June 2014 | Dearest Lou

Before and After: Back

First of all, thank you so much for your sweet and encouraging comments on my last fitness post and for those of you who commented via other social media. I'm still working on putting a post together for my fitness journey so far but have been swamped with other posts and other obligations that have come up this month. I'm HOPING to have something together in July.

I completely cut out cardio from my routine back at the beginning of this month in hopes of making some serious muscle gains. Originally, I was hoping to stick to a high protein and healthy carb diet while doing this; but fell off course during weeks 2-3. This last week I did very well with my diet except for this weekend. We had Panda Express for our date night dinner on Saturday and yesterday I ate 1,500 calories in dessert alone which brought my total caloric intake to a whopping 3,000 calories! Something that I have learned throughout my fitness journey is you can have desserts and "cheat" meals every once in a while as long as you hop back into the groove the following day or meal.

For those of you who are wondering, I have been following Jamie Eason's Live Fit Program the last 4 weeks and plan on continuing the program throughout the rest of the Summer. I'm not following her diet plan since I don't do well with diets but have been pretty mindful with what I'm eating and trying to consume more protein than in the past. I've also added more healthy carbs because that is what I need in order to not get horrible headaches throughout the day. I will write out an example of what I usually eat on a good day in another post later this week (:

These results are from only doing 4 back workouts throughout the month, crazy right? Here is the link to what I did week 1 &2 and here is the link to what I did week 3 & 4.

I recommend doing a weight that is super difficult once you get to reps 8-12. By rep 11&12 you should feel like you want to quit (lol). Also on weeks 3&4 I held a 10 pound weight while doing my back extensions just to feel an extra burn (highly recommended)!

3 Ingredient Baby Back Ribs

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Farmland/Smithfield, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #ReadySetRibs http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

We try and get together with my family at least twice a month for Sunday dinner. Usually dinner consists of a delicious casserole my mama makes and some tasty sides. Well, now that Summer is here and in full swing we have been using their new smoker grill. 

I recently shopped at my local Walmart for Farmlands All Natural Ribs. I was able to receive $1 off each package with this coupon (available while supplies last) from coupons.com.  Whenever I prepare a meal for my family I strive to find products with very minimal if any artificial ingredients. Farmland All Natural fresh pork is proudly raised in the U.S.A.  Fresh cuts are free from artificial ingredients and preservatives and minimally processed. If you aren't a rib fan, Farmland “all natural” tenderloin is also a great option for grilling.

Prior to this cooking experience I had never cooked ribs before. I searched online for simple smoker BBQ ribs recipes but nothing was popping up. I decided to wing it and create a super easy recipe for others in my situation. These ribs turned out so tasty and were a big hit.

Johnny's Seasoning Salt (to taste)
Stubb's Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce (enough to coat ribs)
Farmland All Natural Ribs ($1 off coupon here, available while supplies last)
Pepper (optional)

1) Preheat smoker to 325 degrees
2) Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib. It should easily peel off once you break through the membrane. 
3) Generously sprinkle Johnny's Seasoning Salt (and pepper if desired).
4) Lay ribs on smoker and cook for 2-2.5 hours.
5) Brush ribs with Stubb's Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce, and smoke an additional 5-10 minutes. 


My sister Ti is definitely enjoying the ribs (;

For more grilling ideas and tips from the BBQ Tip Masters, be sure to check out readysetribs.com!

Joe Browns Pt 2: Floral Dress

Dress: c/o Joe Browns (on sale too!)
Slip: Down East Basics
Purse: Audrey Brooke (similar here)
Bracelet: Flourish Leather
Heels: Ross
Lipstick: Mac Pink Nouveau

If you haven't already been able to tell by my recent style posts, I'm really loving floral right now. This is the second item Joe Browns sent me to style and review. I absolutely love this retro floral print dress. I wore it to church this last Sunday and it was a hit. Make sure and check out Joe Browns right now, they are having a HUGE summer online sale and this dress is currently only $29.96.

I knew this dress would be a tad bit short for my liking, so I recently purchased this cute lace skirt extender from Down East Basics. I think it really added a classy elegant touch to my overall look. This skirt extender is really going to come in handy this summer when I want to wear some of my favorite dresses and skirts that are a little too short to wear without leggings or thick tights.

E-Shakti Discount Code & Floral Dress Review

Dress: c/o EShakti
Necklace: Cheerfully Charmed (love this)
Shoes: Shoe Carnival (sold out similar here & loving these)

How lovely is this dress from E-Shakti? It is one of my favorite dresses and fits me like a glove. This dress fits me so perfectly because I sent in my custom measurements and picked the length and style of the dress. Can you name another website that does all of that for only an additional $7.50?

