Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Review

Hi blog readers. I apologize for my time away- but I really haven't felt like blogging lately, since our dog, Roscoe of 15 years passed away 1 week and 3 days ago- We still miss him so much and this won't be the last time that I write about him- he will be a part of our lives forever and always..

I do want to talk to you today about an amazing cosmetics brand -if you have visited my blog enough times- you know that I love my cosmetics! 

Lauren, from Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques sent me several products to review- creme foundation in warm 20, creme concealer in warm medium, blushes in 3 different colors-petals, mulberry & flushed.

From the LBC Website:
Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques is a new and innovative approach to makeup. We use the finest, natural and certified organic plant oils and extracts, soothing flower essences, plus beautiful minerals and pigments from the earth to create the most exquisite, healthy makeup available for your skin. Combined, these opulent ingredients have exceptional skin-softening, moisturizing and anti-aging abilities that help revitalize, rejuvenate, and restore your skin's vibrant glow.

Why organic? Our skin absorbs up to 60% of what is applied to it. Most products today contain toxic chemicals, petroleum-based ingredients, artificial colors and fragrances, and harmful preservatives that are absorbed into your skin, clog the pores, and actually cause your skin to age faster! Organically grown plants have been found to contain greater amounts of vitamins, nutrients, and anti-oxidants than plants grown with pesticides. We believe your skin deserves the very best that Nature has to give. Our line of cosmetics and skin care products are purely natural and organic.  No parabens, chemicals, or unnecessary fillers are used in the creation of our products.

The creme foundation has some amazing ingredients like organic argan oil and extracts of green tea, passionflower & raspberry. I love knowing that wearing this foundation all day that it is also providing nourishing nutrients to my skin! The creme concealer ingredients include organic jojoba, organic rosehip, neem, organic olive, organic green tea and eyebright, to name a few.

And let's be honest, there has been lots of tears & messed up makeup in the last few weeks and I am happy to say that I have been really pleased with Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques in making me look like a normal glowing, happy person. No really, thanks so much.

Not to be outdone, the cheek colours also have some great ingredients like organic neem extract, organic olive extract, organic raspberry extract and comfrey.

I feel like my skin looks 50% better and is glowing more since I've been wearing the LB Cosmetiques for the last few weeks.

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques also offers skincare products, mascara, pressed foundation, and even Gift Certificates! I am looking forward to trying out some more of the products soon! (Especially since I have had to re-apply so many times- thank goodness for great cosmetics! Am I right girls or am I right?!).

*The Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques were sent to me to review free of charge, however I was not paid any money to do this product review. Any products that I review are of my own personal opinion and experience.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A very sad post that I have been putting off for a while...

Honestly, I don't even know what to begin writing, a first for me I'm sure..the past seven days have been the most difficult my husband and I have ever been through. I have never been in such a deep dark depression in my life before and I have suffered some traumatic, sad things in life..I have never cried so much in my life or missed anyone so much..just when I think the tears were gone, they would come back again..just like they flow now..

I have been putting off writing this post, because I have been trying to bury my feelings, it just hurts too much to allow myself to remember how much I loved Roscoe- it's so much easier to ignore it and push down my feelings..to remember how he greeted us at the door when we came home or giving me kisses every day -remembering Roscoe feels like someone is stabbing me in the heart over and over.. I would much rather physical pain than the emotional pain that I can't seem to escape..

I miss him so much- I couldn't bring myself to eat for 5 days, I have been barely existing day to day- I can normally put on a smile and cover up my pain, but this time the pain was just too deep and I couldn't cover it up- this extreme sadness just overwhelmed me and nothing could make me happy, I could have won 5 billion in the lottery and it wouldn't have made me happy- only bringing Roscoe back would have made me smile..Every time that I thought I could push back the tears, more would come..

For us, Roscoe wasn't just a pet for 15 years, he was our child- we raised him from a tiny baby, just a few weeks old and we carried him everywhere with us. When he took his first steps, he immediately started following us around everywhere- we called him our little shadow. We fell in love with him and nothing in our lives would ever be the same from that day forward...

