Monday, April 28, 2014

Early Morning Workouts (Bikini Series Day 1)

My alarm went off at 5:05.  AM.  On purpose.  I actually got up that early to work out.  Again, I say, on purpose. 

I went to the kitchen to grab my water and stood at the counter ready to cry.  Seriously.  Like, grown up tears.  I did not want to be awake.  I did not like this new fitness-minded self.  I would not be doing this again tomorrow. 

Huffily, I trudged up that stairs to the elliptical that awaited me.  I flipped the dang thing on and got moving.  And then something kind of weird happened.  I started to actually kind of love it. 

I loved being up and moving and starting my day that way.  I really liked not rushing directly from my bed to the process of getting ready for work.  I enjoyed my morning "jog" in my unfinished upstairs, all on my own. 

Told you, weird.  Because this is so not me.  But I'm thinking it's going to be.

It's the first day of the Bikini Series that we told you about a week or so ago.  It is a fitness challenge that lasts for the next eight weeks, taking you right up until the official start of summer.  Each week the Tone It Up team sends out a weekly workout schedule to follow.  You don't have to get up with the freaking chickens to make it work.  However, they suggest morning workouts, so I'm giving it a try. 

I took all my measurements again last night.  (That's always a fun way to spend a Sunday night, right?  "Hey, Honey, come tell me exactly how big my thigh is!"  Whatever.)  And I weighed this morning.  An even more fun way to spend a Monday morning.   

If you still want to join us on this challenge, go to and sign up for the 2014 Bikini Series!  It's free to join.  There are nutrition tips and tons of workouts and positive motivation. 

And please do not worry if you can't drag your rear out of bed at 5AM.  Or even 6AM.  Just do the
workouts whenever you can fit them it. 

I can't promise I'm going to love this early morning stuff every day.  But, for right now, I'm all in.  And for me, that's a big step. 

It's time to get healthy for all the right reasons.  Not just to look better in my clothes.  But to feel better all the time.  To live better.  To show my little boy what healthy looks like.  It had to start with Day 1. 

Bring on Day 2! 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Worry? Who, Me?

I can be a bit of a worrier.  I've probably said that before, haven't I?  Thoughts of what could go wrong get stuck in my head and there they stay until the reality of what actually happens either proves them wrong or, gasp, proves them right. 

Truth be told they're usually wrong.  I mean, I've got a pretty good imagination for the potentially terrible.  I can make the thought of any might-be-bad situation exponentially worse within the confines of my mind.  To the point of being almost disappointed once what transpires is pretty comparatively mild.  I mean, can you imagine the one-liners, conversation points and funny, life changing stories I haven't been able to use because the people involved in my made up scenarios didn't stick to my imaginary scripts?  It's a shame, really. 

Except that it's not. 

It's good that things don't go near as badly as I think they will--with a few exceptions.  Exceptions can be doozies.  And doozies are not good.  Ever. 

Steven and I have a few things coming up that are causing a little anxiety for us.  Some personal, some professional.  (But really, don't professional things affect the personal?)  None of it is bad stuff.  Not now any way.  In fact it all has the potential to be very good.  But I guess the very good, if it doesn't go like you want, can turn around and smack you right across the face.  And that's what I want to be ready for.  Ain't no bad news gonna come at me like a ninja.  I'm going to be prepared.  So I'm going to over think, over analyze and potentially over dramatize (who, me?) what could go wrong.  Just in case it doesn't go right. 

And it leaves me feeling anxious, tired and a bit like I might throw up.  And that, my friends, is not any way to live. 

During one of my quick passes through Pinterest (does anyone ever get on Pinterest quickly?) I saw this little bit of truth: 

There's that lightbulb.  Jess, you're a smart cookie.  Let's act like it.  Stuff is going to happen.  The little, the big.  Getting all freaked out about which one is going to happen next isn't going to stop either of them.  And ruining all the really good stuff going on right now over-thinking what might not even happen later is a waste of time, energy and good creativity. 

I've already told you that I'm trying to think more positively about the things that are going on in my life and the people that come in and out of it.  Well, it's about time to get that way about the future stuff, too. 

Live in the here and now.  God's taking care of tomorrow.  And when tomorrow gets here, I'll deal with it.  Whether it's little or big.  Whether it stinks or comes up roses. 

This stuff isn't easy.  When I think about what may come I still get those butterflies in my belly.  I'm human.  I'm a mom.  I'm a girl, for crying out loud! I'm just plain hardwired for some of this. But the best way to battle those feelings, to stop the self-nagging, and tomorrow-dreading, is to turn to the only One who has any control over any of it anyway.  Trust Him and His plan.  He's got this, remember?  And just because it may not turn out just like you want does not mean it won't turn out just as it should.  Pray for the peace that comes with truly believing that. 

