Archive | HEALTH + FITNESS

WORK + PLAY: VINTAGE POOL DAYS + A PRETTY FLORAL I DESIGNED FOR OLIVIA + OCEAN

If this doesn’t have you dreaming of pool days with your babes (big or small) this summer, I don’t know what will! I love Olivia + Ocean for their mission to make swimwear that fits into a mama’s lifestyle… so that in between all the towel drying, sun screening, meltdown managing, snack making and (fill in the blank) you can feel stunning, pulled together and more likely ready to play, snuggle, sunbathe or participate in a cannon ball contest.

Danielle (the mama behind O+O) puts equal thought into creating vintage-y modern swimmers for your mini that make sunny day adventures extra special and nostalgic.

All of this to say, O+O just launched the sweetest collection that includes a floral print I designed and am totally smitten with. The full collection coordinates too so you can go full mom + mini matchy-matchy or twin just a little bit.

Don’t you love it?!!! My favorite to date… Poppy will be running around in this for sure and I love the red bikini as well.

A pop of red for me too, please! So classic.

Some of my favorite memories are of heading to the pool almost daily with my mom and brothers during hot Chicago summers — I still have no idea how my mom managed to make time for h o u r s of splashing around while raising a busy family and home but I’m forever grateful that she did.

Not to get too sappy and sentimental, but it’s a good reminder that we won’t get these days of raising little humans back. Even more sobering is that our kids won’t get their childhood days back either… Thankful for companies like Olivia + Ocean that make it easier to be present and playful while we’re in the thick of it.

Love you guys!

xo, Rae

Images by Morgan Pansing

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SPRING REFRESH: 3 EASY WAYS TO SPRUCE UP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE

I’m back with another “SPRING REFRESH” post, yay! You can find the last one here. Since the dust has settled from all the new years resolutions, we’ve (hopefully) made it through flu season, schedules are getting more structured (and full) and the sun is coming out to play (yay vitamin D!) I’ve been focusing more on my workout routine and found a few things that have really helped spruce things up… Here are 3 changes I’ve recently made that have helped me stay more consistent!

  1. SCHEDULE IT | my trick to getting just about anything done is to actually add it to my calendar + planner. When the kids were younger we had a pretty strict routine for our days and I could always count on a 30 minute block either before or after their afternoon nap where a ride in the jogging stroller (with their lunch or snack) was a good idea. After Johan got hired as a firefighter and now that we have older kids, our routine had become much less predictable and more busy so I literally have to block out a time on google calendar and in my daily planner to workout.
  2. FIND YOUR UNIFORM | the less I have to think about working out the more likely I am to do it. I’ve found stocking my closet with enough of my go-to workout gear has been a big help! Also putting it all in the same section of my closet (instead of spread out between bins, dressers and hangers) helps keep me in autopilot. My current uniform includes my favorite leggings, a cotton tee (or one of Johan’s), a sweatshirt and a hat to keep the rain off my face.
  3. SWITCH THINGS UP | sometimes I get into a rut simply because I’ve been doing the same workouts over and over again. I used to only go for runs so when we joined a gym after Griffin was born, I felt extra inspired. After using the Sweat app for the last couple years, adding running back into my routine felt so good (although a little slow at first, lol). One day, when everyone’s in school, I hope to sign up for workout classes. However, switching things up could mean anything from finding a workout partner to going for a hike on the weekends to deciding to train for a half marathon.
  4. TURN YOUR “I SHOULD” INTO “I MUST” | as I was thinking back on my workout journey and the seasons I was more consistent, it occurred to me that there was a time when working out was more a matter of survival (I HAD TO!) than an item on my to do list. I truly needed the endorphins and moment of self care… So as I’ve been working on getting more consistent I’ve tried to tap into that mindset of “have to” and it’s made a huge difference the last few weeks :) I know that’s not long but feels like a small victory over here and something worth sharing… mindset is so powerful!