How do you put 15 years of love in one post?? It's not possible- so that's why I just now decided that I will begin writing about Roscoe a few times per month- I want to remember all of the amazing times we had together- even as painful as it was to lose him- I would do it all over again, just to spend 15 years with Roscoe again- he brought so much joy, so much love to our lives.We loved him so much, we protected him from anyone who was unkind to him. There was many many times when we wouldn't leave the house when he was older and not doing well because we didn't know how long we had left to spend with him. We would let him get by with everything, I didn't want us to regret anything with Roscoe- we wanted him to have everything that he needed to make him happy. Nothing was too much for our baby..even when he was paralyzed for 8 months, we stood by him and held his body up so he could use the restroom, we carried him around every day in a baby sling, bought him the best vitamins to help him get better- there was nothing that we wouldn't do for him..that is true love..

After his death- I went through all the stages- sadness, depression, guilt, no appetite, anger, bargaining with God, denial, disbelief, in shock, thinking that I still heard Roscoe or that I was in a bad dream and that I was going to wake up soon and it all really wouldn't have happened. I even prayed to God hours and even days after he died that I had faith that he could resurrect him like he did Lazarus- I literally knew that I was going to come home and Roscoe would be there alive..when he wasn't, I was depressed all over again. Then we just did everything to stay busy, go to work, work on house stuff at the land- anything to stay out of the apartment..but we still had to come home at some point and walking through that door was the worst feeling of all- to know that Roscoe wasn't going to get up and come walking toward us like he always did-so excited for us to be home and I would scoop him up and give him kisses all over...

That Friday after work, my husband dropped me off at the apartment- I didn't feel good so I wanted to go straight home (Later I realized that me being sick was God working) I would have never forgiven myself if I hadn't spend that afternoon with Roscoe...as soon as I got home, like I always did, I scooped Roscoe up and kissed him and told him how much I loved him...I took him outside and walked him (I didn't know that it would be the very last time..)I even held him the entire time that I made him something to eat- I made him a plate to eat and he was still hungry, so I made him another little bit- I sat him on the bed and sat on the floor at his eye level and hand fed him and looked into his little eyes, he sometimes had this look like he was saying thank you with his eyes and I always knew what he was trying to say...when he finished eating, I held him in my lap while I finished watching one of my shows. I always did that- he would sit in my lap when I checked my emails, listened to you-tube music or wrote blog posts...I always tried to spend every moment that I could with him -always remembering in the back of my mind that he was older and that I may not have forever with him..

When my husband got home, he sat on the couch and I would bring Roscoe to him so they could spend time together, like they always did..Roscoe adored that man...he would just lay in the crook of his arm and look up at him...many years ago, I realized how much they needed that time together and I would push them together knowing that one day it would mean the world to both of them.. I believe that God guided me in doing these things...

Later we all watched Survivor together then my husband and Roscoe went to bed and I ended up staying up about 30-40 minutes later enjoying some television on my own. I remember feeling kind of down and I thought to myself..why are you down? Everything is going so well- Roscoe is walking and healthy, the house is going up, you love your job, your husband, family and friends..there was no reason at all why I should feel sadness. Now looking back, I had a sadness come over me because I knew something wasn't quite right..

A few minutes later, Roscoe jumped off the bed and came looking for me. He did that sometimes- he hated when my husband and I would be in separate places- he would go room to room spending time with each of us..I immediately scooped him up and we went to bed and he was happy..Little did I know, that hours later our entire lives would be turned upside down and changed forever. 

I remember Roscoe woke up coughing- not his normal cough, this time it was different..it was ragged and sounded like he was having a hard time breathing. I immediately laid my hands on his back and began praying for God's healing or to please take him- I didn't want him suffering, it just broke my heart to see him suffer. He finally ended up dozing back off and I just laid right beside him, cuddling him and kissing his little back..I had the hardest time sleeping at all that night. Shortly after, he woke up again and started making this gurgled bark and there was something about it that wasn't right. Roscoe hadn't barked any for a very long time and this bark sounded upset like he was trying to tell us something important- there was a desperation to it. That's when I again told my husband, something is wrong..we then turned on the light and picked him up to lay between us on the pillow. Roscoe's paw touched my husband and he again barked the gurgled bark- I could tell his airflow was getting more shallow- that's when I told my husband again, something isn't right and I began praying over him again- begging God to heal his body or take him so he wouldn't suffer- we just couldn't handle watching our baby suffer..I know now that Roscoe was trying to tell us that he loved us and wanted to say thank you for the life we had given him- he couldn't speak and his bark was the only way that he could get it across, it was so sad that he didn't have much breath left but he wanted us to know that he loved us...

