Friday, February 5, 2016

Yoga

I tried Yoga for the first time ever last month. It wasn't a New Year's resolution or anything I planned. I was chatting to a neighbor and she invited me to check out a new yoga studio nearby with her. The first class was free, so I figured it would be fun and nice to get out of the house.

I absolutely fell in love with it! It was exactly what I was looking for and needed. I'm low weight, so I avoid jogging or doing cardio type workouts because I'm afraid I'll lose weight. I wanted to do exercise other than walking. Yoga was exactly what I was looking for! I could gain muscle and strength without burning tons of calories. Research has also shown it is beneficial to those with underactive thyroid or adrenal fatigue. 

It's a huge stress reliever (at least for me). I've learned so many relaxation techniques like different forms of breathing that I'm now using in my everyday life. 

I purchased an unlimited one month plan at Ananda Yoga + Wellness. There was a discount for new clients. That also allowed me to try the different classes offered to see what type of classes I like, as well as what day/time works for me. My favorite are the mixed level classes (medium level difficulty) and candlelight classes in the evening. 

The studio is peaceful and not surrounded by mirrors and harsh lighting like most gyms. They diffuse essential oils and play relaxing music during class. There's various props like blocks, blankets and straps available too. 

A few people mentioned that I could save money doing yoga at home. I could certainly save, but I think part of the relaxation is that I'm getting out of the house and away from distractions/stressors. Since I'm new to it, it helps to have feedback from an instructor too. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Storybook Land 2015

One of my favorite annual traditions in the fall is going to Storybook Land. I went there as a kid and now I take my kids! It's a small theme park located near the Jersey shore.
We go in October because hay rides, pumpkin picking and a corn maze are included in the admission price. We purchase tickets in the winter during their Early Ticket sale which helped cut the cost.
The weather has been unpredictable the last few years. Last year it was unseasonably warm summer-like weather. This year it was freezing! I had these cute plaid outfits with vests selected for the occasion, but it was so cold the kids wore winter coats throughout the park.
There was a new swing ride this year shaped like a tree.
This construction truck ride opened last year and the kids love it! They rode this ride twice.
They were all too scared to try the new Tick Tock Drop ride (based on Hickory Dickory Dock). We just settled for a photo in front of the ride.
They pet Mary's little lamb.
We also got a photo in front of the Three Pigs' house.
They moved the hay maze to a different location in the park this year with more space.
There is a numbered puzzle kids need to find the pieces for inside the maze. It's pretty challenging even for adults!
It was getting colder and colder as sunset approached, so we picked our pumpkins quickly after the maze. Chris and I didn't bring warmer coats.
We went out for dinner after our trip which was a fun way to end our day :) 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Which Kitchen Light Fixture?

Next month's house project will be installing a new kitchen light over our dinner table. I need help choosing which light fixture to go with! I am looking based on style. We rarely ever use the current fixture over our table because our kitchen already has recessed lighting installed.  Ok, here are the selections (I'm open to other suggestions as well, so leave a link if you have one).

One of these Allen + Roth candle chandeliers. There is an oval version and line version. Our kitchen table is rectangular for reference.




This modern glass fixture from Ballard Designs. I love the Edison light bulbs and it looks easy to clean.


Last, this circular light with black and wood that matches our kitchen table perfectly. It looks much better in person and also has Edison light bulbs.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Longwood Gardens 2015

We have season passes to Longwood Gardens (a historical garden/conservatory). It's an extremely popular tourist attraction, especially at Christmas. It was a hassle to reserve tickets, but I'm so glad we made it out this year!

We went two weeks ago to look at this year's Christmas display and take a few photos of the kids in their Christmas outfits. We did change them at Longwood after pictures into more comfortable/warm clothes, hence why the boys are wearing jeans with their sweaters.
There is a different color theme inside the conservatory each year. I think last year was white and this year it was blue which matched their Christmas clothes perfectly.



My only complaint was that they blocked off several paths which forced you to follow the tour line through the whole conservatory. It was very crowded and hot indoors from the crowds and there was no way to turn around once you started the tour. A difficultly with small kids. Hopefully, next year they will allow tourist the option to visit specific areas again outside of the tour.


I loved the concept of this frozen sprinkler water display.
One room off of the conservatory has furniture from the DuPont home staged, along with Christmas trees.
One of the the rooms in the conservatory displays Christmas trees placed in water. This year the trees were made of poinsettia plans which you can see in the background of these photos. 


After we changed the kids and put on coats, we headed outside around twilight to see the train display. They put out trains in the fall and have it decorated with fall mums and then change it to winter foliage with lights for the holidays. The specific trains are changed out a few times a day. This time they had Thomas and Emily running the tracks (my boys used to be huge Thomas fans). 

Once the sun set, it got very cold and the kids were getting tired. I wanted to get a few bokeh shots of the Christmas lights. I didn't bring my tripod this year for night shots, as they require you to fill out a permit to use one. 


