May 2, 2015

Dinner Made Simple with Hamburger Helper

As parents, we all know how busy life can get. I recently signed Landon up for soccer, which was a first unto itself. But then, I went and signed myself up to be assistant coach for his team! It was a great learning experience for me, both on and off the field. Our practices and games were set during dinnertime, often leaving me scrambling beforehand to whip something up or grabbing something on the way home. Luckily, a friend gave me an easy family dinner idea. Hamburger Helper; why hadn't I thought of that?!

It's a quick, simple, value meal. All you need is ground beef (or chicken) and you're set! 

Hamburger Helper Rebate

Not to mention, Hamburger Helper boasts a variety of dinner ideas that even the pickiest member of the family will enjoy. (Chris is more of a lasagna man, while I prefer Mexican)

Crunchy Taco Dinner

You can customize each dinner to your liking. The Crunchy Taco dinner is great as a salad, simply by adding fresh Spinach or Romaine. And if you love all things spicy like me, you could throw in some fresh or pickled jalapeƱos! 

Or, just eat as is- that works too ;)

Hamburger Helper Dinner

To make dinner even easier and more affordable, check out the Hamburger Helper Rebate. They're giving you FREE beef, to help you with the dinnertime scramble. 

Hamburger Helper Rebate

When life gets too busy, don't let dinner be just another item on the perpetual "to-do" list. Let Hamburger Helper give you a break!

Click below to learn more about the free beef rebate:

Hamburger Helper Rebate

* Thank you to Helper for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to try your Free Ground Beef Rebate!

March 28, 2015

The Notion of Home

There is this moment I have been recounting as of late. I had been in labor with Landon for twelve hours and after another round of pushing and holding my breath and pushing some more, the doctor stood up and said, "We need to perform an emergency cesarean." The contractions continued to wash over me and suck me under like a strong current, but I wasn't ready to call in help. I didn't want to admit to what felt at the time like a very personal defeat.

My baby wouldn't come out. No matter what I said or did, how hard I pushed or how much I begged. I couldn't do it. He would have to be cut from my womb.

The nurses began to prep me for surgery. It was all such a flurry of activity; the fetal heart machine beeping, an oxygen mask being placed over my mouth and nose. The pain continued to course through me, worsening on one side, leaving me curled up in agony. And all I remember thinking at the time was, why does this have to be so hard? This too. Not one thing in my life has ever come naturally or easily to me. I'd had to claw my way out of the darkest parts of my childhood alone. I'd seen and experienced too much, too young. I'd survived cruelty and injustice, absence, poverty and familial wars. I'd been told growing up that I wasn't good enough, wouldn't amount to anything, the odds were stacked against me. 

Moving away, working two jobs to put myself through school and building a career after graduation was supposed to make life easier, wasn't it? Things would happen on my terms. 

Only, that's not how life works, despite the various ways we go about living it. Hardships have a way of leveling the playing field. My heart beats no differently now than it did back then.

The moment before I was wheeled down to the operating room, tears streaming down my face, I said, "I want to go home."


When my life feels so far beyond my control, I think of that moment in the hospital and what those five words really meant as I said them.

I want to go home, which at various times in my life has translated to:
I can't take the loneliness one minute more.
These problems feel too big to handle.
This room feels so empty.
My heartache is permeating everything around me.

I want to go home.
He never loved me.
She wasn't a true friend.
I have been used up and spit out one too many times.
People are not as good and kind as I once believed.

I want to go home.
I feel like I'm constantly failing.
I don't know which path to take.
I'm scared that I'll never have the answers.

I want to go home.
This Winter has lasted so long.
My reflection caught me off-guard.
No one seems to get it.
I'm searching for a feeling and I've realized it's not here.

I want to go home.

But the thing is, there isn't any place you can go in the world that will take you there. Believe me, I've tried. Life is both cruel and kind, fair and unjust, full of joy and despair. For every new love, there lies a broken heart. For every tear shed, a smile born elsewhere. 

There have been many moments since that day four years ago in the hospital where I have uttered those five words, but today, I think I finally understand. With time often comes clarity. The lesson here being that the feeling of home has to come from within. It can't be bought or bottled or run to. There is no pill that will transport you there, no person or animal who can harness it for you 100% of forever. There is no amount of pushing or begging that will make it so.