Another question I get asked a lot that I thought would be good to answer in this post…

Q: When do you find time to workout?

Currently Johan and I have been getting up at 5am on mornings that he has to leave for shift, to go for a run in our neighborhood. Luckily no one has woken up while we’re gone, but thankful for teenagers in the house… (there’s a whole new level of parental freedom when you can leave for 30 minutes without hiring a sitter!!!!). It’s my favorite way to start the day but just to be clear, I might be a morning person, but have NEVER been a morning worker-outer person (I prefer coffee and quiet time, lol) so the first mile and a half feels like torture! On days Johan is home from the station, I’ll often go for a run around 7 without interrupting dinner or bedtime (yay daylight savings!) and then all other days I bring my yoga mat and weighted ball outside while the kids are playing either in our backyard, at the park or before a baseball game/practice and go through a circuit workout on the SWEAT app.

I really need to work on my flexibility, lol.

Also, there are few things more awkward than taking pictures while pretending to workout. We had planned on snapping a few candid shots while going for a hike with the kids earlier that morning , but it rained buckets so we stayed home. Later that day after Oz’s baseball game the rain stopped (finally) so we took advantage, grabbed my mat and camera from the car and snapped a few pics… Sometimes you just gotta go with it, ha!

Since I’m not a fitness blogger by any means I’m always pleasantly surprised by the reaction I get from posts like these BUT love the comments and convos that take place… a good reminder that we really are in this season of life together! So please share where you’re at, what’s working for you and what you might be struggling with below.

XOXO, Rae

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MAKING FITNESS A PRIORITY + WHY I WORKOUT

I used to workout because I wanted to stay a certain size, see a certain number on the scale and flatten out as many lumps and dimples as possible. As I’ve gotten older and had more kids, it simply got to be too much to keep up with and honestly my “WHY” made it difficult to justify making time for it (hello pregnancy and nursing and busy kids and a full schedule and no sleep and things that are actually important!).

Now I workout because I want to be around for and be able to play with my kids for a long time. I want to set a good example for them like my parents did. I want the endorphins (they make me happy) and energy that comes from moving my body. I want to honor God by taking care of what he’s given me. And I want to feel good in my skin not because of how I look but because I’m strong and capable.

Changing my “WHY” has honestly made all the difference.

What helps you prioritize workouts? Has your “why” changed over the years? I would love to hear more from you in the comments!

XO, Rae

PS – Another thing that’s helped me prioritize fitness is having a running list of workouts that I can do in a pinch or when I need a change of pace. I’ll be sharing my favorites over on Instagram Stories later today and will be sure to archive under the “workouts” highlight too. If we aren’t already hanging out over on the gram, click HERE!!!

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WHAT’S IN MY MAKEUP BAG

I’ve always hesitated to share my daily skin and makeup routine because it’s v. basic, but after seeing the royal wedding and the brides’s makeup for the ceremony (if you missed it, look here!) I was feeling inspired and figured a simple beauty routine might be interesting and helpful enough to post. I’m sure there is a lot I could change, add or upgrade but here’s a short list of products I use on a mostly daily basis!

  • MAC MATTE BRONZER – after lotion and foundation (if I’m wearing it), I’ll brush on a little bronzer around my hairline, jawline and under my cheekbones.
  • SEPHORA BLUSH IN ORANGE POP – couldn’t find the exact one, but these shades look similar or I love this one.
  • BRUSHES – are a random assortment, but I use the detail brush with my foundation to cover any skin or under-eyes situations that need extra attention. Then use the angled brush for blush (wouldn’t need to be angled, but that’s what I have, lol) and the bigger powder brush for bronzer. This set might be the most similar.