Then worry can't steal any more todays.  And tomorrow doesn't seem quite so scary. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quinoa for Quinoa Haters

I'm kind of in love with quinoa right now.  It's true.  And I've got the Pinterest boards to prove it.

This stuff is good and good for you.  Killer combo.  The best part?  You don't have to dress it up too much for me to chow down.  I'll take it plain, just as is, thank you very much. 

However, there really is so much you can do with this little gem of a grain.  And that's probably good, since my husband has yet to embrace all things quinoa.   Don't get me wrong, he'll eat it. But usually only when it is hiding in the chili we make (that's a killer recipe you can find here) or underneath a good dollop of barbecue sauce.

For some reason he's just not getting into the quinoa tossed with steamed veggies like I am.  When I put that on his plate, I swear he's thinking, "Can't we just eat rice?  For the love of all things edible, won't she just make rice?!"

No she won't. 

But I will keep trying to make things with quinoa that he won't gag on or spit out.  You're welcome, honey.

So last night we tried a One Pan Mexican Quinoa that--wait for it--everyone in my house loved.  Yeah, you heard me.  Even the almost-three-year-old gobbled it up.  "Can I have another bite, Mommy?"  When that sentence is not about cake, it's music to this mommy's ears. 

I found the recipe on Pinterest (um, duh) by none other than my favorite food blogger, Chung-Ah of Damn Delicious (and again I say, duh).  I mean, this girl might have to start cutting me a check for all the advertising I give on Caffeine & Concealer!  I'm joking of course--sort of

However, she's got the best ideas and this was no exception.  This one was easy and fast.  Two of my requirements for weeknight cooking.  And, it was made with quinoa and other good for you ingredients, making it a guilt-free meal as well.  Win! 

The recipe is below. (Taken directly from Damn Delicious--all credit to Chung-Ah.  The picture is
hers, too.)

The only change I made was eliminating the extra salt it called for.  I'm not a salt-adder (Word?  No? Fine.).  I don't think it's necessary when you already have canned items (like the tomatoes, and broth) that will have sodium in them.  And I'm always interested in keeping the sodium to a minimum.  Just a personal choice. 

Oh, and I didn't add the cilantro.  I don't like cilantro that much.  Again, just a personal thing.  So I guess I changed two itty-bitty things. 

So, if you're a quinoa hater, try this out.  It may not make you love it with steamed veggies.  But I bet you this won't be the last time you make this meal.  Hate no more! 


One Pan Mexican Quinoa
Damn Delicious
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
  • Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter & A Little Housekeeping

First things first, I hope you are having a wonderful Easter Sunday! Our morning started off with a very excited almost-three-year-old hunting down colorful plastic eggs all over our house. He's much better at it than we imagined he'd be and that activity took all of ten minutes. 

Easter is a wonderful day for allowing candy before--or maybe even as--breakfast and letting your living room floor look like a bag of that fake grass exploded on it.

But we'd be mistaken if we pretended that's all it was. So I wanted to take a second to say, if you ever wondered what all the hoopla was all about, look no further than Matthew 28:6. "He is not here; He is Risen, just as He said!"
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. -Matthew 28:6
We love the bunny. No doubt about it. We praise the King that died so that we may live with Him for all eternity.
Tomorrow is technically the last day of the No Junk Food Challenge. And if you'd like to stop there, you're welcome to do so.  Rachel and I have decided to continue on for another week.  You know, because we have no interest is foods made from sugary goodness or fried to crispy perfection.  The Krispy Kreme Hot Now sign has no affect on us; no, Ma'am.  We're so into health and fitness that this no junk stuff is like a freaking cake walk (See what I did there?).  Why not add more days?! 
Lies.  All lies.  We simply felt it would do us some good to add another week to even things out and give us a full month of the challenge. Plus, it really does make you feel better to not consume so much junk.  Your body loves you more.  And that is not a lie.  Promise. 
I do have to confess that I cheated yesterday and ate the world's best coconut doughnut.  But it was at church while I was serving for our Saturday Easter service.  I kind of felt like it was God giving His blessing since it was offered at church.  Who am I to tell the Big Guy no? 
And, to offset that little slip-up I did this workout today:
Somebunny ♡s you!! Easter Bunny workout ;)
Believe me, I do not feel guilty about that doughnut anymore!  This one will definitely work your tail out!  No matter how fluffy. 
And get used to seeing these two ladies on our blog; we're going to do their Bikini Challenge starting April 28th.  We'll take you along for the ride.  And, please, don't let the title scare you.  The last time I wore a bikini I think I was three.  I don't expect to slip back into that little red, ruffled number when this is done.  But we have seen some of the Before & After stories from the Tone It Up website and they're pretty impressive. 
These two gals are quite the motivators and we think you'll like them.  If you want to sign up for the challenge (it's FREE!), head on over to their website ( and go to the page for Bikini Series 2014.  They'll send you a starter pack of information with a few recipes and some tips. 
Have a wonderful week! 