The next few moments seemed to go by in slow motion..I knew he was going and I told my husband that we had to tell him goodbye or we would never get the chance again.. My husband was in denial and didn't want to believe it- I am usually the one in fantasy world, but I know that night that God shook my mind into reality- my husband started telling him bye and we just kept saying, Mommy and Daddy love you, we love you so much. Roscoe kept holding on, he was worried about us (he always felt like he needed to protect me) and we had to tell him it was okay to let go (even though our hearts were breaking into pieces), that we loved him very much and that's when he finally let go and he lost bowel control, that's when I picked him up and my husband and I were crying..I was holding him in my arms when he took his last breath..we couldn't move from the bed for a while, we were in disbelief and shock. I remember asking my husband to check his pulse several times..

Finally, we took Roscoe to the bathroom, where I took Roscoe his last bath and dried him off with a towel and blow-dried his little body. My husband clipped his nails and we cleaned his little ears, knowing that it would be the last time. We took our time...we didn't want to let him go, we wanted to spend every extra moment with him..Even a week after, I can't bring myself to wash that towel or the shirt that I was wearing when he took his last breath in my arms...I still cuddle up in his blanket and smell his scent...I haven't moved his food bowl and I still have his cup of organic milk in the fridge. The cup that he ate organic ice-cream out of on that Friday night is still sitting on the sink, unwashed- I can't bring myself to wash it yet..

I can't even put into words the void there is without Roscoe here with us, it's so quiet and there is a huge void in our hearts that no one or anything will ever fill the way Roscoe did. He had the biggest, sweetest personality..he made the silliest, most adorable expressions..I miss that little face. I miss holding him, I miss him sitting on my lap, his kisses, the pictures that we all took together, the places that we went together- my husband misses him sitting with him on the couch- he would lay right on his chest- he adored him..I miss our walks that we took everyday around Cherokee lake together. What we would do to have him back- believe me, I bargained every which way that I possibly could with God to please bring him back to us..we would have given up anything, done anything to have Roscoe back with us..

Do me a big favor, if you have a pet, please kiss and hold them, spend time with them.. take them with you wherever you go, whenever you can...don't take one second for granted..even though we did so many things with Roscoe, there are things that I regret like not taking Roscoe to the beach this year, even though it was on my list to bring Roscoe. I allowed life to get busy and take that away from me..it's so easy to be busy and not take time with those we love...Don't forget about your family, children and friends- take time to spend with them, you don't know when it might be your last chance...If I could have one wish, it would be to be able to rewind life and have a second chance..

Dear Sweet Roscoe, Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you so very much..we are sad that you are no longer with us, but we know that at the same time you took your last breath on this earth and our hearts broke into a billion tiny pieces that at that very moment, God was taking you into his loving arms surrounding you with his love and peace....We are happy that you are no longer suffering with old age and you can now run again with other dogs and you are soaking up the beautiful sunshine and are surrounded by love...We will see you one day again in heaven we promise. We love you so much...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Piece of My heart is gone, forever....

Early this morning at 1:58 a.m., our 14 1/2 year old dog, Roscoe passed away with my husband & I right by his side, telling him we loved him the entire time. He wouldn't go until we told him it was okay that he could go..that we would see him again in heaven. He even did a little bark right before trying to tell us & we knew that he was trying to tell us that he loved us.

Our hearts are broken-Roscoe was our best friend, companion- everything. He can never be replaced.. We love him & will see him again one day..Two days before he was soaking up the sunset in the living room of our new house- he loved life, every minute of it..Forever, a part of our hearts will have a missing piece that belongs to Roscoe..

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another House Construction Update!!

Sorry #NotSorry- another update on the house construction- this afternoon, I sat on the second story of our house- tomorrow the walls go up and by the end of the week the roof will be up as well. Next week we will have plumbing, electrical, etc. being done. I am so excited and overwhelmed!!

My favorite thing about our property is the amazing views- this is what I live for//

Sunday, March 30, 2014

House Construction Update!

