We’re Going On An Adventure! – New Zealand Edition

To wrap up our great 2018 year of adventure, we decided to make the trek to Middle Earth aka New Zealand! While I’ve made the trip a few times as a singleton, this was my first trip this big with the family. (John thought the travel to S. Korea was long…HA!). I’ve covered the basics of traveling with kids in other posts, but this trip was epic. The heroes of the day(s) were the kindles loaded with all episodes of Puppy Dog Pals, several movies and games (thanks John!) and headphones for the kids. I’ve realized that my sanity was all-to-closely linked to the happiness of my kids. I had two books with me and got through exactly 5 pages during the combined 50+ hours of travel to Auckland and back. When the kids were entertained, I slipped into some sort of zen state and blankly stared at strangers. Lol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My parents met us at the airport and what a relief it was to pass the kids off to someone else. Ha. During our two weeks, we spent about a week in Auckland. There is SO much to do and see within an hour or so around the capital.

 

One Tree Hill:

 

MJ Savage Memorial Park:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Bay:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waitakere Ranges National Park:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piha Beach (on basically every episode of best beaches in the world)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferry to the city center:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sky Tower:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John and I got away and visited Queenstown for a few days. We left the kids with my parents and headed to the adventure capital of the world! We didn’t bungee jump (invented here!) but we did do some awesome things. I would have never guessed that I would have done one of them:

One of the best places we ate was Fergberger. It was our first stop off the shuttle from the airport. It had a line around the block and we soon found out why. Two things of note here: 1) Coke Zero is EVERYWHERE in NZ (score!!) and 2) We sat where Ed Sheeran sat! (ahhhh!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We rode the Shotover Jet and I would HIGHLY recommend it. We had a fun driver and whipped among the canyons and did 360s in the open water. Whatever you do, don’t be fooled by the other companies offering similar experiences. Shotover

Jet has the rights to this part of the whitewater and in my opinion has the best views and experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queenstown:

Not only were the views so crazy (the Remarkables aren’t called remarkable for nothin’) but the ice cream and street performers kept us entertained. (John: “Jess the Mess”- need I say more? LOL)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some parts of the city, I felt transported back to merry old England:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Hayes Loop Track:

 

Ok, I was lead to believe by my better half that this “walk” was going to be an easy “beginner” hike. I knew I had been duped when we “started” the hike with a walk up a hill so steep my feet were at a 25 degree angle to my leg (think: Lombard Street in San Francisco). We finally make it to the start of the hike and see people with walking stick and Camelbacks on…I had tennis shoes on and one water bottle. Lol. The sign also mentioned that this is an intermediate to advanced hike. (JOHN!!!) Once we made it to the forest area, the temperature was awesome and we wound around the mountain taking breaks to enjoy the scenery (and catch my breath). Several of the hikers were encouraging as we made our way to the summit, but others were complaining that the hike down was even harder. I had some choice words for those people – luckily they thought I was joking. Anyway, once we made it to the top, the view was INSANE and I had a major feeling of accomplishment. Maybe there is some outdoorsy person in me hoping to come out. Ha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queenstown Skyline Gondola:

I guess by now you know that I’m afraid of heights. This gondola ride took us to the top of the sister mountain that we just climbed. Tons of mountain bikers hooked their bikes to the gondola and flew down the mountain. I was just freaking out as we flew up the mountain in the gondola.

Once we got to the top, we took the luge ride about midway down the mountain (3 times, ha). John and I raced down and got some serious air. Major MUST DO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matamata:

One of the bucket list items for John was Hobbiton, and it didn’t disappoint. This private farm still hosts the set from the Lord of the Rings Series and Hobbiton. We were transported to the Shire and couldn’t get enough! There were some HARD CORE Hobbit fans there (this one guy had “the ring” and took pictures with it at every Hobbit door). We had an awesome guide and got the scoop on behind the scenes info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest:

I was so low-key excited to hang where the Royals (Prince Harry and Megan Markle) were visiting a couple of months ago!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davenport:

NZ has some of the most awesome playgrounds and I think my parents located ALL of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t have been luckier with the kids on the long flight. If you get the chance, make sure and reserve the “sky couch”. The cushions pop up and create a flat couch-like area. A cushiony mat is put on top of the seats, big pillows and fluffy blankets are provided. It helped these babies get a good 8 hours each way. PTL!!

All-in-all this was a trip of a lifetime and it was so special that I could share it with my family. NZ is so beautiful and would totally recommend that everyone visit!!

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Say NO to B.O. – Go Native!

B.O.  It’s just one of those things that is not socially acceptable, unless you are living in a commune or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think any of those people are reading this blog. 😂

In my pre-teen or early teen years I started using deodorant (mostly because it was cool and a bit because I needed it).  I progressed from Teen Spirit to Secret to Dove and that’s where it ended. I have tried all varieties of Dove over the last 15 years, but recently noticed that it hasn’t been working as well.

