May 2018 | Dearest Lou

Snapfish Father's Day Gift Ideas

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Snapfish. All opinions are mine alone. #snapfish
I can't believe Father's Day is just a few short weeks away. When it comes to gift giving I never know what to buy, what I do know is that the more meaningful a gift is the better. Meaningful gifts reflect the time you spend together. You would think with all of the photos I take that our home would be filled with portraits hanging on the walls and countless numbers of prints! I'm not very good at printing, framing, or putting together albums with photos but it's something I'm working on. Snapfish makes it super fun and easy to create gifts with the photos I take. It's so easy to import photos from Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos, or your computer.

The boys and I have teamed up with Snapfish and purchased some meaningful gifts for both Daryl (dada) and my dad (papa)! Snapfish has so many awesome gift ideas and is the perfect destination for meaningful Father's Day photo gifts. I love that Snapfish offers budget-friendly gifts that look like a million bucks.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the boys giving their dad his gift:

The Canvas Print we got Daryl turned out amazing! The quality was beyond what I expected and the colors printed true to color. The boys love pointing at themselves in the photo and their cute smiles brought a big smile to his face. I personally like the unframed look but for a few dollars more you can add a custom black, chocolate, or oak frame to your canvas!

Here are some of my favorite photos of the boys giving their papa his gift:

Papa was in need of a pen holder and this Personalized Acrylic Photo Desk Set was a perfect personalized gift for him. I love the sleek design and the photo of the boys will be a great reminder of his two biggest fans. These boys LOVE their papa.

Now is the perfect time to put together a fun project for your husband, dad, or a special guy in your life. You can use coupon code: 60MAY18 for 60% off sitewide now through 11:59PM PST June 5, 2018.

Fitness Update (Before & After Photos) + HomeDNA Healthy Weight Testing

Living a healthy lifestyle can be a struggle in today's world. Most American's live a sedentary lifestyle, with all of the convenient fast foods and effortless ways to commute it's so easy to gain unwanted weight. 

Did you know that learning more about your DNA can help you figure out what exercise and diet can help you reach a healthy body composition? I've heard of people testing their DNA to figure out their ancestry but never thought about testing it to figure out what form of diet & exercise works best for me! 

The HomeDNA Healthy Weight Test is a scientifically-based weight-management test that identifies a person's genetic makeup and provides diet and exercise strategies uniquely tailored to their specific genotype. In just 4-6 weeks after samples arrive at the lab, you can receive a comprehensive report with personalized nutrition and fitness recommendations that work best for your body. 

I have been working on my fitness ever since I gained a bunch of unwanted fat from postpartum depression after Zaden was born. I embarked on this journey a little over 4 years ago and I would be lying if I said it's been an easy road. There has been lots of trial and error, a few fad diets, another pregnancy in the middle, and going back to unhealthy eating habits along the way. If I would have known about the HomeDNA Healthy Weight Test and known what sort of exercise & diet plan worked best for my genetic makeup it would have saved me a lot of trial and error trying different things! 

Ultimately, when it comes to losing weight nearly any diet or form of exercise will work if you stick to it. It all comes down to a matter of calories in versus calories out. If you want to eat your TDEE in candy or chips and stick to eating at a deficit you can and will lose weight. However, the way our bodies are designed certain diets and forms of exercise can help us achiever a healthier body composition much faster. Also eating a well balanced diet makes feels good and provides more energy. 

Here are my most recent progress photos. I took the "after" photo shortly after receiving my results from my HomeDNA Healthy Weight Test. You can read previous Fitness/Health related blog posts here.

Body Composition
1/2/17 33.7% Body Fat
4/20/18 22.2% Body Fat

My Results + The Testing Process

Taking the test was convenient and simple! The instructions were easy to follow and came with a prepaid postage stamp which made it easy to send to the lab. All it took was a couple cheek swabs (no needles or urine samples) and creating a profile on their site. I had my results within 4 weeks and was excited to find out about my makeup! 

I was blown away with the report, I did not expect to receive such a comprehensive report and was excited to read more about my DNA. The report provides results in four key areas: Weight Loss Ability, Food, Nutrients, and Response to Exercise. I want to touch a little on each of these and how I have applied them into my new fitness routine the last 6 weeks!

Weight Loss Ability: Below Average
I figured my weight loss ability would be below average since I have to work SO HARD on my diet and exercise in order to lose fat. I know that it isn't impossible to lose weight it just takes a little longer to lose than someone with a more favorable genotype! 

As far as implementing this information into my life nothing really changed. I have since continued to workout and eat healthier (more on that under food). 

Food: Protein Utilization Normal | Fat Utilization Normal | Carb Utilization Enhanced

Enhanced carb utilization?! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!