Friday, April 18, 2014

On a Positive Note

I am not the most naturally positive person.  I mean, I'm looking at that glass like everyone else.  And honestly, I'm thinking it needs more sweet tea.  But that's just me.

Don't get me wrong, I can find the silver linings in clouds and I can smile when things aren't so wonderful.  Just because positivity doesn't come automatically for me, doesn't me that it fails to come at all.  I just have to work at it.  Because I want it.  Because I need it.  I believe we all do. 

As I've gotten older I've tried to make a conscious decision to be more positive, to say nicer things and, the hardest of all, to think better things.  After all, that's where it starts.  In your own mind.  The people around you that are saying negative things about others, or even themselves, are only repeating the things rolling around in their minds. 

But then they say them. 

And now you've heard them. 

And the positivity that you're holding onto takes a beating. 

For people like me, a girl who is sometimes hanging on by her fingernails to keep her positive thoughts, that's a big deal. 

This world we live in has no shortage of ugliness and meanness and sadness.  There's enough hate and greed and anger to go around this planet more times than we can count.  And it's easy to get caught up in that.  Maybe too easy. 

Things will not always go your way.  People will cut you off on the highway.  Some may not say thank you when you hold the door for them.  People you love will hurt you.  People you don't like will hurt you.  Fairness is not a given; it is going to rain right after you wash your car; no one will show up for your party; someone you love is going to pass away far sooner than you wanted them to and work is always going to be work. 

Our instinct is to say things like, "well, it's just my luck..." It is not your luck.  It is your life.  And it is the only one you're going to get. And in the midst of all that crappy stuff, there is so much wonderful stuff.  I bet if you look back, even on your worst day, there was still an amazing show of love.  Someone loved you enough to listen to you complain without interrupting.  Loved you enough to care that you were upset.  Loved you enough to just sit by your side or make you smile when you didn't think you could.  Or maybe even loved you enough to tell you shut up and deal with it.  Love comes in lots of forms, you know.

That's the positive.  It's there.  Look for it.  Make it a point to seek it out. 

Make it your mission to surround yourself with people who build you up and point out the good
stuff.  We need the good stuff.  And we need to pass it along.    

So pick up your glass, be it half-full or half-empty, and drink it down with a smile on your face.  No matter what it looks like now, it can always be filled again. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bare Minerals eye shadow- a review of Queen Tiffany

I have to start this post out by saying that I am not usually a fan of loose powder for foundation, eye shadows or blush. They are just too messy for me and I don’t have time for mess or cleaning up in the morning!

So when I found Queen Tiffany by Bare Minerals (a loose shadow), I was so surprised that I liked it! It’s a gorgeous neutral color! It’s not too bronze (orange) or too brown- it’s just a couple of shades darker than my skin tone. PERFECT COLOR FOR SUMMER!!!! It is a shimmery color so if you don’t like to shimmer- you probably won’t like this color.

I have tried applying it 3 different ways (with my finger sans primer, with a brush sans primer and with a brush with primer). Here are my results:

·        I felt like it wasn’t even when I applied it with my finger, almost like it clumped and was darker in one spot.

·        It did ok applying it with a brush without any primer and actually stayed on most of the day.

·        I prefer to apply it with a brush after primer is applied- It just looked better and lasted longer!

·        I did get some shadow to fall on my cheeks- this is called “fall out” in the cosmetic world and is an artist’s nightmare! The two solutions for this problem is to:

o    Place a tissue under your eye (before you apply the shadow) to catch the powder -my preferred method.

o   Do your eye makeup first and then apply your foundation, powder and blush.

Bare Minerals shadows can be found at Ulta or Sephora and are around $14 each. It’s a pretty big pot of powder but I’m not sure how long it will last since I feel like I do waste more than with  a pressed shadow so, I will keep you posted on that and hopefully I will get better at using it and start to waste less!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

HIIT me!

I feel like I need to start this post with a bit of a disclaimer.  I am in no way, shape or form any kind of fitness expert.  Those of you that know me personally are probably giggling a little right now at the mere thought that I felt compelled to even make that statement.  However, I am going to be writing about getting your workout on, so I thought it might be best to let you know that my "expertise" is purely, well, not.

Rachel and I both want you to do what is best for you and your overall health.  So don't do anything we say to do simply because we think it's a good idea.  None of these things are my ideas anyway.  I'm totally stealing them from people that actually know what they are talking about.  The real experts, if you will.

Ok, now that we've gotten that out of the way...

