Erin Condren Seasonal Surprise Box | Spring 2017

Starting this year Erin Condren decided to put out a seasonal mystery box full of exclusives, sneak peeks, and product favorites.  The catch is you don’t know what is in the box until it shows up at your door.  By the time you start seeing posts on Instagram or on YouTube, the box has long since been sold out and you wouldn’t be able to get your hands on it anyway, so you have to be willing to fork over the moolah and hope for the best. The box costs $35 and ships free in the USA.  I didn’t get the winter box, but I decided to take the plunge for spring.  Curious as to what is inside?  Read on!

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6 Tips To Help You Conquer Your Cravings

For me, one of the most difficult parts of this entire weight loss journey is knowing how to make the right choices when a craving strikes. Whether it be for the jar of peanut butter, a delicious piece of pizza, or the Hersey’s kisses in the candy jar, I get cravings regularly, and they’re often the reason my day doesn’t go as planned.  Let’s face it, if we didn’t have to fight off cravings, odds are we wouldn’t be in the situation where we need to lose weight anyway, right?  What’s a gal to do?

What we need are ways to conquer our cravings so we can take back control and eat the things we want when we decide to rather than allow a craving to decide for us. Here are 6 tips to help you (and me) beat those cravings next time we’re wanting something that doesn’t fit into our day.

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Sunday Shenanigans | The Diva Diaries

It’s 8:30pm on Sunday night. Mister left for the airport a few hours ago (typically he doesn’t leave until Monday mornings), so it’s just me and my fur baby. Our shenanigans mentioned in the title aren’t all that crazy, as I’m already in pjs, makeup removed, and watching the latest episode of Shark Tank with Gracie on the couch sleeping next to me.  We Engebretsen ladies sure know how to party it up on a Sunday night, huh?  To be fair, in an effort to get a little bit of a headstart on my week, the kitchen is clean, I have a video rendering, and I’m working on a blog post, so all is not lost in my evening.  

I also need to get off my butt for a whopping 800 more steps to reach my step goal for the day, and I didn’t even go to the gym today!

Life in the WW arena was all about balance toady. I was way below points up until dinner, where I wanted to enjoy a bowl of Trader Joe’s organic creamy tomato soup. It’s only 4sp per cup and it is to die for delicious.  Since I had plenty of room for a bit more indulgence, I knew what I needed to pair with my tomato soup.  Any guesses??

 

If you guessed a grilled cheese sandwich, you were spot on.  After all, those two items were made for each other, don’t you think?

Since the only things in my kitchen that came anywhere close to ingredients for a grilled cheese was a high fiber wrap for 1sp and fat free shredded cheese, I decided the best answer was to hop over to Panera and order a sandwich from there, but it wasn’t just a regular grilled cheese.  Did you know you could customize that sucker to become a super tasty (and yes, calorie heavy) beast? My sandwich was made on sourdough bread with white cheddar, parmesan and gouda cheeses, crumbled bacon, and tomatoes. Imagine dipping that baby into a bowl of hot tomato soup.  It was so good.  It wiped me of the rest of my points for the day, but you know what? SO worth it.  Sometimes you just need to have some yummy comfort food, and having to say goodbye to my husband a mere 48 hours after he got home last while in the midst of what I can only guess are hormonally induced emotions…well, it didn’t take much for me to decide that this meal was the way to go.  

Since Panera is reasonably nearby, my bargain with myself is if I order from there, I walk to go pick it up, which I did, and I didn’t add any sweets to my order! Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind, but the sandwich was more than enough.  So… steps, no sweet treat, and a satisfying comfort food meal that I don’t feel at all guilty about.

Tonight’s final objective is to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get a solid night’s sleep, and start tomorrow with a hardcore workout and a perfectly on plan day.  

After all..a lifetime of healthy living is all about balance. 

Fat Tuesday | The Diva Diaries

Today is Fat Tuesday.  I never really liked the name “Fat” Tuesday, especially since becoming a Weight Watcher.  To me, it just seems like this day where we can basically toss all of our dieting rules out the window and be fat, and this bothered me for a few reasons. 