  • RODAN + FIELDS REDEFINE EYE CREAM – feels so good! Put on my eyes at night and in the morning. Favorite for sure.
  • L’OREAL VOLUMINOUS MASCARA – I’ve bought expensive mascaras before but always find myself going back for more of this. Feel like mascara is best for that first month or so after you buy it anyways so cheap is best.
  • RODAN + FIELDS LASH BOOST – it’s supposed to make your lashes grow crazy long… I’ve only been using it for a couple weeks and definitely noticed a difference, but it takes 6 weeks so I’ll report back later :)

  • RODAN + FIELDS REDEFINE EYE CLOTHS – Couldn’t find them online but use after washing my face at night and before my lash boost and eye cream. Cut cloths in half to make them last longer!
  • MAC PRO LONGWEAR FOUNDATION – but i’ll probably switch to a lighter coverage with SPF for the summer!
  • EUCERIN ORIGINAL HEALING LOTION – I’ve used it forever and should probably look into something different, but for now it works!
  • DOVE BAR SOAP – not pictured but feel like it deserves a shoutout. Just a bar of soap and a wash cloth to help exfoliate and that’s it. I’ve used expensive cleansers before and just don’t notice enough of a difference on my skin to justify the expense.
  • RODAN + FIELDS TONER – also not pictured but just started using (i.e. borrowing from my teenager) this a couple weeks ago and LOVE it. My skin feels more fresh and glowing and pretty even without makeup.

  • CLEAN FREAK DRY SHAMPOO — I’ve only been using dry shampoo for emergency situations and this brand does the trick and works as good as anything else I’ve tried. If you know of an all-natural option that works really good, please share!
  • LIVING PROOF INSTANT TEXTURE MIST – it’s a god-send on hair wash days when mine is too lazy to do anything or when I want to let it air dry. Also spray some when I want my curls to look more beachy.

Hopefully that wasn’t too boring for you guys, HA!

If you guys are wanting to try any of the R+F products, get in touch with my friend Lindsay! Her contact info is HERE! She’s super helpful and not pushy about anything either :)

Would love to hear what your favorite beauty and skincare items are. And if you have a talent for hair and makeup, please leave tips… or better yet, send help!!!

XO, Rae

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LITTLE BITES: HEALTHY PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BALLS (NO BAKE!)

If I had a personal chef or the discipline/organizational abilities to meal prep once a week, these energy bites would for sure be on the menu every time. They’re homemade (read: guilt-free), easy to grab and go, loaded with healthy stuff, tasty enough to satisfy a sweet tooth, and loved by (almost — because there’s always that one…) everyone in the fam bam. They’re also really fun to package up and share with friends. Even better when we’ve just made a fresh batch and the kids have buddies over!

I’ve always wanted to be the house with the best snack food for all the kids, without feeding them too much junk, and even though I fall short often, mixing these up makes me feel like I’m winning just a little :)

Peep the recipe below!

NO BAKE PEANUT BUTTER & CHOCOLATE CHIP ENERGY BITES, makes approx. 2 dozen

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats (like quaker), uncooked
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup favorite nut butter (I like to use almond butter but usually use adam’s peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup favorite chocolate chips (I like to use the mini kind!)
  • 1/4 cup honey (agave works too)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chia seeds, optional

Here’s How:

  1. Using a hand or stand mixer, combine and mix ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Using your hands (and cookie scooper if you have one!), roll into 1 to 2 inch balls. Eat right away or chill first.
  3. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week…. But I promise they won’t last that long, LOL.

Happy Tuesday Loves!

xo, Rae

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LET’S CHAT: ESSENTIAL OILS + AN EASY DIY BEDTIME SPRAY

It’s hard to ignore the essential oil bandwagon thats been growing strong now for awhile, particularly within the motherhood community. I’m wondering if there are any other trends we can compare it to? Maybe tupperware parties? Anyways, I often find myself somewhere in the middle of most issues, political, theological, and even more often when it comes to healthcare. I believe in modern medicine, vaccines, and ibuprofen. But I also believe that we often medicate symptoms that can be treated naturally with diet, fitness, supplements and oils.