About that same time, a friend of mine (thanks Jenna!), asked if I had ever tried Native deodorant. I had heard of Native but never really gave it a second look.  Since I am trying to eat/live more simply (I had a party in the Target aisle when I found a 4 ingredient granola bar for the baby), I thought I might as well try to do the same for the things I put on my body.

I love the fact that Native deodorant is aluminum free – which helps with the laundry situation and clogged pores.  (It is also parabens, phthalates, and talc free.) If you are like me, you might wonder if all of those eliminated ingredients would make the deodorant less effective, so I tested it out in several scenarios.  My first test was a day at the office, not much activity, but can we say stress sweat?!? 😂  The Native deodorant passed with flying colors! The second test was a high intensity workout AFTER a day at work. I didn’t reapply and jumped into the workout. This was another success! I was super sweaty but didn’t have that dreaded B.O. smell. The third test was a day at home with my two toddlers. It was an 85 degree day and we were in and out of the house. I probably sweated the most this day. While I didn’t HAVE to reapply, I started feeling a bit gross, so I swiped on a couple more times. 😂

Native gives some helpful tips when making the switch:

One drawback is that you can’t pick up Native in local stores. However, they do offer a subscription, so you aren’t stuck without deodorant! Also, it’s free shipping and free returns (music to my ears). I would definitely recommend Native and hope you like it as much as I do! If you order now, you also get a free travel sized deodorant, here: Native.

We’d love to hear your deodorant experiences. Let us know if you make the switch!

XOXO,

Lauren

 

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Couples Workout – Marriage Maker or Breaker?

In this month of love, John and I tried something that we have never done before. While it took a bit of convincing, we finally decided to take the plunge. We tried – wait for it – a COUPLES BOOTCAMP class! If your read my bucket list post, you know that a goal of mine this year is healthy living and adventure. This class seemed to check both boxes…and what says love more than couples bootcamp??

John and I generally don’t workout together, besides the occasional tennis game or walk. So, I thought this would be a fun way to connect and get a good workout in! (Side note: He joined me for a couple of weeks during a P90X kick I was on, but after spending an uncomfortable amount of time and eventually getting stuck in frog pose, during the Yoga day, he was out.)

If you checked out the Acro Yoga or Aerial Yoga posts, you know that I am all “gung-ho” about signing up for new workouts, but when the rubber meets the road, I freak out! So, this time was no different, but I tried to put on a brave face for John. I’m not a total bootcamp class newbie (usually end up puking my guts out at minute 40) but this was John’s first time. I won’t say that I gave him ALL the facts about the workout we were about to do, but thought I prepared him enough to not be totally caught off guard. (John is one of those annoying people that doesn’t work out regularly, but can join in and outwork me, so I didn’t feel too bad.) When we got to the gym and he saw the set up below, John gave me one of his “looks”, followed by a characteristic *sigh*…he he.

We were divided into groups of three couples and circulated through several stations. Our trainer, Brittany, kept us “motivated” and on track. She and her training partner were super encouraging and took special care to make sure we had good form and knew what we were supposed to do (especially for those of us who probably had a “deer in the headlights” look).

I would totally recommend this bootcamp class! You can catch it every Saturday morning at the HIT center. Take your gal-pal, bestie, or significant other and have a fun, calorie torching workout before 10am!

XOXO,

Lauren

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V-Day Gift Guide: Super Unique Gifts You Can’t Miss!

Who doesn’t like getting a gift? I realize that there are other “love languages” out there, but let’s be real, no one is going to to turn down a present picked just for them!!  If you are looking for some unique options that will up your gift game from chocolate and flowers for your parents, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, and friends, keep reading!

Capitol Market

We stopped by this market on our way back from Aerial Yoga for some fruit and found a huge selection of tasty treats and drinks! There is something for everyone here. You will find everything from delicious candy, wine, coffee to cheese, meats and fruit. There is something for everyone here!

 

 

Birchbox Subscription

While this isn’t a new idea, Birchbox had evolved with the times and have started curating more personalized boxes of makeup, skincare, nail care, and fragrance options. I absolutely LOVED receiving these boxes each month with new beauty products to try. These start at just $10/month and now have them for the GQ men in your life. 😉

 

UE Wonderboom

This little waterproof, super portable, bluetooth speaker will change your life. The sound quality is awesome. This is a must-have for anyone with kids.  You can easily carry this speaker from room to room for dance parties and sound machine noises. It is also especially good for traveling.

 

Packing Cubes

For your organized friends (or ones that need some organization in their lives), these packing cubes are AWESOME! They are totally worth the less than $25 price tag. I used these when packing my kids for Disney and it was super helpful.  They come in several different colors, which makes it easy to identify whose clothes are in the suitcase!