Hello! Just wanted to give you an update on our House Construction. Like I mentioned in my previous post- after 3 different house plans/changes- we finally decided to go with our original plan to build an apartment over garage (our original plan from 5 years ago) for now. Our Five-year goal is to build the main house, then once it is finished- we can rent out the apartment.

The positives of building smaller is that it will be done so much faster!! Estimated completion should be early summer- hopefully sometime in July!

Secondly, we will be mortgage free and thirdly- I won't have to worry about cleaning such a large area- & anyone who knows me well, knows that I would much rather be out having fun than wasting time cleaning all of the time! (Clean the house in 5 minutes- sign me up!)

This week was mostly the concrete foundation, but next week the framing will begin-I am just soaking it all in and enjoying the process!

I have so much to do while the A/G is being built- I have already started going through things that we don't need. That way moving will be so much easier! I hope these house construction pictures aren't boring you to death- because that will be consuming my life the next few months!!

Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March is National Nutrition Month + a special Interview with Dr. Jenna A. Bell

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month?  

I was recently honored with the opportunity to interview Dr. Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD.
Dr. Jenna A. Bell is the co-author of “Energy to Burn:  The Ultimate Food & Nutrition Guide to Fuel your Active Lifestyle” (John Wiley & Sons 2009) and “Launching Your Dietetics Career” (ADA 2011).

Dr. Jenna’s expertise has been featured in Us Weekly, Self Magazine, Fitness magazine, Pilates Style, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, IDEA Fitness Journal, IDEA Health and Fitness Source, IDEA Personal Trainer, other print publications and on the web. She’s been published in scientific journals, and appeared on the Daily Buzz, ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates, local and national radio programs and podcasts.  She is also on the Chair of the Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.

Dr. Bell let me have the floor and ask as many questions as my heart desired- I am a huge healthie, so this is right up my alley!

There are so many diet plans out there (paleo, gluten-free, raw vegan, etc.)- what is the best diet to eat healthy and lose weight and still remain healthy at the same time?

Not only are there so many diet plans, there are so many ways to eat healthfully.  They all, however, have common denominators:  heavy on the fruits and vegetables, achieve adequate protein from high quality sources, meet our needs for vitamins and minerals – including those found in whole grains and dairy, match the demands of our activities (the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight) and include a variety of foods on a daily basis.  You really can’t go wrong if you eat a variety of foods within the right amount of calories.  How do you know you’re doing this?  Check for color – lots of color often equals lots of variety.  Ask yourself if you’re eating from a variety of foods groups – am I eating foods that fall into the whole grain category, do I include veggies, fruits, lean meats or plant-based protein sources, are “good” fats enjoyed, such as nuts, plant-based oils, avocados?  If you answer no to any of these questions, you may need more variety! 

Is gluten really bad for us?

No.  No.  No.  Research has shown that limiting or omitting gluten helps reduce symptoms and the progression of Celiac Disease – but for the vast number of us that have not been diagnosed with this genetic disorder, gluten is not bad. 

What is the best way to speed up a sluggish metabolism?

Get more muscles.  How to do this:  strength training exercise with adequate protein.  Fuel your workout with a high quality protein – think eggs, a reputable whey protein supplement (I recommend Abbott’s EAS Sports Nutrition’s EAS Complete Protein, which offers 25 grams of protein as well as calcium, fiber, and a host of other vitamins and nutrients), lean meats and poultry.  It takes work to initiate the muscle building process and protein to make it happen.  

What are the healthiest foods for anti-aging?

The natural compounds found in fruits and vegetables may possess anti-aging qualities.  They may help lower inflammation associated with aging and chronic disease.  They also have antioxidant properties to ward off illness and strengthen the immune system.  Also, high quality protein is important as we age – muscle loss (or sarcopenia) is far too common and some old fashioned exercise and a high quality protein will help. 

Is it possible to eat TOO little and gain weight? 

It’s definitely possible to eat too little and lose muscle mass while preserving body fat.  In order to maintain your muscles, you need fuel.  Eat too little and your body composition will suffer.  Will you lose weight?  It’s likely – but not in the say you want – no aims for a skinny fat body. 

Why do I crave salty foods, like chips at night?

Because you like them.  If you’re hungry and bored, what are you going to turn to?  Something you like to munch on…like chips.  So make sure you have a health dinner and if you need a later evening snack – reach for a Greek yogurt or string cheese to give your body some protein or even a yummy bowl of oatmeal to hold you over and keep you away from the junkier foods.   