Prior to taking this test I was following a Keto diet. I did Keto from mid-November 2017-February 2018. March was on and off but primarily low carb, my only goal was to continue working out and eating at a deficit. There's a misconception with Keto that you will gain weight back once you are off it, it's true that you will gain a bit of water weight since your body replenishes the water and glycogen in your muscles and liver but as long as you continue to eat at a deficit, your fat loss won't change. 

When I got my results back I was shocked to find out that a higher complex carb diet works best for my body type in order to lose weight! Like I said earlier in this post eating at a deficit and sticking to any diet will work but I was honestly a bit excited to find out that higher complex carbs work for me. 

According to my food summary my macros should be as follows:

20% Protein | 50% Carbs | 30% Fats

For the past 6 weeks I have been sticking to a diet higher in complex carbs and have broken a weight and fat loss plateau that I haven't seen since prior to getting pregnant in 2012. I haven't stuck to a super strict diet and have had a few "cheat" meals along the way too.

Nutrients: Vitamin B12 Low | Vitamin B9. A, C Below Average | B6, Vitamin D Normal

Micronutrients have not been shown to have a direct effect on body weight/fat but play important roles in a variety of functions in the body that may affect your body composition. I scored low and below average on most of the micronutrients tested, yikes! 

It makes sense that my micronutrients were low since I was doing Keto at the time and eating very little vegetables and no fruit. I also wasn't taking the recommended supplements I should have been taking when following the diet. Since I am now eating more fruits and vegetables I'm hoping my body is closer to a normal. I also loved how the test told me which foods to try to incorporate into my diet in order to get these nutrients. 

Fat Loss Response to Cardio, Low | Fitness Response to Cardio, Below Average
HDL, Insulin Sensitivity, Glucose Response to Cardio, Enhanced
Body Composition Response to Strength Training, Enhanced

Any exercise can enhance weight loss from dieting. When a person loses weight by only dieting, they are likely to lose muscle mass along the way.

This portion of the test was very lengthy and I could write pages but I will save you guys all the details and try to summarize it! The best form of exercise for me is strength training but in order to achieve a healthy body composition I must incorporate cardio as well.

I like that the test put together a workout and sample diet plan for me, I think this info is very useful for someone who is new to fitness and doesn't know where to start. However, I have applied the principles I learned into what I'm already doing and eat more calories than my suggested meal plan recommended since I am very active.

Interested in purchasing a HomeDNA Healthy Weight kit? They are available at CVS and Rite Aid drugstores or online for $119 at

Lime Ricki Style + Discount Code

Top & Bottoms c/o Lime Ricki || Callanan Straw Hat || Black Gingham Baggu

T H A N K  Y O U.
I want to start off this post with thanking all of the men & women (+ their families) who serve our country. I'm so grateful to live in this country & thankful for all of those who have lost their lives for our freedom. 

Today's post is featuring this swimsuit from one of my favorite local companies, Lime Ricki. If you have been around for a while now you may remember my last Lime Ricki post back in 2016. I still own and love that swimsuit. PS how cute is my round belly?! 

When it comes to swimwear I usually stick to neutral colors and prints so I can mix and match all of my pieces. This is my first two-piece from Lime Ricki and I love it! It's super flattering, comfortable, and provides quite a bit of coverage for a two-piece. Also how fun is the top? I LOVE the lace up back.

There are multiple reasons I love Lime Ricki. One of the biggest reasons is they never Photoshop or airbrush their models. They also use models of all different sizes and re-gram/share photos of REAL clients wearing their swimwear. I love that, this is what makes Lime Ricki different from other swimsuit competitors. 

You see these photos of me above?  These photos are untouched! There was no Photoshop or airbrushing tricks many women (+men) use to "enhance" their body. 2018 is a year of not only working on my physical well-being but most importantly my mental health. It's so important to love yourself just as you are, no matter what stage in your journey you may be. Life is too short to worry about how you look in a swimsuit or being "summer ready". So go on, enjoy playing at the pool with your kids or go to the beach with your friends. The moment you stop worrying about how you look will be liberating and the best gift you can give yourself. I'm in no way saying that it's a bad thing to continue to strive and work towards your health but there's NO REASON to be so hard on yourself ♥

PS: Lime Ricki's ONE + ONLY sale of the season is happening TODAY ONLY!
Use code: MEMORIALYAY for 20% off your order.

Freshly Picked City Pack + Woven Pear

Top | Jeans (similar on sale $22.49) | Vionic Reagan Mule | Ebony City Pack | Socks

I wanted to share some of my favorite items as of late as well as some of my favorite brands! Most days I'm either wearing something similar to this or joggers. I'm all about comfort and simple outfits when it comes to getting ready on a regular basis. I also tend to be a heavy packer and I have been on the hunt for a light weight bag that fits all of my crap, lol. Well guys, I finally found it!