 

Mousepad

While this might not be the most romantic gift you’ve ever given, I can say that this is one of the best mousepads I’ve ever used! My husband, who spends the majority of his day at the computer, recommended this to me and I haven’t turned back. It is super responsive and under $10! Your techie friends/family will thank you!

 

Silicone Ring

In addition to our Acro Yoga and Aerial Yoga adventures that you’ve seen, these rings would definitely be great for weight training or crossfit workouts. I got my husband one and he says it is super comfortable and would totally recommend it. These are less than $25!

I hope these unique gift ideas will be a great paring with the fun/romantic/crazy night you have planned with your boo or gal-pals!

XOXO,

Lauren

P.S. Make sure to check out the Sushi Bar at Capitol Market – they have some of my favorite grab-n-go treats (even my kids approve!)

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Flipping Out Over Aerial Yoga – Bent And Twisted!

As our focus on health and wellness in the new year continues, we are also putting a lot of effort into stepping outside of our comfort zones and trying new adventures!  It’s so easy to get caught in a rut – doing the same things, every single day, simply because it’s comfortable.  One of our goals in 2018 is to get adventurous, take you all along with us as we step outside of our ‘bubble’ and really experience the world around us.  True growth only happens when you put fear aside and walk into a situation that makes you uncomfortable, facing it head on.  You’re forced to dig deep in your soul and trust that you CAN do hard things and that you ARE strong enough to conquer whatever lies ahead.  It’s also really important to have a good sense of humor.  Being able to laugh at your small failures makes every situation in life so.much.easier.

After conquering Acro Yoga a few weeks ago, we had a boost in confidence and decided that Aerial Yoga would be our next adventure.  Although our yoga instructors assured us that we could do it, there were still some nerves involved.  Aerial Yoga seemed easier in the sense that we didn’t have a partner that we could injure or fall on, but then it seemed harder because it fully 100% depended on our own strength and ability.

While we were driving to class, Lauren’s fear of the unknown started to take over.  She went into a full on panic attack.  I mean, we’re talking deep breathing, wanting to vomit, couldn’t eat breakfast, level 1 nervous breakdown.  Jill comforted Lauren the best way she knew how – by laughing until she cried and by ‘snap chatting’ Lauren’s Britney Spears 2007 style breakdown (*spoiler alert* no shaved heads).  It was honestly the best.thing.ever.  So that you can fully understand the hilarity of the situation, we’ve compiled a short video of our snaps to show what it was like inside that car on the way to class. This is the perfect sneak peak into our real lives; probably the best video we’ve ever posted – you’ll want to watch this one for sure!

 

Once we arrived at our destination, the nerves started to calm and it was time to man-up.  Just like acro yoga, before we knew it, we were knee-deep in the class; we were “flying” within minutes.  Here’s our breakdown on what to expect if you’re on the fence about aerial yoga.

A lot of you are probably thinking “I’m not sure I can do that.”  Actually, our first joke was “I wonder what the weight limit is on those straps?!?”  (You know you were thinking that too!)  Funny enough, one of the first things our instructor said was “there’s a 2,000 pound weight limit on the silks, so there’s literally nothing you can do to break them!”  (Shew!  Major fear calmed right there!)   There were all different body shapes and sizes in our class.  Some people were very physically fit, some people didn’t seem to be athletic at all and most of the class was just your average women.  The workout was adapted to all levels of fitness and you were able to opt out of any pose that you didn’t feel comfortable with (our backup plan was to chill in our hammocks if we got really scared.)  Luckily, we didn’t have to stoop to that level.  This class does require a certain amount of flexibility and upper body strength.  Because of that, I would suggest taking the class with a buddy; someone that can provide extra support getting into the tough poses.  As much fun as this was, DO expect to be *slightly* sore following the class.  Your body will be in positions that it may have never been in before (stretch really well before class if possible!).  The silks will definitely “hug” your legs (sometimes you’ll feel like your legs are getting squeezed in half – but, no worries, you’ll be just fine!)  Also, expect your hands to be tender after the class (you’ll be amazed how tightly you grip those silks!).  We had actually read that you could wear gloves to keep your hands from getting sore but we didn’t want to be those people….but, honestly, you should be that person – at least until you condition your hands to the workout.

 

 

 

This was super fun experience and we would totally recommend that you try it out with your group of friends. Yoga Power in Charleston was one of the most impressive studios we’ve visited! They have a coffee bar, retail area, tons of space to store your stuff and even a “foot cleansing” station! Be sure to check out yogapowerwv on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow them to get the latest on upcoming events and the aerial yoga schedule!

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

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Mom Approved Workout Gear – Affordable, Durable and Cute!