I was first introduced to essential oils a little over a year ago when Poppy started getting these little wart looking bumps on her torso and elbows. I’ll spare you the details of how gross they were and because it was summertime they were impossible to keep covered and therefore confined. The first time we took her to the Dr. they suggested we let it run it’s course (which takes 6+ months). Unfortunately it just kept getting worse so we took her back in and they subscribed a topical acne medicine. As you might imagine it was harsh, left her poor baby skin dry and red and wasn’t clearing up her bumps. Ugh, I felt so bad for her. Is there anything worse than not being able to help your kids feel better? Luckily my mom suggested we try talking to an herbalist. A quick email to Herban Wellness describing Poppy’s symptoms and they mixed up a magic concoction of oils that started working immediately! After a week her bumps were 80% better and I was in tears — so grateful to have something that not only worked, but was natural and had zero negative side effects.

We’ve since used the oil blend on just about any patch of red, puffy or irritated skin and it always clears up and takes away the discomfort. Lately I’ve been doing lots of research on oils and looking for ways to incorporate them into our lives on a daily basis without having to spend a ton of money or get involved with one of the MLM (multilevel marketing) businesses… (Not that there is anything wrong with doing either of those things!)

To my surprise, I’ve been able to find some great oils on amazon and have had so much fun putting together different blends for roller balls and spray bottles. The best part is that the kids go crazy over them! Here’s a linen spray we put together for bedtime. It helps wind everyone down at the end of the day and makes the room smell dreamy. To make it even more appealing for Poppy who’s always worried about “monsters” at night, we added a “bye, bye monster” label!

BYE, BYE MONSTER bedtime essential oil linen spray!

You’ll Need:

Here’s How:

  1. Add drops of essential oils into glass spray bottle. Fill the rest of the way with distilled water.
  2. Spray around the room, on bedding, pillows and even on jammies…. Don’t forget mamas room too!
  3. Make extra bottles for each room and to give as gifts.

Now for some exciting news!!! In my search for high quality oils I’ve found some cool suppliers and created some delicious and effective blends that will be available to purchase (along with a few other fun items!) in our online HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP! Hoping to have it up and running starting this Friday 11/17 but will keep you posted later this week!!!

The rollers and sprays are a perfect gift or addition to stockings, teacher gifts or hostess gifts. It’s also a great way to try oils without a huge commitment, filling a cupboard with individual oils and supplies, or having to figure out all the DIY blends.

Now that I’ve spilled my guts about it, what are your thoughts on essential oils and natural treatments? Curious if anyone else feels like they fall somewhere in the middle on the issue, like I do!?

xo, Rae

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MOM BOD: A HEALTH + FITNESS PANEL WITH SOME OF MY FAVORITES

Of all the events, podcasts and messages I’ve heard, panels are easily my favorite. They remind me of 2 things 1. That there isn’t one perfect way or person or journey and 2. We are better together! With that in mind, I polled a few of my favorite friends and mom crushes to share how they mix health and fitness with motherhood. Their answers were even better than I imagined when I started planning this post and I hope you feel just as inspired as I do by the insights below.

Can’t wait to introduce you to them so without further ado, meet…

  • Favorite healthy snack: I always have a Lara bar in my purse or if I’m home I’ll whip something up like hummus and veggies.
  • Favorite junkfood: Ahhhhhh – Those Australian red licorice bites from Sprouts are my kryptonite. All my closest friends know that if I am seen eating them, it has been an especially rough day and I need some comfort haha.
  • Favorite song, podcast, app or playlist to workout to: I am a huge podcast junkie. My favorite is “You Made it Weird” with Pete Holmes. He does the best interviews that are both laugh out loud funny, but always get deep and go into meaning of life questions. Tons of thoughtful gems. The Moth and This American Life are two more I can always count on. This is if I am going on runs. I need to keep my mind occupied to go the distance!
  • Favorite way to get a workout: The Bar Method. I am recently obsessed. It really does sculpt your body and seeing results is so rewarding.
  • Your usual workout routine or activity: Recently it is The Bar Method. If not my exercise is chasing my 2-year old around.
  • How or when do you find the time to workout: I schedule all my classes on Monday for the entire week when I have that “this is a new week, new me” attitude ;) It is easy to lose that enthusiasm as the week goes on. So I commit myself early.
  • Health and fitness philosophy, in a nutshell: Celebrate the small victories!

