture – Favorite products African Black Soap: Clarifying Mud Mask, Body Wash & Clarifying Facial Wipes; Raw Shea Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-to-Toe and last but not least Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Leave-In Conditioner. They also have makeup I would love to try.

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Need to restock my oils because this is all I have left

NOW Foods – ALL THE OILS!!! I’m kidding I haven’t tried them all (though I’m working on it) but I am obsessed with a lot of them. I’ll name my top 3 there are a lot: Sweet Almond, Jojoba and Grapeseed/ Avocado (these I use interchangeably).

There you have it. It is now in the universe and even though I will not give up in pursuing these brands I’m hoping someone with the knowledge I need finds my space and points me in the right direction. Also this is not me saying I wouldn’t be open to other brands especially ones with natural ingredients, fair trade practices or local businesses. I’m simply saying this is a list of companies I currently use/ go to.

PS – I’m counting this as a digital Vision Board because lets face it it would be a dream come true to have my favorite brands find my corner of the internet.

House, Reviews

Review: NICETOWN Thermal Insulated Grommet Blackout Curtains for Bedroom (2 Panels, W42 x L63 -Inch,Grey)

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Pros:

  • Color
  • Great if you have low ceilings
  • Looks expensive when ironed (which I didn’t do because I hate ironing)

Cons:

  • Must use two panels otherwise it is not a total blackout curtain
    • single panel stretched out allows light in as it doesn’t have an additional backing like expensive blackout curtains

Overall: I would and HAVE purchased again. Once I realized I needed two panels for each window I purchased more in grey for my bedroom and also purchased in navy blue for my living room. The link below shows fabric and grommets.

While this post isn’t sponsored by anyone, I was able to buy it with gift cards I accumulated through taking surveys. I still worked for the gift cards but it wasn’t part of  regular income.
House, Reviews

Review: Decopolitan 7/8-Inch Square Window Treatment Rod Set, 36 to 72-Inch, Nickel

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Sorry about the lighting. Left side of the full rod picture is closest to actual color

Pros: 

  • Affordable less than $15 as of 1/8/18 (price varies)
  • Bright nickel finish
  • Sturdy
  • Fast shipping with Amazon Prime

Cons:

  • Price varies which is important if you want to buy more
  • Scratches easily (could be result of how I was moving it)

Overall: I would purchase and recommend as long as the price didn’t go over $20. Looks very nice for the price 🙂 The link below shows the rod up close

While this post isn’t sponsored by anyone, I was able to buy it with gift cards I accumulated through taking surveys. I still worked for the gift cards but it wasn’t part of  regular income.
Food, Health/ Fitness, Life Changes

What I’m Eating – March

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Mustard Deviled Eggs with bacon & paprika
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Green & Black beans w/ sliced almonds
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Turkey Soup w/ kale & Celery w/ hummus
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Bean Soup (red beans, lentils, kale, celery and shrimp). Cook with vegetable broth and no shrimp to make it vegetarian or vegan
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Chicken Wings & Sauteed Kale
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Tuna & Cucumbers (still don’t like cucumbers)
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Tuna w/ Spinach
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Pork Roast w/ Sauteed Kale & Bell Peppers
Health/ Fitness, Life Changes, Postpartum, Self Care, Weight

Motivation & Habits

If you’ve been reading my blogs you know I’ve struggled with motivation. I get inspired, do okay, get distracted, fall off, repeat. My wake up call came in the form of family pictures; see below.

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Yup, all the hard work I was doing went completely sideways when I got sick. Instead of preparing something healthy and easy, I turned to junk food. Not only did we spend a lot of money but I’m pretty sure we shaved at least 2 weeks off of our lives. The final guilt was seeing how the family pictures turned out. I looked and felt bloated, my face was still healing from the infection and the antibiotics made my normally oily skin very dry to the point of peeling so I piled on makeup that didn’t turn out right. I spent the next morning sad and depressed. Then my support system kicked in.

My husband gave me an amazing pep talk and because he’s awesome and super supportive we went to Target at 10pm so I could buy containers to help me meal prep. We ate one more garbage meal then I got to work. I meal prep’d that night. Monday I turned to the internet to keep me motivated since hubby would be at work and I had an appointment near one of my favorite restaurants.

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After an emotional appointment (nothing bad just needed to plan better). I didn’t eat perfectly but I didn’t go to the restaurant either. Tuesday was tricky because I was running errands which meant I had to have breakfast, lunch and snacks with me. Thankfully my mom was able to come and helped with my son. Afterwards we were both very hungry but instead of going to fast food we went to the grocery store. I surprised myself by buying lots of veggies and some veggie based dips (guacamole and hummus) in order to make sure all of our dinners included veggies.

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Tuesday night I still felt bloated and knew I needed to start incorporating exercise to encourage movement if you know what I mean 😉 Plus I wanted those endorphins! So again I turned to the internet. It was another late night but boy am I happy I started surfing. I found the post below and it fired me up.

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ryschyragzfitness In honor of today’s workout I had to wear this shirt 😆. I had to do what I Needed to do and not what I Wanted to do. I had to keep going when I wanted to 🛑 more than a few times. Whew 💨💨💨. I could have made excuses for why it was ok for me to stop. But I didn’t, I found my Beast Mode and #sheaintcute and kept going. So Today let’s do what we need to do and not what we want to do. Plain and simple. Your needs are the most important, not your wants. Cater to your Needs… 1. You need to eat healthy, but you want to have a donut 🍩 2. You need to move and be active, but you want to lie down instead. 3. You need to be positive, but you want to feed yourself negative talk. Get where I’m going? Master taking care of Your Needs and everything else will fit into place. I guarantee it. #aintnoexcuse #selflove #marathon #thankmelater #thankyourselfnow #fitnesslifestyle #Fitmom#needsversuswants #doit #dontquit#beautyandabeast
NOTE: I asked the woman above for permission to post this screenshot and whenever possible I contact people BEFORE posting. If I do not get permission for a post or don’t receive a reply I will only reference what I saw or post the person’s handle so it can be looked up. The exception would be quotes from Pinterest but I NEVER remove any logo/ trademarks/ watermarks because I believe the originator deserves the credit for their creative work.