  1. One day of indulgence is not going to make you fat.  I repeat: One day of indulgence is NOT going to make you fat. You gain weight, I mean really gain, when it’s day after day after day of indulging.
  2. Those of us on a diet sometimes have a hard enough time controlling ourselves.  We need to A) not have a day that encourages us to throw everything out the window, and B) come to terms with the idea that we have the power to have a little indulgence in moderation worked right into our plan.  Going to the extreme is not necessary.

Now, all of that being said, I kind of did participate in the “fat” part of today.  First, I didn’t really track today, and I don’t even feel guilty about it, but that’s because of some of the decisions I made.  I had a regular breakfast (5 sp), but later in the day I got sidetracked with my niece before going to the gym, and that resulted in me getting hungry at my parent’s house, which never results in good choices (Note to self: get better at keeping a snack in your purse at all times.).  I treated myself to some crackers (I did choose Triscuits over the buttery onion crackers) and this amazing spreadable cheese my mom gets from the Amish bakery when it visits her work every few months, and followed that up with a handful-ish of peanut M&Ms.  Rockstar move..I know. 

Every year on Fat Tuesday there is a pancake dinner at my church (the Lutheran church.  My YouTube subscribers know that I regularly attend 2 churches.  I call one the “Little Lutheran Church” and the other is “the bigger, contemporary church”), so it’s ingrained in me to have pancakes for dinner on Fat Tuesday.  My original plan was to go to the dinner and enjoy regular old pancakes with my parents, but I was later informed they weren’t going, so I changed plans and made myself protein pancakes instead.  It was a much healthier option, but it was also followed up with a mini chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  It was delicious, indulgent, and worth every un-tracked bite.  At least I’m keeping the healthy and unhealthy choices pretty balanced.. Gold star for that. 

Fat Tuesday also means so much more than a day of indulgence.  Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent beginning.  Lent is regarded in the Christian faith is a time for repentance, renewal, and typically some form of sacrifice, which is why many give something up for Lent. It’s the start of the 40 days leading up to Easter, aka the whole reason our belief system exists. It has been quite a few years since I’ve chosen to give something up for Lent, but instead, I’ve been choosing to add something to my day, sacrificing my time in an effort to spend more time with God (I wrote a whole post on this several years ago). This year, Lent conveniently coincides with my discovery of a new (to me) weight loss book that mixes faith along with diet called Made to Crave.  I’m halfway through it (since starting the audio book yesterday..I couldn’t stop listening) and I think its message is perfectly timed for me to use this new way of thinking about healthy living alongside the Lenten season.

In a nutshell, this book talks about as humans we are made to crave, but where we should be craving God, we’ve replaced that desire for other things like material possessions, alcohol, sex, drugs, popularity, and of course, food. The book talks about how this desire to lose weight and get healthy can also be (and should be) a spiritual journey to get closer to God.  If we fill our cravings with God, there will be no room to be ruled by food.  If we focus on our obedience to God and how he would want us to treat our bodies, which are a gift from him, we can more easily overcome our physical and emotional setbacks and get up and moving.  

To many of you, it may sound like a bunch of crap, and if that’s the case, then maybe this isn’t for you, but something in this book clicked for me, and I am so excited to take this new approach to my weight loss.  Starting tomorrow, it isn’t about eliminating one thing for Lent.  It’s about seeking to be more obedient to God by taking better care of this body he gave me.  I want to get better about eating more whole foods and less sugar (perhaps by giving up regular indulgences like candy and non-WW friendly goods in the process). I want to focus on getting stronger and more functional rather than just thinner.  While this adventure of mine will last more than the duration of Lent, these 40 days will definitely give me a great start.  

Here we go.

 

The Diva Diaries First Post

Well hello there. Welcome to a brand new section of my blog that I’ve decided to call “The Diva Diaries.” I was inspired by the book I’m currently reading, The Adventures of Dietgirl, to start a journaling section of the site that I can basically treat like a much less formal (I know my blog isn’t “formal” anyway,) place where I basically write as if I was writing in my notebook journal.  The book is the story of one woman’s weight loss journey all written in journal entry format, and the more I read, the more I was feeling compelled to do something similar.

I’m not sure what you can expect from my Diva Diaries posts because it’s a journal, so it’s going to be whatever is on my mind. My goal is to center it around my ongoing weight loss journey, but you never know where my mind might go.  What I can promise is plenty of struggles, discoveries, victories, failures, and everything else that goes into this crazy little thing called life 

On Tuesday’s vlog, I decided to ask if you would like to see some more journal type entries from me, like what I was reading in the book, and there were enough people who said yes that I decided it was a go!  So last night I created an image, and the Diva Diaries was born.  