* find more of Danielle at Olivia + Ocean

  • Favorite healthy snack: honeycrisp apple with almond butter
  • Favorite junkfood: Ice cream!!!
  • Favorite song, podcast, app or playlist to workout to: I change it up a lot! From Kygo to 80’s pop to worship music
  • Favorite way to get a workout: Swimming (in our indoor pool) & workout class.
  • Your usual workout routine or activity: 25 minutes swimming laps and a 60 minute workout class hosted at our church with varied, but always challenging, activities.
  • How or when do you find the time to workout: My morning workout class provides childcare for $2. Otherwise, when the kids are at school and the toddler naps.
  • Health and fitness philosophy, in a nutshell: If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! Am I right??

  • Favorite healthy snack: Healthy Bonez “U Got Kale” juice which contains fresh kale, celery, cucumber, coco-water, apple, & lemon. All of their menu items have no sugar added, are gluten-free, dairy free, and otherwise entirely plant based which is kinda exciting.
  • Favorite junkfood: Chips & salsa!
  • Favorite song, podcast, app or playlist to workout to: I always go with a podcast from either Bobbie Houston, Brian Houston or my pastor Judah Smith. I like to learn and think while I work out and these three people always inspire me to be a better version of me.
  • Favorite way to get a workout: Real life activities outside of the gym are my favorite. Today for example I enjoyed a four mile walk with my husband after we dropped the kids off at school. Bonus that it was along the waterfront!
  • Your usual workout routine or activity: Normally I drive to the gym and spend 35 minutes on the stair-stepper at level 7 then I jump on the tread mill for 20 minutes with a #3 incline and #3.8 speed. If I get three days a week at the gym combined with the daily activities that my life brings then it’s been a good week.
  • How or when do you find the time to workout: I plan out my week ahead and make sure to put it in the schedule. If it’s on the schedule it’s most likely to happen. I also try to make it social and will text a friend and we will plan a day to go for a long walk or go to the gym and take a class I might not normally do (because it’s always more fun to join a class with a friend).
  • Health and fitness philosophy, in a nutshell: I am not hard on myself, I don’t feel guilty if I miss a week at the gym and I also do not diet. It’s more about discipline, making healthy responsible choices and living a lifestyle that promotes health.
  • BONUS TIP! I also highly recommend the book “Eat Beautiful”. It’s full of pretty photos, beauty tips, recipes, has a cute and informational story line and is all about the effects of food on your skin.

* find more of Nicole at Hopper Group!

  • Favorite healthy snack: Hummus & carrots!
  • Favorite junkfood: Ice cream.
  • Favorite song, podcast, app or playlist to workout to: Nursing & Cursing podcast, or Macklemore.
  • Favorite way to get a workout: Lifting weights/circuit.
  • Your usual workout routine or activity: Group strength and yoga classes, or a regular cardio/lifting circuit at the gym.
  • How or when do you find the time to workout: Early in the morning or late at night!
  • Health and fitness philosophy, in a nutshell: Treat yo self… but really, “JUST DO IT!”

* find more of Kendra at Hen & Co.