I've been working pretty hard to lose some weight for the past, I don't know, 25 years?  I'm 32 now so I'm going to go ahead and add "weight issues" to the list of things that I've just kind of been dealing with as long as I can remember.  And if I look back on my life as a whole, there was not one time period that I can pinpoint as my "I'd like to be that size again" era.  I've just always been heavier than I wanted to be.

But I wasn't terribly willing to do anything about it.  I mean, I love a cookie.  And if being smaller meant no cookies, well, what kind of life was that?

Until the day that hit my lowest point.  I remember it pretty vividly.  I was getting ready for my sweet friend Jaime's bridal shower.  I was getting increasingly agitated as I stood in my closet among piles of clothes that didn't fit me.  Funny, they fit me just a few months, maybe even a few weeks, ago.  I looked at myself in the mirror and at the size I had let myself become and got so upset that I just started crying.  And I cried so hard that I got sick.  And that was my rock bottom.  That was the day that I decided I would not live like that any more.

And over the next six months, I lost 40 pounds.

Then I got pregnant.

And I gained 39.  But I didn't gain back the whole 40!

After I had Jack (Almost three years ago this May.  Let's not talk about it.  My baby is most definitely not a baby anymore.) it took me a while to get back on the weight loss bandwagon.  I lost about 30 of the 39 that I put on.  And then I gained 15, then I lost 10, then I gained...

Well, you see where this was headed.  Nowhere.  Circles.  Fat Circles.  sigh*

But then one day I got angry again. Oddly enough it was when I was trying to find something to wear.  Clothes must be a real motivator for me.  Hey, whatever works.  Between that and the thought of raising a child that didn't know how to be healthy (one of my biggest fears in this life) I snapped out of my "phone it in"  approach to my health and fitness.

I got up off my rear end and started moving.  I started looking for ways to eat better.  I read up on the right way to work out.  And how to work out more efficiently.  More often.  I don't have a lot of time.  If you are like me, you don't either.  But, so what?  I bet you have ten minutes.  And in those ten minutes you can do this little number:

This is a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout that I found on Pinterest.  And it will kick your booty.

You do each exercise as hard as you can for 45 seconds, resting for 15 seconds between each. Let me tell you, 45 seconds is a lot longer than you think.  And 15 seconds is a hell of a lot shorter.  Funny how that works out.

The first time I did this, I spent longer on You Tube watching videos of how to properly do Mountain Climbers and Burpees than I actually did doing the exercises.  When you don't know how to do something, Google it!  Just make sure you're doing it right!  It's very easy to hurt yourself and that defeats the whole purpose.

Also, I don't do lunges.  I have terrible knees and just about every list of "Exercises You Should Not Do If You Have Bad Knees" will include lunges.  They are wonderful and really work.  So if you can do them, go for it!

Why HIIT?  Look, I don't know all the science behind it, and I won't even try to repeat to you all the stuff I've read from the people that actually went to school to learn it.  But this is the most effective form of exercise for burning fat.

Drink your water (lots of it), eat your veggies/fruits and lean proteins (in healthy portions), and do High Intensity Interval Training.

It works.  This, along with the No Junk Food challenge that we've been doing has helped me take off an additional four pounds in the last week.  That's a big deal for the girl that used to be able to put that much ON in a weekend.  I told you, cookies are my kryptonite.

To date, I've lost 72 pounds.  And I'm not done yet.  My ultimate goal is to lose a total of 100. For the first time ever I feel like that is a real possibility.

And let's get something straight.  I still eat cookies.  But I eat them far less regularly.  And I savor every little bite.  

And one more thing--we're on Pinterest now!!  Come follow Caffeine & Concealer! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Learning to take a compliment

Why is it so hard to take a compliment?????  This is something that has become my self-peeve and I am truly working on accepting compliments with grace and (here’s the hard part) believing the person that gave me the compliment!

Typical conversation between ladies:

Lady A: Oh Lady B, I just love your shoes!
Lady B: These old things, you've seen these before!

I’m not a professional compliment receiver yet but I think the proper response to a compliment is just a simple “Thank you!" And since Lady A might have seen them before does that mean she can't like them when she sees them again??? Ok, that was probably far fetched but you get the point!

Jessica and I both confessed that we struggle the most when it comes to our husbands. I mean these are the guys that fell in love with us knowing all of our flaws* and still desired to marry us- they still think we are pretty and we should be thankful for that and just give them a kiss when they tell us instead of telling them they need to get their eyesight checked!!! 


<3 Rachel
On a side note... it's day 4 of the No Junk Challenge!!!!!!!!

*I am a bad horrible driver, I sometimes put the toilet paper roll on the holder backwards and I am the least organized person you know (Yes- I know the middle one could have been a deal breaker but he married me anyways! Thank God- Have you seen our kid, he is the cutest thing ever!!!!!)