What is one of the healthiest things that we can do for ourselves?

Be happy.  In my experience as a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist, it’s really tough to care about what you eat and become more physically active if you’re bummed out.  I think that happiness can lead to other positive behavior changes. 

What are the healthiest foods that we should have in our diet?

 Again, I refer back to variety  - you’d be hard pressed to avoid healthy foods if you ate a variety of foods every day within your calorie limits.  If you want a short list, here are my favorites:  oatmeal – the fiber in oats is beta-glucan (similar only to the fiber in barley) and it supports heart health and makes you feel full longer. Oats also contain an antioxidant (called Avenanthramides) with promising data on it’s unique and powerful pro-health benefits.  

I also think that berries, like blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are amazing. Those dark colors stem from their powerful phytochemicals that have anti-aging and health promoting properties.  

Eggs, Greek yogurt and whey protein are pretty great with their high quality protein and versatility (if you’re looking to shed pounds, EAS Lean 15 Protein Powder is only 100 calories per serving, and includes 15 grams of protein plus 5 grams of fiber – both of which help you manage appetite).  I also love the research showing that whey is topnotch for muscle growth (via protein synthesis).  Healthiest foods also include vegetables – pick a cornucopia of colors.  

Thanks again for joining us, Dr. Jenna Bell, and sharing so much great insight on how we can live a more healthy and happy life!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blog Swap #ImFitPossible

Hi there blog lovers! I’m Allison and like to share recipes and DIYs/crafts and allofthelinks from the interwebz that make me smile and chat about TV (Scandal! HIMYM! Hart of Dixie! Criminal Minds! (and more) or my recent binge watching of Friday Night Lights!), sports (lacrosse and baseball), my always present and always changing crushes, and post an obscene amount of pics of tulips and coffee on my blog …by allison on twitter and instagram. Come join the party!

I have been working from home for about 18 months and let me tell you, the snacking monster is much worse at home than it ever was when I worked in an office. And I love snacking. Melinda asked me to share some of my ideas for healthy snacks with you when you’re looking forward to an alternative to another handful of cereal (and by cereal I mean chocolate chips).

  I always have goods on hand to make smoothies – maybe not the best option if you’re in an office, but a great idea for stay-at-home Moms and Dads, those who work from home, or students. My recent favorite is milk + banana (fresh or frozen) + frozen strawberries or cherries + cacao powder. Also love coconut milk + frozen pineapple + frozen banana.

Fresh fruit. Hello spring; I've been waiting for you! With spring and summer comes reasonably prices pints of fresh berries. You see, my favorite snacks are those I can pick at, so berries, cherries, or grapes are perfect for morning snacks.

More beverages – water with lemon or hot/iced coffee or tea. Let’s face it, sometimes you’re bored or the snack craving is really just a need for hydration. I have water on my desk through the afternoon but will never say no to a second cup of coffee if I’m feeling sluggish.
Single serving bags of popcorn. But, a warning, get ready for your coworkers to hate you or be insanely jealous. I love popcorn but hated when my coworkers made it; all the cubicles by the kitchen smell like popcorn for hours.

When you’re really craving something sweet, what about chocolate covered banana bites? Sure it’s my “recipe” but they’re a perfect pick me up on a hot summer afternoon.

And then of course some days just call for cookies! I made these peaches and cream cookies with fresh Ontario peaches last summer and they are amazing (and fruit = healthy!!).

I always have some kind of cheese on hand – healthy fats and a dose of protein for that afternoon slump. My favorite is extra old white cheddar or Swiss babybelOther savory snacks? Try hard boiled eggs – I make up a half dozen on the weekends. Or avocado mashed on grainy toast/crackers.

A few things I don’t love but you may: veggies and hummus (yah, I’m the only person on the planet who thinks hummus is gross and keep the veggies to lunch or dinner). Chickpeas your thing? Try them roasted. A scoop of nut butter (oh that’s right, I’m also the only person who doesn’t like peanut butter) can do the trick.  

I love, love, love lemon Greek yogurt and fresh raspberries! So excited they are both on sale this week at my local grocery store.

And sometimes, a small handful of chocolate chips are exactly what you need.

Happy snacking! What are your favorite things to munch on?