One of my favorite features that E-Shakti offers that other retailers often don't is that you can customize anything on their site. Simply pick out a dress, top, or skirt you like and choose what you want added or subtracted. For example, this dress I customized originally comes sleeveless but I chose to add short sleeves to it. There were also many different length options and I chose for it to hit right at my knees.

I definitely recommend EShakti for anyone who has a special occasion coming up or if you are simply in the market for a perfect top, skirt, or dress that will fit YOU just right.

Use coupon code: dlces from 6/27-7/27 for 10% off your entire order.
Right now EShakti is having an awesome special, Buy 2 Get 1 FREE!
Such a great opportunity to add some lovely items to your summer wardrobe.

Previse Skin Care: 3-Step Regime Review

Growing up I spent a considerate amount of time in tanning beds and countless hours outdoors soaking up the sun. I never used sunscreen since I don't sunburn very easily but I believe that I caused a lot of damage to my skin in those few years.

In more recent years I finally realized how bad too much sun exposure can be and even though I don't sunburn I'm still putting myself at risk for skin cancer. However, now that I'm a young mom with a toddler who loves being outdoors it's almost impossible to avoid getting some sun. We try and limit sun exposure by going out in the late evening right before sunset but the pool and splash pad are so refreshing during the hot summer days. During those times I'm constantly lathering us both up in sunscreen.

Previse Skincare’s main goal is to defend skin from the damaging effects of UV rays and environmental aggressors like pollution. Located on Previse Skincare's website is a Personal Skin CareConsultation survey that you can take in order to find out your skin type and what skin care regimen is best for you. After taking the survey I was advised that I'm Skin Type 4. My skin has a natural olive color to it, I tan very easily, and I get sun freckles like crazy in the summer. 

My 3-step Previse Care regime of products included the following:

This product helps gently remove dead skin cells, excess oil, and other contaminants from your skin. After using the product for a couple of days I could definitely see a huge difference. Usually my skin is very rough and dry, so dry to the point that I can peel dead skin off of my nose during times of drastic climate change (sorry if that was TMI).

Hydrates skin, fights free radicals and waterborne pollutants or additives like chlorine. I love that this product comes with a dropper in order to get an accurate amount with every use. I often accidentally use an excess amount of product; you can ask anyone that has ever lived with me. 

Pre-sun solution helps to prevent skin damage from sun exposure while aiding in the protection of skin cells, collagen density and elasticity over time. I love this light weight moisturizer and how easily my skin absorbs the product. I always make sure to at least use my step 3 before heading out to the pool and wearing sunscreen as well!

Overall, I'm very pleased with this set. Previse Skincare uses the utmost finest ingredients and is a top of the line skin care regime. It is definitely on the more pricey side ($130 for a 3-step care regime) but definitely worth a try. I am sensitive about my skin and Previse Skincare’s product helps my skin look great which boosts my confidence and looks great in my pictures.

You can take 15% off your order just by determining your skin type! So take advantage of that even if you have a pretty good idea of what type you may be (;

Be sure to check them out on their website and social media sites:

*Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own with exception of where I have directly copied information from the sponsor's site. Previse Skincare sent a 3-step regime in skin type 4 for my review. I was not compensated in any other way or required to post a positive review about this product.*

Joe Browns Pt 1: Floral Tunic

Tunic: c/o Joe Browns
Leggings: c/o Shop Adorn
Wedges: c/o Lulu*s
Backpack: Rue 21

I have an awesome boutique I would like to introduce to you readers today, have you heard of Joe Browns? Joe Browns is an online clothing retailer located in Leeds, England. Joe Browns is famous for their iconic bold prints and unique styles (this light and breezy floral print tunic fits both those categories). I personally love their distinctive quirky style and can spend endless amounts of time browsing their site and wishing I could buy everything my heart desires (;

Joe Browns kindly sent me this lovely light and breezy tunic to review. What drew me to this tunic is the floral print, what can I say.. I'm a sucker for anything floral, #truegrandmaatheart right here. I also think the light colors are perfect for Utah's hot/dry climate. I can easily just throw this on and a pair of shorts and sandals on a hot day and July and be set for a super hot day. 

If you are looking to add some more unique clothing to your wardrobe I highly recommend Joe Browns. Make sure and check them out their site and follow them on their various social media outlets to be the first to hear about specials and new products:

Bagel Dates

Einstein Bagel dates with this guy are the best. 
Is it bad that we have gone on two already this week..probably. 
Luckily this cutie helps me eat 1/3 of our food (;

Gourmet bagels are good for my taste buds; bad for my fitness goals. 
The struggle to make healthy food choices is real my friends. 