Chris headed to the car with the kids while I took the time to get these shots. He doesn't have the patience to wait for me to take photos, especially in the cold. We used a gift card to go out to dinner afterward, so we had an enjoyable day and evening!

Getting Our Christmas Tree 2015

Friday, December 11, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Best Cameras 2015


I frequently get asked for advice/suggestions on which cameras to buy for the holiday season, so I decided to compile a list of my favorites based on age and needs.  

Instax Mini 8-Perfect for the film lover. This is on my Christmas list this year to use for fun. It prints tiny photos instantly! Affordable choice for gift exchanges or teens.

GoPro Hero-The best choice for kidsteens, young adults or those that participate in high energy sports. This takes photos and videos. There are various models for different price points. It's waterproof, tiny (fits in the palm of your hand) and versatile. I own the Hero 3+ and I've taken about 200 video clips this year alone.

Canon S110-This is the best choice for parents and families. Many are purchasing DSLRs in hopes of taking better photos, but unless you purchase lenses or know HOW to use a camera manually a DSLR will not give your better results. Go with the less bulky point and shoot that you're actually going to use. 

Nikon D3300-Best for the amateur, hobbiest or photography student. They are the ones that will most benefit from this model. Unless you plan to purchase lenses or learn photography, save your money and get a high quality point and shoot like suggested above. Also, there is hardly any difference between the entry level Nikon DSLRs, so don't assume the higher priced models like the 5000 series are better because they cost more.  

Nikon D750-Top pick for the professional photographer. If I was purchasing a camera tomorrow, this would be my choice. Pros only for this model, as there aren't automatic modes and it is sold body only (no lens is included). 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pillow Talk

Let's talk about pillows...


The past few years I have purchased pillows from Target and Walmart. They were so cheap, usually under $5. What a great deal I thought! Until not even a month later, the pillow went flat. I tried to fluff them and put them in the drier, but the result was always the same. Flat. Solution: Go out and purchase a new one. Until I realized, these pillows weren't such a great deal after all, if I had to buy a new one frequently.

Over the summer, I started to notice that I was getting up at night to fix or fluff my pillow. This would happen about once or twice during the night until recently when I got fed up. My shoulder or neck would occasionally feel off like I slept wrong too. I decided I would invest in a good quality pillow. Why is that so hard to do?! I guess justifying spending $50-$60 on just a pillow was what was holding me back.

Mattress stores sell them for around $80. I saw a friend post that Costco sells them a little more affordably. However, I don't have a membership there. I was passing by Ikea after attending a family funeral this week and decided to take a look at their pillows. They had a huge selection! King size, queen size, soft and firm, feather, down fill and polyester, memory foam, etc. They list the percentages of fill and exactly what feathers or fibers are inside on the display which is helpful. There was a whole section of the store dedicated to pillows and comforters.

I decided to purchase the Guldpalm pillow in firm for me and the soft version for Chris. I tested several out in the store. As silly as it looks, you really need to test them out. I liked that their pillows can be machine washed and come sterilized. Once you open them, I don't think you can return them since the sterile seal has been broken. So, as excited as I was to try out my new pillow, I was too scared to open it and try it out! It was $60 and what if it didn't work for me? Thankfully, it was just fine and I got a perfect night's sleep.


What type of pillow do you use? Where do you purchase pillows?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fall Favorites Tag

Eagles Jersey | This was an early birthday present from Chris. The eagle is solid sequins and it has a perfect fit. VS Pink is currently sold out of Eagles apparel, but there's lots of other teams available!

Chickadee Eyeshadow | I know what you're thinking, you could never wear this eye color. Not true! It's a blendable, soft orange that is incredible. Very unique shade that I frequently wear. Of course MUG eyeshadows are free of chemicals and parabens too.

Prosperous Eye Pencil | I love pairing this green pencil with my Eagles tee! It's waterproof and smudgeproof. I even made a video to show how hard it is to wash off. Paraben free as well.

Stuck Up Lipstick | Perfect 90's neutral lip. This was a limited edition shade. I know, I'm always posting limited edition lip products, but they are always the best Follow Younique and Make Kay reps to get limited edition lip products when they are released. I linked a similar shade for you all.

Rebel Pendant Necklace | They sell this in gold, rose gold or silver and I get so many compliments on it! I had someone ask if it was vintage and another ask if it was my grandmother's. Best kind of compliment in my opinion!

Pumpkin Pie Candle | It was so hard to select ONE scent for fall. This one smells disappointing in the store, but lit it is perfect. This is not a sweet/food scented candle either!

Plaid Scarf | Scarves instantly pull a look together and I have quite a few. This one stood out to me because of the rich green shade.

Quilted Vest | A splurge. I wanted this last year and it seemed EVERYONE was wearing it. It's a wardrobe investment, but I think it's classic style makes it a worthwhile investment. They sell several colors and patterns. 30% off today only which is huge because I have watched this piece for a year and it never went on sale.

Rockstar Jeans | Audrey has been blogging about these for years, but I'm picky when it comes to the fit of jeans. These were inexpensive so I was skeptical at first. They fit like a glove and have a nice stretch.