While we have all resolved to workout and improve our health this year, we also want to look good doing it! Here are some options that don’t break the bank, are durable and totally mom approved!

Yoga Pants:

Zella – These aren’t called “Live In High Waist Leggings” for nothing! I got a pair of these for Christmas and are an item that I could wear from lounging at home, to the gym, to the grocery store! They really SUCK you in, so if you are between sizes, size up. Who doesn’t love a high waist?? If you’ve never tried it, it is a game changer. 🙂

Victoria’s Secret – I’ve had several pairs of the Victoria Sport Anytime Yoga Pant since college! These are really thick and hide some of those bumps and rolls we are trying to work off. Ha. They are super durable and seems to keep their shape well after several washes.

Tops

Old Navy – I love this Go-Dry Racerback tank because it is breathable but provides a lot of coverage! I’ve had the black one for a couple of years and it still looks brand new.  The cut covers the front and the tush! Also, it’s not clinging but doesn’t balloon up. It’s a super cute and affordable option!

Nike – This Dry Training T-Shirt is a classic. It’s a littler longer than your average workout t-shirt which is great for those of us getting back on the workout train! The material is super soft and I love the color options.

Shoes

Adidas – My brother introduced me to the Ultra-Boosts. They are the most cushiony tennis shoes I’ve ever owned. If you want to feel like you are floating on clouds, this is the shoe for you. (I’d also recommend the NMDs…my husband swears by them.) Make sure you are wearing the right shoe for you, it can make all the difference in your workouts.

Sports Bra

Nike – This Classic Swoosh Support Bra is what I’ve been using forever. It is total wash and wear and has tons of color options.

If you’re looking to burn a few extra calories or intensify your workouts just a bit, I highly suggest this Gold’s Gym Neoprene Waist Trimmer.  I never workout without one!  This really warms up your core for a good healthy sweat.

If you’re looking to shed some pounds quickly or really step up your workout game, then you should try the Gold’s Gym Sauna Suit.  While I realize this contraption is anything but stylish, it really works.  You will absolutely pour the sweat!  I recommend wearing this during your home workouts.  Your workout buddies might be slightly embarrassed if you show up at the gym sporting this rubber made beauty.

If you’re like me and really enjoy the weight room (or even just the Nautilus Circuit) make sure to invest in a good pair of Gold’s Gym Wrist Wraps.  These will provide vital support when lifting heavy – your wrists will thank you!

As you may have already noticed, we’re really focusing on living a fab, fit and fun life in 2018.  Stay tuned for more workout adventures – I wonder what we will be up to next?!?

Make sure to like, comment and subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything!

XOXO

Jill & Lauren

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Flying High With Acro Yoga; We Thought We Were Going To Die!

 

How many times have you gotten into something that you weren’t really planning on doing, but your friend asked you go, so there you are?!  Well, that’s exactly what happened last week.  Lauren sent a text that said “OMG, Acro Yoga popped up on my Facebook feed, it would be hilarious, any chance you want to try it??”  In Jill’s adventurous nature, she replied with “let’s do it”.  Before we knew it, we were booking an Acro Yoga workshop class on the MindBody App (we had absolutely no idea what we were getting into – neither of us even practice yoga regularly) but the rest is history.

The next day we had the normal text conversations, you know, like “still on for tonight?” And, most importantly, “what are you going to wear?”  As if one of us was going to reply with a “sundress and wedges” (why do girls always do this?!?  I’m the worst for it.)  We made a plan and we were all set.  Lauren arrived at the yoga studio parking lot first and called Jill.  At this point, panic was setting in!  As Lauren was watching the yoga regulars walk in to class she started to feel as if we had made a HUGE mistake.  While we were on the phone Jill talked Lauren ‘off the ledge’ and arrived shortly after.  When we walked into the yoga studio, we both began to giggle nervously as we got ready for class.  The lights were down low, soothing music was playing in the background and the regulars were already warming up (mind you, we don’t even know how to properly warm up for acro yoga.)  Sooo….in true blogger fashion, what did we do?!?  We found a better lit room and began to take a few selfies (I’m not even kidding.)  About this time, Jill realized that she forgot to even bring a yoga mat (I mean, isn’t that like yoga 101?!?)  Luckily, the studio provided a mat but I’m pretty sure this was the first hint that we didn’t really know what we were doing.

 

After a few minutes of waiting anxiously in the foyer (and deep breathing), we finally worked up the courage to walk into the studio.  To our surprise, the instructors and other classmates were overwhelmingly warm and inviting.  We quickly ousted ourselves as newbies, but luckily, that didn’t really seem to matter.  The instructors were amazing; so very patient, kind and encouraging.  They talked us, and the rest of the class, through every movement.  They kept us safe, and most importantly, they provided a really fun learning environment.