  • Favorite healthy snack: Apples and almond butter and edamame.
  • Favorite junkfood: Ice cream (duh! Ha!)
  • Favorite song, podcast, app or playlist to workout to: Erwin McManus, Churchome, Brian Houston, or School of Greatness podcast if I’m running by myself (which is rare) or a random “workout” or “gangsta rap” playlist off of Pandora or Spotify.
  • Your usual workout routine or activity: Short runs, Body Boss workouts (found on youtube) and other circuit training… Lots of burpies, jump-squats and kettle bell swing, type exercises. (Here’s a list of exercises for inspiration)
  • Favorite way to get a workout: I love weights (medium weight with higher reps) or any crossfit workout that doesn’t involves crazy weights, overhead squats or kipping. Hot yoga is fun every once in awhile and I’ve been wanting to find a hip-hop class to take! I also love chasing, jumping, or playing soccer, tennis or basketball with the kids and Johan.
  • How or when do you find the time to workout: Usually early in the morning or in the evening while at one of the kids’ sports practices. I also try to do a workout every now and then with the kids around so they get to see and participate.
  • Health and fitness philosophy, in a nutshell: Do what you can and enjoy LOVE the process!

* you guys know where to find me, but I love hanging out with my peeps on Instagram if you’re not already following along over there!

Wasn’t that fun?!!! I love seeing all the different likes, strengths, goals, and schedules. Something I think is so important to remember because the comparison struggle is real. Especially for us girls… but it doesn’t have to be! So, if or when you feel yourself getting sucked into it, just remember that there is strength in numbers and that we ALL have so much to offer each other.

If you have any follow up questions to leave in the comments, please do! I would also love to know how you would answer a question or two from above.

Last but not least, what would you like to see next in the mom-bod series?

Here’s the first “mom-bod” post if you missed it!

xo, Rae

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MOM BOD HEALTH + FITNESS: FIND YOUR FOCUS

Hey loves! I’m excited (and slightly terrified!) to introduce a new blog series today, based on one of the questions I get asked and emailed about most — how I’ve managed to stay in shape after 5 kids? In the past I’ve shied away from answering or responding for a few different reasons. 1. I’m not an expert and feel like I could be in better shape than I am 2. everyone’s health + fitness journey, especially post baby, looks different 3. I think the last thing a woman and especially a mom needs to worry, stress, or be insecure about is her body and 4. Between my genetics and upbringing, I admittedly have had an advantage.

I’ll get more into workout routines, eating habits and what my parents did to set an amazing example in a follow up post, but today I wanted to chat about a truth that has had a huge affect on my life and my health — what you focus on expands.

So here’s what I suggest to anyone who’s frustrated with their health and fitness. No more focusing on the weight, how much or little you’re eating, how tiny someone else is or fitting into a certain size jean. Instead focus on things that are meaningful and productive.

Here’s a list of the things that have worked for me:

GRATITUDE | I have a body that moves and works, grew tiny miracles and was made by my Creator. Being thankful for it changes how I see myself and feed myself and how I treat my body.

THE PROCESS | goals are amazing and important, but finding exercises, activities, recipes, etc. that I enjoy makes the journey worth it especially when I’m not where I think I should be.

DRINKING WATER | super simple and study after study shows that it makes a huge difference.

MOVING | workouts are not always an option based on priorities and what else I need to accomplish in a day — the second half of summer has been like that. So instead I’ve worked out when I can and then focused on just moving my body when I can’t. 15 minutes of jumprope in the garage, trampoline time with the kids, or just running and playing at the park makes a big difference.

WHAT YOU CAN DO | early in our marriage, when we were sooooo broke I let not being able to afford a gym membership or organic food totally discourage me which only led to self-pity and probably eating a few extra cookies, LOL. But I’ve found that when my focus is on what I CAN do, I’m much more productive. A few things that all of us probably can do — find at home workouts on youtube or pinterest, a place to run, 30 minutes everyday or every other day, a friend to get fit with, healthier food options, a habit worth changing.

What would you guys add to this list?

What other topics would you like to see covered in this series!?

Was thinking of interviewing other moms on the subject would be a lot of fun and insightful too!? Let me know what you think!

xo, Rae

PS – If your trying to fit in workouts at home with a little one, HERE’s a stroller workout post and printable I shared a couple summers ago!

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