The new Freshly Picked City Pack is my new go-to bag and is perfect for my everyday needs! It's insanely light weight.. so light weight I forget I'm wearing it half the time. Water-resistant and wipeable, which is perfect in rain or shine for a busy mama on-the-go. Oh and did I mention it's so comfortable? The padded straps really make all the difference when carrying loads of stuff. On a regular basis I carry my camera gear, mommy pouch, diaper/wipes pouch, water bottle(s), & snacks.. I can easily fit more too! I love it so much.

I mentioned this on Instagram a few weeks ago but Freshly Picked recently released their Fringe Club Membership! If you are going to buy anything Freshly Picked you really need to join! Fringe members get an additional 20% off ALWAYS and get FREE shipping! It's only $10 a month to become a member and that $10 gets you a $10 store credit, if you don't use your credit one month it rolls over to the next.

Woven Pear is another company I love! They are locally based and carry the cutest socks on the planet! I got my first pair back in 2015 and have been hooked ever since. These are fun to add a funky finishing touch to any outfit. The outfit I styled above would have been rather plain and simple without my cute Bees Knees ankle socks, don't you think?

Disclaimer: This post isn't sponsored, just sharing some brands I love. Thanks for reading + supporting my little space on the internet.

Revere Shoes Spring Style + A Giveaway

Top (similar) | Skirt | Wedges c/o | Tote c/o

Today's look features these Rosario Back Strap Wedges from Revere Shoes!

Happy Friday! I'm so excited for the weekend. Today is Zaden's last day of Preschool, I can't believe I will have a Kindergartner this fall! This school year has flown by and it's been amazing watching Zaden learn and grow throughout it. I know he is going to do amazing in Kindergarten. Friday for us equals date night and I'm excited to get dressed up and spend some one on one time with Daryl! I may throw on something similar to this look I shot earlier this week featuring these gorgeous Rosario Back Strap Wedges from Revere Shoes!

These have been my go-to sandals this Spring. They are insanely comfortable, the built-in arch support is amazing. I love that I can dress these up or down and that they go with nearly everything in my wardrobe. When picking out a look, I wanted to pattern mix and incorporate some older pieces I haven't worn in a while. Both my top & skirt are items I have purchased from Hope Ave. over the years (see how I previously styled here + here). I want to style these wedges again (hopefully sometime next week) and show you how I dressed them down!

When it comes to shoes I highly recommend investing in a few quality pairs that will go with everything! I rarely spend less than $60 on a pair of shoes. Revere Shoes is a company I highly recommend since they not only deliver quality and style but most importantly comfort.

I have teamed up with Revere Shoes to giveaway one pair of shoes to a lucky reader!

To enter, simply visit Revere Shoes & put in your email address into the rafflecopter widget below! By entering this giveaway you're signing up for Revere's newsletter. Once this step is complete you will unlock additional ways to enter the competition which will increase your odds of winning, yay. Giveaway is open to ALL Dearest Lou readers thru May 31st at 11:59PM EST. If you do additional entries and your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram profile is on P R I V A T E please set your settings to P U B L I C on June 1, 2018, I will be verifying the random winners entries at that time.Winner will be announced here on June 1st and contacted via email shortly after.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mothers Day + Pink & Blue Co. Discount Code

I'm wearing: Pink & Blue Co. Necklaces (Elle + Mimi styles) || Dress, thrifted || Shoes, Vionic Reagan Mule
Z is wearing: Top, Old Navy || Bottoms, Carters || Malibu Sandals, Freshly Picked
A is wearing: Top, Baby Gap || Bottoms, Zara || Malibu Sandals, Freshly Picked

That was a long and unexpected break! Needless to say, I'm happy and ready to be back.

Mother's Day was this past Sunday and it was such a wonderful day. We spent the morning at church and afternoon-late evening with our families. The boys made me homemade chocolate covered strawberries! Adrien and Zaden ate about half of them but the ones that made it into my belly were SO GOOD! Daryl snapped these photos of the boys and I. I think he did a great job capturing each of our personalities.

See the necklaces pictured above? Pink & Blue Co. kindly sent me these gorgeous necklaces to review! Pink & Blue Co. engraves custom birth information on delicate pieces of jewelry! When it comes to jewelry I like simple and meaningful pieces. I had never seen a jewelry company that offers this type of engraving and was so excited when they reached out for this collaboration.

Birth is such an incredible thing. The birth of both of my boys are two of the best days of my life. Although labor is tiring, the contractions are painful and nearly unbearable towards the end, seeing your baby for the first time changes you. The exact day & time that I first met my boys are engraved on these necklaces. That moment in time I hold so near and dear to my heart.

I LOVE these necklaces! I can't say it enough. The quality is above and beyond what I expected and I have gotten so many compliments from friends and family since receiving them. If necklaces aren't your thing they also engrave bracelets and offer different metal types (silver, rosegold, and gold).

Pink & Blue Co. is generously offering Dearest Lou readers 15% off with promo code: dearestlou
TREAT YO' SELF with a pretty jewelry piece!