 

Thoughts from Jill:

I’m not really sure what I expected going into the class.  I vaguely knew what acro yoga was but I wasn’t sure what all we would do at the workshop.  I did a quick google search of acro yoga poses (isn’t that how we learn everything these days?!?)  I was equally nervous and excited as I browsed through all the photos of acro yoga.  As I looked through the poses, some of them made me think “I can do that.”  But some of the more complicated poses gave me heart palpitations.  I quickly told Lauren that I would be the base (person on the bottom; the lifter.)  Strength has always been my thing but my flexibility is not what it was 10 years ago.  As it turns out, Lauren was a much better base.  At first, I felt like my legs were just too short to get the flyer (the person being lifted) properly in the air.  Towards the end of the workshop I finally figured the base thing out, but surprisingly, I liked being the flyer.  There is something very freeing about hanging upside down, in the air, suspended by a stranger’s feet and totally trusting that they won’t drop you!

The workshop was roughly 2.5 hours long.  Going into it, that seemed like a really long, overwhelming amount of time.  But we enjoyed it so much that time literally flew by.  Before we knew it, it was time to leave and we didn’t want it to end!  Overall, Acro Yoga was much more about trust and team building and very little about skill.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the teachers have A LOT of skill and they’ve obviously worked very hard at their craft.  They’re amazing.  But they were able to give us the quick-n-dirty on acro yoga and within the first thirty minutes I was flying upside down.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that would happen.  I figured we would mostly watch them and maybe do something really simple.  In the pictures below, you’ll see the crazy positions they had us in.  I’m still kind of shocked, but I can’t wait to do it again!

Sidenote:  When I told my BFF’s that I was taking this class, they had every joke in the book – including information for the Orthopedics Department at the local emergency room.  I’m not even kidding – of course it was all in good fun.  But honestly, I think this would be a really cool girlfriends retreat experience.  Because we had no idea what we were doing, we laughed sooo hard (we didn’t really bring tranquility to the class, but we’ll work on that next time I swear.)  We also felt really great accomplishment when we landed a pose.  It was the most uplifting environment.  If you’re in good health, I would totally suggest giving this a try!

 

 

Thoughts from Lauren:

So, as you saw above, I was totally freaked out about this after I signed up and to be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.  One of my facebook friends was “interested” in this class, and I thought it would be a fun, different kind of yoga class to try. I am not a full on yogi, but have taken my fair share of meditative/restorative/bikram/prenatal yoga classes. Once I started googling pics to see what I was in for, I totally lost it.  There was everything from 3 to 4 person pyramids to crazy bendy people in all kinds of unnatural positions. I immediately regretted my decision. For some unknown reason, I tried to get affirmation that I could do this from my husband and friends, but they immediately laughed me out of the room.

I was a basket case before I left the house; I was trying out poses with my 3 year old.  Soooo, just a little insight into me, I like my personal space…the thought of randos holding me up with their FEET and vice versa, had me basically needing a paper bag to breathe into (I really didn’t think this through did I?!?!).  Once Jill arrived and we made our way inside the yoga studio, everything was calm and serene. You know those times (like in school or church) where you aren’t supposed to laugh but you can’t control yourself?? Well, this was one of those times. It was laugh or cry – I was so out of my league.

As uncomfortable as I was going in, the instructors Angie and Nate, totally turned it around in the first five minutes. They were so knowledgeable and encouraging. It took an incredible amount of trust, focus and stability to take the first leap, but after that it was super fun. (My middle school cheerleading career didn’t hurt in helping me get up in some of these poses – I was definitely “pinching a penny”! Ha!) I hit my stride and the 2.5 hour workshop flew by. (I wasn’t even freaked out by the personal space issues!) I would totally recommend this class/workshop to anyone looking for something outside of the box. Here are some of the crazy/fun things we got into:

 

 

For more information on Acro Yoga check out Angie Edmunds at Yoga Power, LLC in Charleston, WV or her workshops at Studio 8 in Huntington, WV.

Namaste my friends.  Cheers to a peaceful, fun, uplifting week.

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

 

 

 

 

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My Bucket List for the Year

It’s a new year – a total clean slate. It’s a time for new beginnings, goals, resolutions, and bucket list items. I am, for sure, an optimist, and I totally get into thinking about things I’d like to change in my life, how I I want to grow, what I want to do and accomplish and how it’s going to happen. *Let me just stop right here* and acknowledge that all of us with young children are totally in survival mode and just getting ourselves and families fed, dressed and out the door in the morning is an accomplishment. But, as I come through the fog of having an infant (2 toddlers now!?!), I have a newfound burst of energy to tackle some of the things that were on hold for the last year or so.

