Happy Halloween!

10.31.2014




Just want to wish you a Happy Halloween! I love when it falls on a Friday. It's the perfect formula for a wonderful night of trick-or-treating. I am really looking forward to it with the boys this year since Luke is old enough for it to be meaningful. And because I didn't just have a baby cut out of me! Remember that last year?  I came home from the hospital on Halloween! My, my, how things have changed ;) Also, Luke was the cutest "Melmo" around, even if his costume didn't fit.

Have a fun, safe weekend and be sure to fulfill your parental duties of sneaking all of the "good" candy. (You know, the Kit Kats, Reese's, full-sized candy bars...)

P.S. If you can do a better jack o' lantern impression than Luke, I will give you BOTH of our Halloween candy stashes.

Using Tart Cherry Juice As A Natural Sleep Aid

10.30.2014

While breastfeeding, I've been on a desperate search for a natural sleep aid. Maybe it's hormones (it's always hormones!), but my sleep has been off. Yes, having a baby messes with my beloved sleep, but I've been having a hard time zonking off and and then staying asleep long enough to feel rested.

Then heaven came knocking in the form of tart cherry juice. Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, which is responsible for controlling your body's internal clock and sleep cycles. Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice or tart cherry concentrate twice per day can increase sleep by up to 90 minutes per night. Heck yeah, sign me up!

With the end of Daylight Saving Time approaching, Choose Cherries is having a 14-day Sleep Challenge to test this very theory of tart cherry juice increasing the quality of sleep. I obviously am taking part because a) mama needs to sleep because babies and toddlers are a total wreck duing the time change, and b) cherries are delicious.

I will be tracking my sleep with my Fitbit to measure if the tart cherry juice does in fact improve sleep quality. I'm excited to see the results! Also, does anyone else have a Fitbit? Do you like it? Love it? Hate it? I have started using it to track calories and exercise because I am on a mission to lose 10 lbs! I've been tracking for one day and already went over my allotted calories for the day. Womp, womp, woooommmp. But! I am taking steps in the right direction ... literally. (Ha!) Give me all your tips! And I invite you to join along in the 14-day Tart Cherry Juice Sleep Challenge!

I will be back in two weeks to share my findings and will be hosting a special giveaway worth $550! (Hint, hint: You could very likely win your own Fitbit, along with a bunch of other amazing goodies.) Stay tuned!

 This post is in partnership with Choose Cherries. I have been provided the Choose Cherries product and Fitbit for the 14-day sleep challenge. All opinions and findings throughout the challenge are my own. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!

10 Ways To Quickly Improve Your Relationship

10.29.2014



I think a lot about love, and feelings, and anything pertaining to romantic relationships. I was that little girl who obsessed over the love plots of Disney movies, and I am still that girl who cares way too much about celebrity love triangles and the romantic happenings in the lives of my friends and family. It's all about love, after all. Unfortunately, I can get a little cranky and negative in my own relationship with Matt sometimes. (I know, it even happens to us hopeless romantics.) So, I wanted to share some wonderful tips I found in this article from Time, which gives ten ways you can instantly improve your relationship. I've been trying them out, and hey! They work! Especially for us boring, old married couples ;)

1. Turn off your gadgets! Studies have found that there is a negative correlation between heavy use of social media and happiness in a relationship. Also, text messaging can convolute conversations that should be done in person. I personally think excessive social media use can cause unnecessary envy and comparison, which can lead to all sorts of personal problems, and can easily carry over into relationships. I've been trying to spend less time on my phone and extinguish the incessant need to update my whereabouts and give the play-by-play of every detail in my life. My initial fear was that I would be missing out on documenting my life and in turn forget all of the wonderful, ordinary things that make my life so happy. But, it turns out I am enjoying my life more thoroughly instead of living with anxiety in fear of missing out on capturing everything, and my memories are more meaningful. Matt appreciates it, too.

2. Go to bed at the same time. People who sleep less than the recommended amount of time each night have been shown to argue more with their significant other. Plus, it is oftentimes the one point in the day where you get to see each other one on one. I suppose I should take this advice to heart. I am a night owl — always have been, no matter how hard I try to go to bed early! Although, I could not agree more that good sleep is the solution to many of life's problems. We're all just grouchy because we need sleep! You know the "Be nice, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle" quote? We need to change it to, "Be nice, for everyone you meet needs more sleep."

3. Do frequent, small acts of kindness for your significant other. It's the little things that make your partner feel loved and appreciated. A marriage researcher from University of Michigan studied 373 over the course of 28 years and found that these frequent, small acts of kindness resulted in overall relationship quality and happiness. So, go write your love a small note, or make them some breakfast. It will make both of you happy.

4. Talk about something funny from the past. Laughter truly is the best thing for any relationship, and it has been found that reminiscing together about funny things is even better than focusing on just positive memories. Laughter can help you relive those moments and give higher relationship satisfaction.

5. Exercise! I am pretty sure this is on any list that talks about improving any facet of life. And we all know why! Working up a good sweat increases those endorphins, and leads to a rush of adrenaline and arousal. So channel that arousal into a good time with your love! Which leads me to the next point...

6. Have sex in a different place. It's good to switch it up every once and awhile, and new experiences elevate your levels of dopamine, which is a positive reinforcer. Don't worry, there is no need to go wild and do it in a public bathroom or coat closet at a holiday party (although if that is your thing, more power to you!) — simply finding a new room can do the trick.

7. Try new things together. Learn to cook an exotic dish. Play a silly game together. Go explore a new place in the area you live. The activity can be big or small, but the point is that couples who frequently experience new things together are shown to have higher-quality relationships.

8. Give each other hugs. Touching is extremely important in letting your partner know they are loved and it allows you to feel more comfortable with one another. It also has a calming effect, and increases intimacy.

9. Talk about new ideas. We all get caught up in the humdrum of everyday life; work, kids, family, friends, etc. Sometimes we forget to have captivating discussions or don't have the time, so find a moment to strike up an interesting conversation. Ask engaging questions and try to learn something new about your partner. We change over time, so it is essential to have good chats and reintroduce your current likes and thoughts.

10. Say thank you. If you are anything like me, I expect my husband to read my mind. And that includes him sensing my gratitude for him! But, that is silly! It is incredibly important to express our appreciation for our loved one. It makes them feel important and of worth, and lifting each other up is one of the most valuable characteristics of any solid relationship.