I found her post so motivating that I checked out her website (www.ryschyragz.com) and planned a workout for the morning. Wednesday I not only smashed a pilates workout but I cooked dinner for the rest of the week! I wanted to keep the momentum going so I watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I was hit with something to the effect of you didn’t fail if you only did 7 days of a 10 day cleanse; You succeeded for 7 days!! This hit me hard because negative talk is how I would fall off. I now look at each day as a day I succeeded. On days I’m not perfect I look at each accomplishment individually: meals, workouts, personal time, etc.

I was going to include all the individuals that inspired me but this post is long enough. Rather than give up on shining a light on those who’ve motivated me I am going to blog about them and I will include specifics if I can get permission to do so.

If you’ve gotten this far because you need motivation, I hope this helps and I hope you come back in the future when I post more of what motivates me. If you made it this far simply to read what I had to say then THANK YOU 🙂

In the beginning, Life Changes, Self Care

My Intro to Self Care

I’ve been feeling lousy lately. Between allergies, fickle weather, yard work, cleaning and taking care of a very active child I’ve ignored myself to the point of getting sick. I’m typing this with a stack of fast food napkins (ran out of facial tissue…), hand sanitizer and cold coffee in front of me while my son sleeps off his late night party session. My face is swollen, pain behind my eyes and my body still hurts from the yard work I did on Sunday because I am horribly out of shape which I’m proud to say I will have a decent weight post coming soon. I write all of this to set the stage for my snap. Yes, I said snap.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t help anyone else because all I wanted to do was cry, drink wine and go to sleep. However my new healthy lifestyle dictates that I find alternative ways of healing and relaxing other than my good friend Merlot or my BFF food. Now I would like to make it clear I still had wine but only one glass (6oz) well technically mug but that was because it didn’t feel safe to take a wine glass in the tub with me as I was already tired and didn’t want to add ‘cut by glass’ to my list of annoying things.

In walks my hubby 🙂 I simply said I need to take a bath and I don’t want either of you coming in or calling me; this was my snap . He made it happen!!

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I grabbed the products above and prepared to have the most relaxing bath ever.

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I lite my candles then turned off the light and started my Pandora Relaxation station.

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I slowly poured each item in the tub so as to fully enjoy the aromas. First the epsom salt and bath balls which turned the water lavendar like the fragrance. I sat for a second to admire the beauty created by the bath balls. Then the bubble bath which further enhanced the mood. You couldn’t have convinced me I wasn’t in a world class spa. Sure my candles rested on my toilet and my bath tub isn’t perfect but that night I chose to see what I wanted which was a very affordable spa experience.

I truly appreciated the time I spent alone. And though it was very hard for me, I wasn’t thinking about what happened up until that point I was simply soaking up the time I had. While I was focusing on listening to the music and breathing in the allergy friendly level of lavendar that filled the air, I realized I should do this more often. I deserved this time alone to decompress and focus on me. I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to do this but my goal is going to be weekly. Once a week I will schedule time to do nothing. Sometimes it will be a bath, others a mani/pedi and when funds allow maybe even a day at the spa. For now I will focus on the time alone rather than the activity so I can be the best version of myself.

Date Night, Hair/Beauty, Married Life, Parent Life

Movie Date

Thursday I talk to my mom who tells me they want the mini for the weekend. We happily agree and make arrangements. We knew we were going to see Black Panther but decided the mini was too young to attend based on what others were saying so this was the perfect opportunity to see it.

Friday we buy our tickets in advance in order to get decent seats; YAY seat selector!

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Saturday is finally here. It’s cheat, movie and kid-free day!! Yes I only count Saturday as kid-free because we dropped him off Friday and would be picking him up Sunday. I’m thinking what could go wrong?! We already bought our tickets, my hair was pre-poo’ed and we had snacks ready to eat. All was going as planned. While hubby relaxed and snacked I started on my hair. This is when it all went down hill. I was getting ready to dry my hair when the plug to my dryer fell in water (no worries I’m fine). I started to panic because this is the only dryer that is both fast and straightens. I could either find an alternate or panic. Well I multi-tasked and did both.

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I panicked, decided my hair couldn’t be fought and came up with a plan B. Plan B was detangling, moisturizing, braiding in 4 big braids and covering it with a knit hat. I was only a quarter of the way done when I saw the time and knew I had to go so we weren’t late. I put all the items above in my backpack purse, picked out my knit hat and ran out the door. I had to finish my hair and put on makeup while in the car and before anyone else could see me. First I set up all the products then realized it was horribly unsafe to put all the products out as one could roll under the brake and prevent us from being able to stop. After re-positioning everything I got to work. Right as I was parting my hair, I look up to see a homeless man staring directly at me either wondering what I’m doing or thinking I’m insane. Light is green and we’re off. I’m now in a showdown with my edges and finally success! I win 🙂 As we enter the parking garage, I’m freaking out because my brows already struggle under normal conditions and I could only imagine what horror the light would reveal once I entered the theater. Turns out I did a decent job but I put on my sunglasses just in case.

Finally we sit down to enjoy the movie; EARLY might I add. The movie was both visually appealing and spoke to me in a way I didn’t expect. Even hubby thought the story line was one of Marvel’s best. I’m torn whether or not to do a full on movie review as I am sure there are tons out there but I might do a His/Her review anyways. All in all this was a very amusing yet emotional movie date.