So, to be completely honest, I have found some of my inspiration for my New Year’s resolutions from The Bucket List Family.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a family who sold everything to travel around the world, learn about different cultures and give back.  I first learned about them as they partnered with Disney and reviewed resorts in their 30 Stays in 30 Days videos. I really appreciate their goals for the family: Adventure, Service and Culture (and health). (I also absolutely love the idea of living with less “stuff”, but that’s another post for another time. 😁) This was completely inspiring to me, so this year, my big goals for myself and family are Adventure, Service and Healthy Living.

Adventure

The wanderlust is real, you guys. Traveling is my happy place! While John and I aren’t going to sell everything and travel the world with our kids, this year my goal is to experience something new each month. While some of our adventures may be big, like a trip to New Zealand, some will be as simple as a visit to a new museum or new art class.

The last few years have flown by! If you are like me, you would love to slow things down (especially those sweet moments with your babies). You know how everyone says, if you want to slow the years down, take some time to learn something new? Here’s my attempt to make the most of the time with my family and have a really fun time doing it!

Service

Some of us are better at giving back than others. I love giving to charities and good causes, but getting down to the nitty gritty and rolling up my sleeves? Not as good. This year, I’d love to show my kids the value of getting involved in hands-on church and community projects to make our town a great place to live.

Healthy Living

Every year I make the resolution to lose weight, but this year, I am committing to a healthier lifestyle. Without health, we are really super limited to what we can do. Whether I like to admit it or not, I feel better when I exercise – I have more energy for my kids and am generally in a better mood (“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. -Elle Woods). I am working on incorporating both strength training and HIIT training into my workout plan. Not only will that help keep me feeling good but I will be able to keep up with my kids!

Throughout this year, Jill and I will take you on our personal journeys and show you our fun (and hilarious) fitness adventures, life hacks, beauty tips/tricks, healthy living ideas and a lot more! Coming up is a series on fitness. Check back for our post on AcroYoga!!

Thank you all for taking the time to keep up with us and we look forward to hearing your resolutions, goals, and great tips for making 2018 a great year! Don’t forget to subscribe (below if you are on your mobile device and to the right if you are on your PC) and get the latest updates!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Get Fit With Jill; Everything You Need For A High Energy Home Workout

As most of you already know, exercise is my sanity.  It is the perfect stress reliever for me, and when I go a few days without getting a good sweat in, I become a total bear!  Like, woah! (sorry family.)  So many times in the past I’ve slacked on my exercise schedule because, well, life happened.  Like most of you, i’m crazy busy; everyone around here has  a ‘schedule’, even the toddler.  There are always a million things to do and getting to the gym seems impossible at times.  2017 has been a great year for me so far, and a huge part of that success can be attributed to the fact that momma’s been getting her workouts in!   Not only do I look better, but I feel better; on the inside and outside.  Exercise is not only good for you physically, but it’s also good for you mentally and emotionally.  I’m not going to lie though, it’s not been easy.  So many times I’ve thought about making excuses, but I’ve tried really hard to push myself and get in a good workout at least 3-4 times a week.  Here’s  the crazy thing – nearly all of these workouts have been in the privacy of my own home.  Don’t get me wrong,  I AM a gym person and I love group classes.  I’ve had a Y membership for as long as I can remember and CrossFit is one of my all time favorite workouts.  However, it’s not always easy to make it to a class.  Often times my workouts don’t even happen until the kids are in bed, sometimes that may be 9 p.m. or later.  So I’ve found that home workouts are best for me at this stage in life.  I incorporate a lot of Crossfit style moves (body movement workouts) into my regular routine along with some small mobile equipment.  Below is a review of my favorite moves and home equipment.

 

My Favorite Equipment:

1.  Jump Rope – I start nearly every workout with jumping rope.  It’s great cardio and gets your blood pumping quickly!  Within just a few minutes you’ll be sweating and breathless.  For beginners, I would suggest the normal technique for jumping rope (jumping with both feet at one time with your knees slightly flexed.)  I love to change up my jumping routine often.  Sometimes i’ll swivel my core and lower body from side-to-side, sometimes i’ll alternate jumping on only one foot, and sometimes i’ll do a jumping jack motion with my feet (feet going together then apart.)  This breaks up the monotony and makes it fun!  Here’s a tip – do NOT purchase a jump rope that is made of actual “rope.”  You’ll want a rope that is made of a plastic/rubber substance – one that is made for speed.

Rogue Fitness Jump Rope

 

2.  Kettlebell – The Kettlebell is a great full body workout.  The kettlebell swing, if done properly, can be felt in your back, core, shoulders, butt and thighs.  It can be used many ways: the traditional kettlebell swing, it can be lifted one handed, and you can also use it for weighted squats.  There are many sizes/weights of kettlebells available.  (If you’re new to using a kettlebell, I would suggest starting out light and working your way up – maybe start around 10-15 pounds.  The kettlebells I use are 20lbs and 35lbs.)  There are also many home workout videos that do a full kettlebell workout, and trust me, you’ll feel the burn.