You have to find it in yourself. You have to be your biggest fan, your endless support system. Even when it hurts like hell and you can't breathe and tears are streaming down your face and you don't think you can possibly take another minute of whatever it is you are going through, close your eyes and try again. And once you do move past the hardship and ease into life once more, rest assured that it will shift beneath you again, forcing you to adapt and reconfigure your notions. This is a lifelong lesson.

When you finally realize this, you won't have to look any further. You'll have made it.

*image via

March 26, 2015

Get Fit with ClassPass

Going to the gym can be a love/hate thing for me, especially when I feel like it's becoming too monotonous. My gym does offer some classes, which helps, but doesn't quite shake things up as much as I'd like. 

That's why, when ClassPass reached out to me last month to announce their program launch in Kansas City, I was so excited! Their program extends from coast to coast in many major cities and even a few overseas. I just finished my first month and decided it's the perfect time to share details on how it works.

You may be asking: What is ClassPass? It is a monthly membership service which provides you access to a wide variety of fitness studios in your city. There's zumba, barre, martial arts, cycling, pilates, crossfit and so much more. I took barre, hot yoga, jazzercise and even a pole fitness class!

Fitness with ClassPass

It's really simple to sign up and manage your classes as well. You log in:

Once you're logged in, you can click on the classes tab and search based on times, days, classes, instructors, proximity, etc. Click reserve and you're all set! You even get a reminder email with instructions on what you should bring and whether or not you need to arrive early for set-up. 

The thing I love most about ClassPass is the variety. I no longer feel like I'm in a workout rut. The only downside that I ran across was that the studios I tried didn't offer childcare. I'm assuming most fitness boutiques don't. The good news is however, they offer early morning and evening classes which can help combat the childcare issue. The hubs was more than happy to watch the kiddos so I could take a few in the evening. 

If you hate the idea of monotony in your workout, this program would definitely be for you!

Be sure to check them out on Facebook or visit their site for more information.

March 4, 2015

Swimsuit Season: 2015 Edition

Swimsuits are adorning mannequins all over town lately and I must say, I'm actually pretty excited this year. There are SO many great styles!

Here are some of my favorites and I've got them broken down into categories:

These are perfect for surfing and I plan to do quite a bit of that when I'm visiting back home this Summer!

Then there's the sexy, but not necessarily functional if you're doing anything besides laying around look (i.e. a beach day with friends, not chasing after the kids look)

Southwest print

The wild card one-piece:

And then there's the functional, yet still very cute suits:

Love the color block style

Polka dots are small enough to keep this flirty

Perfect color combo!

 Annnnnddd, there's the mix and match option. Victoria's Secret is my go-to. This one of the options I picked out.

So tell me, have you picked out a new suit? Are you a bikini, tankini, monokini, itsy bitsy or one piece gal? 

March 3, 2015

Spring Look Book

Are we all finally sick of Winter?? I know I am! Saturday morning, just as I was leaving my hot Yoga class, it began to snow. All day long it snowed and we got so restless being stuck inside that everyone jumped at the idea of shoveling the driveway. The driveway! All four of us grabbed shovels and in ten minutes, it was cleared and we all sort of looked at each other like, now what? Sunday morning, there was newly fallen snow and it was bitter outside and ridiculously windy as I drove to dance class and I just sighed. Yesterday though, Landon asked why the snow was melting and said he wishes there would always be snow and I respectfully disagreed, because, yuck. Winter, we're through. Finito. Done. 

I've been perusing my favorite stores for Spring colors lately. Lots of Southwest and Aztec prints coming up this year, which I'm very happy about. Bright, bold colors work really well with my olive skin. I also love some of the more toned down looks. Lots of stripes again this year, it seems. And skirts for dayyyyyyyyssss. 

I just want to take a moment to say how good I feel about the fashion era we're living in right now. Everything is in-there is no right or wrong here. (except for fringe and glitter. These things will always be wrong) 

You can throw on a beanie and ripped jeans and go grunge. 

Or you can don a striped shirt and a pretty mid-length skirt and be preppy. 

Or you can do ripped shorts and a tank with lots of necklaces and bangles and go bohemian chic. 

It's all good! But maybe you already knew this? I am finally catching on and developing styles and fits that suit me, so forgive me if I'm a little late to the party. ;)

I've been pinning like crazy and I can't wait to start putting my Spring/Summer wardrobe together! Here are a few more looks I love:

What styles are you looking forward to for Spring?? Link me to your Pinterest style board! And while you're over there, check out mine for more fun warmer weather fashion ideas. Tomorrow, we'll address swimsuits ;)


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