M. Rena Leggings from Shop Adorn

Leggings: c/o Shop Adorn
Shirt: Cherry Lane Keepsakes sold out in green (different colors here & here)
Purse: Rue 21
Bracelets: Flourish Leather & c/o Flourish Leather Kids
Sandals: Target (last year, similar)
Necklace: Style Lately (sold out, love this one)

Over-sized shirts and leggings are always a quick and easy stylish look for a mama on the go. I have yet to own a brown pair of leggings & was super excited for a chance to review these M. Rena Tummy Tuck leggings. Shop Adorn, an adorable and stylish Portland based boutique, recently sent me these comfortable leggings and I absolutely love them. They hold me in nice and tight, yet are still breathable and comfortable. Styled with sandals, my new favorite purse, and my Flourish Leather bracelets (which I layered together for a unique look), this is an easy look that can be replicated many different ways (;

Be sure to check out Shop Adorn and follow along on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to hear about new items and for fun giveaways.

4 Words That Describe My Dad and #oralbsweeps

With Father’s Day around the corner I wanted to dedicate this post to my dad, a very special person in my life. I admire my dad so much that I wanted to share some of his greatest qualities with everyone. I also wanted to let everyone know about an exciting Oral-B at Target sweepstakes going on until Sunday.

If I had to describe my dad in 4 words those words would be: smart, selfless, loving, and special.

My dad has always worked really hard to provide for our family. Sometimes our situation has been unfair and tough but his innovative thinking has always pulled us through. He can set emotion and stress aside to keep a clear mind and outsmart any of our problems.

I have always been a procrastinator. You can only imagine all of the school work I put off until the last minute and how stressed I was staying up into the late hours of the night working on a project to finish it at the last minute. During those times my dad was always there to calm me down. He would always say that stressing over an assignment isn't going to finish it and knew exactly what to say to help me get on track to finish the assignment.

(My Grandma Marti's Birthday)
Growing up my dad wasn't able to be home very often since he worked from morning until the late hours of the night. I cherished the weekends and the nights when I was up late enough just to say goodnight to him. He has always put the family first even when it left no time for him. He worked from home while taking care of his and my mom’s parents so they can enjoy the comfort of their own home instead of sending them off to an elderly home.

(Christmas Morning 1995)
More so than anyone my dad is always willing to listen to me and hear me out. He gives the best hugs and growing up he played with my sister and I every chance he had. "Monster" was our favorite game. My dad would run down the stairs and hide and then my sister and I would have to muster up the courage to go down and find him. He would throw pillows up the stairs while doing this and me being the nice big sister I am would always make Tiana go first (; He was always hiding in the same spot behind the couch but it never got old.

Now, I love to play “Monster” with my Zaden. I must have got that trait from my dad.

Now that I'm an adult, it's been so special watching him bond with Zaden. Seeing my dad become a grandpa has been such a special experience and I love how close he is to his little "buddy" Zaden. It's so cute watching them play together, read books, or watching a children's movie.

My dad is one of a kind and I'm so grateful he is my dad. We have such a special bond that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Now for the fun sweepstakes..
Do you have any fun pictures or story about your dad? Well the Power Dad's Smile Everyday Sweepstakes is a great way to share those things about your dad with a chance to win a Father's Day Power Bundle.

What's a Father's Day Power Bundle you ask?

The Father's Day Power Bundle includes the following:

The Oral-B Black ProfessionalCare 1000 Rechargeable Toothbrush:
  • Oral-B is the #1 dentist-recommended toothbrush brand worldwide
  • The Oral-B Black ProfessionalCare 1000 removes up to 5X more plaque along the gumline vs. a regular manual toothbrush
  • The Oral-B Black ProfessionalCare 1000 Limited Edition Available at Target includes a travel case and a Bonus Deep Sweep brush head

The Braun Series 7 760 Shaver:
  • Tough on hair-smooth on skin
  • Features improved Triple Action FreeFoil™ to deliver a great shave
  • Combines great Braun design with high Braun quality

A $250 Target Gift Card:
Who couldn't use a $250 gift card to Target? I absolutely love Target and never leave without something.

The sweepstakes runs from June 2-15 so you still have a couple days to enter. Share a photo of you and your dad on Twitter or Instagram using #oralbsweeps, easy-peasy right? For more information on the sweepstakes click here.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.