Golds Gym Kettlebell

Iron Core Kettlebell Workout DVD

 

3. Dumbbells – I have several different sizes of dumbbells that I use daily.  I use lighter weight dumbbells for high-rep exercises – usually to accompany some type of cardio move.  You can also use them while taking a brisk walk.  Although 3 lbs sounds really light, I promise you’ll feel muscle fatigue if you continuously use them for an extended amount of time!  I save the heavier dumbbells for low-rep movements that are targeting a specific area.   I use 3 lb, 5 lb, 10lb, 15lb and 20lb dumbbells.  (For the men, and super strong ladies, you may want to go even heavier.)

Light Weight Dumbbells

Heavy Weight Dumbbells

 

4.  Stability Ball – The stability ball can be used in SO many ways.  Sit-ups, pushups, legwork, core work; you name it and the stability ball can probably aid with the movement.  The stability ball also relieves pressure while making most moves more challenging, yet comfortable.  Another favorite of mine is the medicine ball.  The medicine ball is a weighted ball that can be used for squats and the infamous “wall balls” exercise.  If you’re unfamiliar, google this movement.  It’s the ultimate squat workout; however, you’ll either need very high ceilings or you’ll have to take this exercise outside!

Stability Ball

Medicine Ball

 

5.  Neoprene Waist Trimmer – My neoprene “sweat band” (as I so lovingly call it) is one of my most prized possessions!  Like a lot of people, my mid section is always my problem area.  Two c-sections later and momma will never have abs again.  During a normal workout, I don’t feel like my core sweats that much.  But when I wear my neoprene waist trimmer, ohh my lanta!  It’s on like Donkey Kong.  It maximizes the intensity of the workout dramatically; I never exercise without it.  (I will note, this product will heat your body up quickly!  Make sure to stay hydrated and make sure that you are healthy enough to use this product.)  Now prepare for the water works!

Neoprene Waist Trimmer

 

6.  Insanity: Fast And The Furious DVD – When I’m short on time but need to get a really good workout in, my go-to is “Insanity Fast And The Furious” DVD.  This exercise video is only 20 minutes, including the warm up and cool down, but it will kick your booty!  You will be dripping the sweat when you get done.  And best of all, there is no equipment involved and you really don’t even need that much room!  I highly suggest this product, and anything else Shaun T puts out.  He’s a beast!

 

Insanity Fast And The Furious DVD

 

My Favorite At Home Exercises:

  1. Squats
  2. Burpees
  3. Push Ups
  4. Lunges
  5. Kettlebell Swings
  6. Jump Rope
  7. Mountain Climbers
  8. Yoga/PiYo
  9. Planks
  10. Tuck Jump

I hope this information was helpful and I hope it gets you moving!  I’d love to hear about your favorite workout routines.  Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have.

XOXO

Jill

(Affiliate links included.)

Disclaimer: These are strictly my opinions.  I am NOT a personal trainer or fitness instructor.  These are simply exercises that have worked well for me.  Before starting a new workout routine you should consult with your physician.

 

 

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A Little Q&A with Your Bloggers

Relating to others is the key to life; and as humans, we’re curious by nature.  While we are sometimes a little TOO curious, here at Glitter Jungle, that is a-ok.  We’re here to share our lives with you and hopefully make a meaningful connection with all of our readers.  Some of you may know us very well and some of you may be ‘meeting’ us for the very first time.   So, because of that, we thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A.  Don’t you feel like you know a person a bit better after reading one of these posts on social media?   We hope these questions will tell you a little more about us.  Whether our responses make you think we are “totally basic” or “freaking awesome”, we hope to keep you coming back for more!  We can’t wait to read your questions and comments and we’ll do our very best to answer you back in a timely fashion.

Every Friday, starting April 7th, we will feature a Q&A Section introducing one of our fabulous friends.  Each week you’ll get to learn a little bit about our special guest and hear about their niche in life. We can’t wait to share these wonderful people with you.  They already make our lives more interesting and we hope they will do the same for you!   