I weigh in tomorrow, so things will officially start then! 

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer Review

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

When I say “Dyson” you picture a high-end vacuum cleaner, right? Of course you do! I recently added their amazing cordless vacuum to my collection and I’ve never thought I could love a Dyson more than I love that vacuum.  Then I got my hands on their hair dryer…

Yes, Dyson, the brand many of us turn to for clean floors, makes a hair dryer, and it’s amazing. 

What makes the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer so special?

The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is without a doubt the most high-tech piece of beauty technology I have ever used.  The professionals at Dyson worked long and hard to produce this well thought-out and designed product. Equipped with a Dyson v9 motor, the supersonic hair dryer gets hair dried quickly and with minimal damage to your precious strands.  The features of the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer are as follows:

  • Air Multiplier Technology: Air is amplified 3 times, producing a high-pressure, high-velocity jet of air (Think about the Dyson hand dryers in some public bathrooms.  Those things are powerful).
  • Pulse-width modulation enables precise control of the heating element.
  • Annular element construction: Annular double-stack heating element allows a compact barrel without compromising heat generation.
  • Glass Bead Thermistor: Thermal sensor measures exit flow temperature 20 times per second and transmits data to the machine’s microprocessor.
  • Intelligence: To help prevent extreme heat damage a microprocessor in the head intelligently controls the heating element using data from a thermistic bead.
  • 4 heat settings and 3-speed settings
  • Power: The Dyson digital motor v9’s 13 impeller blades spin at up to 110,000 rpm.  It’s fast, light, and small.
  • Vibration reduction mount: a rubber isolation mount prevents the motor from vibrating against the inside of the handle, reducing the transfer of noise between the motor and the case. 
  • Removable filter cage: easy cleaning!
  • Engineered for balance: the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is the only manufactured hair dryer with the motor in the handle instead of the head. 
  • Negative ions help reduce static in the hair.
  • LED indicators
  • Stainless steel magnetic interface: The only hair dryer with magnetic attachments for easy fitting and rotation.

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First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask Review

I am a skincare junkie who is constantly on a quest to find the right combination of products that work for my skin. While I feel like once I find the “magic formula” in my day to day products, I will likely keep any changes to a minimum, when it comes to face masks it’s a whole different story.  Face masks are treatments that help enhance your normal skincare routine by offering a dose fo super strength for whatever ails your skin at the time.  While I’m acne prone, I have a collection of masks that not only treat acne, but hydrate, brighten, exfoliate, and energize.  I love trying new masks, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop and settle on just one. 

When I heard about the First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 bouncy mask I was immediately intrigued. Not only did the information I saw about the mask make me want to try it, but the one video I happened to click on (It was on FAB’s Youtube channel) sang the praises of the instant gratification the mask provides. Granted, I’m sure the blogger featured in the video was paid, but I had to try it and see if it was true. Read more

February 2017 Wish List

Every month (okay, every month that I actually take the time to do it..) I  like to compile a list of the things I’ve got my eyes on.  This month we’re looking at a few different kinds of sweet treats and even a new kind of crayon.  Read on!

 

Wicked Good Cupcakes:  If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for all things sweet, and cake/cupcakes are at the very top of my list.  With Valentine’s Day around the corner, all of the best sweet treats are coming out with limited editions for V-day.  I’ve been dying to try these Wicked Good Cupcakes.. I mean, Wicked is in the title! How could I not want to try these?? Has anyone ever tried them? Are they as good as they look?

 

Too Faced Sweet Peach Collection:  I know this collection is SO hyped up, but I’ve also heard it’s as awesome as it looks.  Too Faced is the company that really got me into high-end cosmetics (with the purchase of an eyeshadow duo called “bon-bon”) years ago, and I love trying all of their products, but I just haven’t been willing to purchase anything from sweet peach yet. Now they have more than the eyeshadow palette (which I’ve wanted for months).  There are lip glosses, a highlighter palette, and a blush that looks amazing.  If I do cave, I’ll be sure to give you a full review of whatever I get.  What do you recommend?

Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites: Did I mention I love cake?? Now I’m looking at a more Weight Watchers friendly version of cake with these protein cake bites from Optimum Nutrition.  They come in 3 flavors: Birthday Cake, Red Velvet, and Chocolate Dipped Cherry.  How does one choose?? Each serving packs 20g protein, giving your cake fix a bit of a nutrition fix as well.  I’m dying to get my hands on these. As per usual, if I find them, you’ll hear about them.

Clinique Crayola Chubby Sticks:  The latest lip product line from Clinique, a company I adore, is a set of Chubby Sticks inspired by Crayola crayons. How cute is that?? They even look like giant crayons.  I saw them swatched on social media, and every shade is one that I would wear in a sheer, hydrating stick, so it is definitely a collection I’d like to get my hands on. You can get the full set of 8 for $49.50. Read more

January 2017 Sephora Play Box

After years of being a subscription box addict, trying many different varieties since the dawn of Birchbox, I’ve unsubscribed from all but one: Sephora Play! Sephora is one of the 2 primary stores that fuels my beauty addiction (Ulta is the other), so this subscription makes sense to me.  It’s $10 a month for themed boxes with deluxe sample sizes (equivalent to the 100 point perks you can get in-store) of products you can find in Sephora.  

The theme this month was “Beauty, Set, Go” and is filled with products to help detox and refuel your beauty routine.  Let’s see what’s inside.

Tarte Frixxxion Stick: At first, I wasn’t sure what this was, but it turns out it’s an exfoliating gel cleanser.  You apply it to your skin straight from the stick and it lathers up to gently cleanse and exfoliate the skin.  You can also leave it on for 10 minutes to act as a purifying mask.  Being a skincare addict, I am looking forward to trying this out.  

Ouai Treatment Mask: A restorative mask that helps care for dry, damaged hair.  My only experience with this brand is in a wave spray that I happen to love, so I’m excited to have the chance to try something else from Ouai. 

*Update* Okay so I used this yesterday (I had a draft written a few days prior), and after using this and blow drying my hair I must say, my hair looks amazing.  I will be buying this. 

Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Moisturizer: This is an anti-aging moisturizer that uses resveratrol and hyaluronic acid to firm, lift, and plump the skin.  It also contains broad spectrum SPF 20 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.  

Boscia BB Cream: I’ve tried this product before and I remember loving it, so I’m excited that it made an appearance in my box.  This B.B. Cream adds a bit of tint and skin perfecting coverage while SPF 27 protects from the sun.  It’s also oil-free, which is a huge plus for me and my acne-prone skin. 

Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey: I had a sample size of this product in a different shade, and I loved it, so I’m excited to give this cult-classic shade a try.  While it appears to be crazy dark in the tube, this actually delivers a beautiful sheer wash of color that is perfect for the winter months. The formula is also hydrating and feels great on my lips. 

Fragrance bonus: Pinrose Wild Child: Notes of florals, vanilla, and amber combine for an exuberant and confident scent.  The sample is in wipe format for easy, on the go (but a single) application. 

 

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2017 Goals

I know I’m a little behind, it being almost the end of January and all, but better late than never, right? As I’ve mentioned in vlogs over on my YouTube channel, 2016 was a year of me failing to reach my goals.  I just wasn’t motivated, and was easily distracted and discouraged so not much got done. This year, I have some goals (some old, some new) that I’m hoping to achieve. Along with the new goals comes a fresh new dose of motivation.  I’m hoping to buckle down and really make 2017 the best year yet.  

Health Goals

My number one goal is to get back down to my goal weight. The only thing is..I don’t know what my new goal weight is yet.  Last time I hit goal, I weighed 135lbs, but it turns out that was a little too thin for my body, and certain parts of me looked too bony. That being said, I clearly overcompensated with fixing that problem. This time around, I plan on starting the journey back down (because no change really happened in 2016), but I’ll lose at least 15 lbs and then I’ll play it by ear. 

I want to focus more on being healthy and fit rather than just losing weight, so who knows what my body will look like, but I do know I want to fit back into my goal jeans (aka my pair of clearance jeans from American Eagle I had as my goal jeans last time). I love those jeans.  We’ll just have to see what the final number ends up being, but I’m hoping to reach it in 2017. 

Blog Goals

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