XOXO  Jill & Lauren

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
    Jill: Pretty Woman
    Lauren: When Harry Met Sally I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.
  2. A book you plan on reading?
    Jill: Steve Harvey’s book “Jump” and Joanna Gaines book “The Magnolia Story.” Both Steve and Joanna are living legends in my opinion.
    Lauren: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance
  3. Favorite TV show that’s currently on?
    Jill: Fixer Upper & Dancing With The Stars
    Lauren: RHOBH, The Mindy Project, New Girl, and Scandal (Veep is about to return…Yeeeesssss!)
  4. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now?
    Jill: I live life on about a 12 – always an optimist!
    Lauren: 8 – I’m an optimist but cautiously optimistic 🙂
  5. Twitter or Instagram?
    Jill: Hands down, Instagram.
    Lauren: Both, but mostly Instagram
  6. What’s your favorite food?
    Jill: Steak
    Lauren: Bulgogi
  7. Least favorite food?
    Jill: Brussel Sprouts
    Lauren: Mushrooms
  8. Favorite drink?
    Jill: Chocolate Premier Protein Shakes; Favorite Cocktail: PixieStick Martini
    Lauren: Coke Zero; Favorite Cocktail: Vodka+Cranberry 
  9. Favorite dessert?
    Jill: My mamaw’s homemade chocolate cake with vanilla icing!
    Lauren:Ugh, this is too hard.  Cocoa Sheet Cake is right up there.
  10. What’s the hardest part about being a mom?
    Jill: Mom Guilt! And always worrying that you’re screwing everything up.
    Lauren: Trying to figure out what’s right for your child and staying consistent. There are a LOT of opinions out there.
  11. If you could only listen to one artist all day who would it be?
    Jill: Bruno Mars! But, really it depends on my mood. If I wanted to contemplate life, I’d pick Adele.
    Lauren: Pharrell 
  12. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
    Jill: Luke Bryan
    Lauren: Adele or Dolly Parton 
  13. If you had a tattoo, where would it be?
    Jill: Ribcage
    Lauren: On the side of my pinky finger
  14. Dogs or cats?
    Jill: Dogs!
    Lauren: D.O.G.S.
  15. Dream vacation destination?
    Jill: Anywhere Tropical.
    Lauren: Europe or Turks & Caicos
  16. What’s your favorite color?
    Jill: Coral
    Lauren: Green
  17. Diamonds or pearls?
    Jill: Pearls <3
    Lauren: Both
  18. Heels or flats?
    Jill: Always heels
    Lauren: Flats
  19. Favorite fitness trend?
    Jill: Heavy weights / CrossFit
    Lauren: TRX (kind of a love/hate relationship) and Barre
  20. Best way to de-stress?
    Jill: Exercise! Sweating is my favorite. Exercise cleanses the mind and body.
    Lauren: Massage
  21. If you had one superpower, what would it be?
    Jill: To travel back in time, knowing everything that I know now
    Lauren: Mind reading
  22. What is your least favorite thing about yourself?
    Jill: My super pale skin
    Lauren: My allergies
  23. What is your most favorite thing about yourself?
    Jill: My blue eyes or my hair. Or maybe my outgoing personality.
    Lauren: Adaptability – I have made friends with a lot of different kinds of people.
  24. Who do you miss most?
    Jill: That’s easy. My mamaw.
    Lauren: My Grandmother
  25. What are you listening to now?
    Jill: ‘Nobody’ by Keith Sweat (Old School baby!)
    Lauren: Everything on the Voice
  26. Favorite smell?
    Jill: Men’s cologne. *swoon*
    Lauren: The Body Shop’s Grapefruit scented hand sanitizer (who’s a germaphobe? *raises hand*)
  27. Favorite Sport?
    Jill: Volleyball to play, Football to watch
    Lauren: To play-Volleyball, To watch-Football (in person)
  28. Scary film or happy endings?
    Jill: Happy Endings. I only like movies that make me laugh or happy cry!
    Lauren: Happy
  29. Favorite season?
    Jill: Summer forever!!
    Lauren: Summer (my birthday season!)
  30. Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?
    Jill: Candace Cameron Bure, Kelly Ripa and Jennifer Garner
    Lauren: Laura Bush, Mary-the mother of Jesus (What was it like raising normal kids and also God incarnate?), and Chrissy Teigen 
  31. Sweet or savory?
    Jill: I have a serious sweet tooth. I need a twelve step program!
    Lauren: Sweet…’betcha didn’t see that coming.
  32. What would be the title of your autobiography?
    Jill: She believed she could, so she did.
    Lauren: Lean Back
  33. Who is your girl crush?
    Jill: Jennifer Lopez
    Lauren: Sandra Bullock 
  34. If you could have a date with a celebrity who would it be?
    Jill: Shemar Moore
    Lauren: Ryan Reynolds
  35. Revisit any year in your life what would it be?
    Jill: 2001 – I was a freshman in college, my dance team won a National Championship and I joined my Sorority – Phi Mu. My sorority sisters are like family and they’re worth every penny that I “paid for them!” 😉
    Lauren: Any year in college!
  36. Guilty Pleasure?
    Jill: Drinking Coke Zero, eating Peanut Butter directly from the jar and watching Golden Girls reruns
    Lauren: Real Housewives of anywhere and Magnum ice cream bars
  37. Spirit Animal?
    Jill: DJ Tanner (Fuller House)
    Lauren: Mindy Kaling
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